Chamomile–flower, healer, and activist–is one of the plant kingdom’s oldest and brightest stars. Catapulting to fame thousands of years ago, this sunny flower has been worshipped by ancient A-listers and lovers of tea for its supernatural talent for soothing woes and sickness.
Chamomile was never in it for the fame. It wanted to help the world. And helping the world is what made it a star. Thousands of years later, it still holds a special place in medical toolboxes and pantries across time and cultures. Just when we thought that Chamomile couldn’t be anymore dazzling, it surpassed our expectations once again in the critically acclaimed role of “remedy” in The Tale of Peter Rabbit, relieving anxiety, panic, and fear for Peter Rabbit and all of us.
Walking down the coffee/tea aisle at an undisclosed supermarket, we could smell Chamomile’s earthy apple fragrance that first put it on the map. Stemming from two Greek words, “on the ground” and “apple,” Chamomile is the apple of the earth’s eye. So sweet and gentle is its healing power that it even evaded persecution for being a psychoactive plant.
Wearing a yellow “I’d Rather be Sunbathing” t-shirt and spick-and-span white keds, Chamomile’s bright and kind smile was unmissable. One would have expected a horde of fans and paparazzi buzzing about it like bees, but shoppers zipped on by, barely batting a lash at the superstar. Chamomile just sighed sweetly.
“I’ve been reproduced so many times,” it said, “I’m barely recognizable anymore.”
Dainty, humble, sweet, and versatile–Chamomile has long represented how healing can be gentle and that strength is not about muscle. One of the original gender-benders, it doesn’t subscribe to binary categorizations. In magic circles, Chamomile represents both masculine energy and water, usually associated with the feminine.
“I’m not into labels,” Chamomile giggled. “I am the label.”
The US imports 750,000 to one million pounds of Chamomile each year. We use 90% of that stock for herbal infusions. And with good reason. Chamomile is rich in azulene, a compound found in its inky blue essential oil, and terpenoids, which may help to prevent metabolic disorders, aging, and fight cancer.
With over 1,000,000 cups of Chamomile consumed a day –this superstar may be thousands of years old but has never looked better. With the world in the throes of insomnia, anxiety, depression, and digestion issues, there’s never been a better time to be Chamomile.
“I want people to know that another way is possible. You don’t have to be stressed and searching for a pill. I’m anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antibacterial, anti-fungal. I’m pretty much talented at everything,” said Chamomile, “And I’ve always been this talented
Cool, friendly, and not in the mood for drama, Chamomile inspires us all to take better care of ourselves.
Packed with Power
Chamomile is anti-negative vibes. Got stomach pain, sluggish digestion, inflammation, menstrual cramps, infections, wounds, skin eruptions, insomnia, anxiety or depression? Chamomile is on it. Water, creams, fragrance, powder, blue oil, hot, cold…
“Whatever,” Chamomile smiles. “I’m just here to help people in any way I can.”
With over a million cups drunk around the world a day, Chamomile may work around the clock but makes it all look effortless. And for being thousands of years old, it still looks fabulous. You’d never guess how old Chamomile is–its beauty secret?
“Sleep, hydration, Vitamin D, and keeping stress at a minimum.”
Steeped in History
Coming from a long line of famous plants, Chamomile is a beloved member of the Asteraceae family, which includes Sunflowers and Daisies. Unlike its famous cousins, the members of the Chamomile clan are the healers of the bunch. “We wanted to be more than just a pretty face, you know?”
Originally from the Old World, the classic beauty has long been revered for its lithe frame, symmetrical features, perky yet laid-back attitude, and healing touch. For the ancient Egyptians, Chamomile treated fevers, heat strokes, and malaria, and even lent a helping hand in the mummifying process. So enchanted they were by its beauty and healing powers, that they believed it was a gift from the sun god Ra. The Anglo-Saxons named Chamomile “one of the nine sacred herbs” that had special powers. In Slovakian folk-lore, it is written that one should always bow when in the presence of Chamomile, out of respect. The Germans bequeathed it the name of alles zutraut–“capable of anything.” Cultures around the world bathe their babies in it. It has even provided a source of income for families in need. “Mostly in Hungary,” Chamomile specified.
With thousands of years of fame under its belt, Chamomile remains grounded and self-aware. Shaking its petals, it rests a moment on its name written on a face cream. It still cannot believe it is on a box.
“I was just hanging out on the grass one day, and then the next thing you know, my life changed.”
Kindness in the Face of Adversity
But fame and success have its dark side. Despite its global reputation and millions of fans around the world, Chamomile has had its share of critics.
One blogger complained, “Anything labeled ‘soothing’ or ‘calming’ drives my anger through the roof. Are you saying I need to calm down???? Are you?”
Another was unconvinced. “Chamomile tastes slightly flowery. With a curious aftertaste. Bit of a waste of time really.”
Even Benedict Cumberbatch stepped forward last year and called Chamomile an imposter tea. “I’m sick of Chamomile being called tea,” the English film star said. “Tea is a drink made from the tea plant.”
Possessing a sensitive nature, Chamomile got a little teary-eyed. “I don’t care if I’m not a tea, I never said I was.” Chamomile never asked to be tea; it just wanted to be itself–and soak in a hot bath. It couldn’t help that it was medicinally dense.
“Listen,” Chamomile said, “you can’t please everyone. People have insulted me, said that I smell like a zoo, and given me flack for having an expiration date. One of the reasons I’ve survived in the business for as long as I have is by saying ‘Ra bless’ and moving on. What’s the point of getting upset? I’m here to soothe people.”
Will the Real Chamomile Please Stand Up?
Chamomile has historically preferred to keep a low profile but as the world is suffering from anxiety, depression, and gastrointestinal issues, it has decided to step forward like the brave spirit it is to set the record straight. Wilting a moment, Chamomile took a deep breath, “Most of the stuff you find in supermarkets today is not the real me. I want the world to know the truth.”
Big business has threatened the authenticity of Chamomile’s output, often adulterating its content. With a world in need, Chamomile wants to say that “I am still here, you just gotta find the real me. When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand…you’ve got a friend. And I’m available without a prescription!”
Besides that, surveys say that Chamomile is still one of the most trusted plants out there. It may not cure us, but it’s a friend–and we could all use a friend sometimes.
Chamomile cautions those who are pregnant or on are certain medications to check and make sure that it’s right for them.
“Also,” it said, “don’t drink me and drive–I relax you.”
With all of the pharmaceuticals and anti-stress options out there, is Chamomile worried about the competition?
“I think my track record speaks for itself,” it said.
No matter where you go–Ancient Greece, Rome, or Whole Foods–Chamomile has survived the fads, the trends, the fall of civilizations, and still remains on top.