This post was most recently updated on July 26th, 2021
Manzanilla tea, also known as chamomile, is a gentle but powerful herb. Read more about the manzanilla tea benefits, how to make a perfect cup, and how to grow your own manzanilla in your herb garden! Chamomile tea is loaded with antioxidants that may play a role in lowering your risk of several diseases, including heart disease and cancer, as well as helping improve existing inflammatory conditions.
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Many people enjoy chamomile tea as a caffeine-free alternative to regular black or green tea and many enjoy its earthy, somewhat sweet, taste.
What is Manzanilla?
Manzanilla is a Spanish word, meaning “little earth apple”. Manzanilla in English it is known as chamomile, referring to the variety known as “German chamomile” not “Roman Chamomile” The Latin name is Matricaria recutita, also known by matricaria chamomilla.
Manzanilla is can be used fresh or dried, and is a rather delicate plant. It grows about knee height, on feathery dark green leaves.
The small and abundant flowers are daisy-like, with yellow centers and white petals. If you brush against it, you might have a reminiscence of apples or pineapple.
The chamomile flower are the primary part used in herbal preparations, although the leaf can be used as well. It is a common herb found in natural food stores, sold loose in bulk.
Alternatively, it is very easy to find in standard supermarkets or grocery stores in chamomile tea bags. Because manzanilla is an herb, and not from the actual tea family, brewing up a cup would be considered an herbal infusion, or a tisane.
German Chamomile vs Roman Chamomile uses
- German chamomile was originally grown in southern and eastern Europe and is believed to provide help with a wide range of conditions including travel sickness, flatulence, diarrhea, ADHD, stomach upset, restlessness, and insomnia. It is sometimes also used in cosmetics and soaps.
- Roman chamomile may be used to relieve heartburn, loss of appetite, for menstrual discomfort and other conditions. Roman chamomile is also used as a fragrance in perfumes and tobacco products.
14 Amazing Manzanilla Tea Benefits
Manzanilla is a gentle, delicate plant- in growth, appearance, and healing powers. But gentle doesn’t mean less effective. Research shows that the chamomile plant healing properties are wide-ranging and potent. Fresh chamomile is rich in flavonoids and volatile oils, particularly one called azulene, which has many active ingredients that serve as anti inflammatory properties and anti fever agents.
1. Reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation
Studies have shown that manzanilla “binds to the same receptors as Valium by activating monoamine transporters, thus reducing anxiety and causing a sense of relaxation (Stephan Orr, The New American Herbal)”.
2. Anti inflammatory
When drunk regularly, chamomile tea has a cumulative effect reducing inflammation conditions. Stomach ulcers, recovering from a upset stomach, high blood pressure, sore throats, menstrual cramps and other inflammatory conditions can be soothed by chamomile’s anti inflammatory properties.
3. Sooths digestion
Pure chamomile has been used to treat conditions related to indigestion, tension, inflammation, and infection. Perhaps most well known is it’s support for the nervous and digestive system.
A cup of manzanilla tea is often drunk to ease stress and aids digestion (particularly for nervous tummy issues), and it can promote sleep.
4. Releases muscle tension
A strong brew has also been known to help relive a stress headache or muscle spasms.
5. Aiding sleep
Chamomile herbal tea is a common gentle herbal remedy for children and elderly, helping them get off to sleep and calming colic. Take a cup of chamomile tea after dinner, about an hour before bed, add a little honey to make it more palatable.
6. Helping sore eyes
Externally, you can use manzanilla tea as an eyewash for conjunctivitis. You can also either dab on strong tea using clean cotton balls, or lay cold used tea bags over your eyes and allow them to rest there for 10-20 minutes several times a day. I use this to treat nestbox eye in young rabbits as required. Chilled, used tea bags also help reduce eye puffiness and black circles.
7. Hair treatment
It’s said that a hair wash made of a strong manzanilla tea will lighten hair or bring out natural highlights and it is used worldwide to help treat dandruff. Simply make a strong tea and use it after your usual hair routine. Leave it on to soak for several minutes before washing out. Results will be subtle and accumulative.
8. Soothing skin irritations
Sometimes, chamomile extract is used cosmetically for skin creams for eczema and psoriasis as it is very good at soothing and calming skin irritation. However, an herbal infusion (a herbal tea) is the most common way of using this herb at home and can be easily applied. Sunburn can be soothed by applying chilled towels soaked in cold chamomile tea to the area.
9. Soothes the gut
Irritable bowel syndrome sufferers may find some relief drinking this soothing and anti inflammatory herbal tea several times a day.
10. Reduces menstrual pain
Consuming tea regularly through the month has been shown to reduce menstrual pains (1).
11. Reducing risk of diabetes
Consumption of chamomile tea regularly has been shown to keep blood sugar levels in check (2).
12. Reduce the risk of osteoporosis in women
Osteoporosis in women seems to be attributed to effects of excess estrogen, chamomile tea has been shown in studies to balance this (3).
13. Cancer treatment
There has been some research in to using marigolds or chamomile in cancer treatment or prevention, and there was some positive results from both of these flowers (4).
14. Boosts immunity
When taken regularly it has been shown that chamomile tea can help keep the colds at bay by boosting your immune system, and drinking chamomile tea when you have a cough, cold or flu will help sooth your throat and some find inhaling the steam helps clear the sinuses (5).
If you really want to know how to use natural remedies in your everyday life – my friends at the Herbal Academy have a wonderful, affordable beginners course that you really should check out here.
Who should not use Manzanilla tea preparations
If you are allergic to any plants in the daisy family including ragweed and chrysanthemums, then you could also be allergic to chamomile.
Be careful using any preparations around sensitive areas – eyes, mouth and groin in particular, check for signs of irritation before proceeding with using it fully.
Although a few people may be allergic to chamomile, it is safe for most people to drink. Negative side effects are extremely rare.
How to make Manzanilla Tea
Before you brew up a cup of manzanilla tea, it’s important to note that some people, particularly if allergic to ragweed or other plants in the Aster family, are allergic to it! Common symptoms are similar to seasonal allergies- itchy eyes, runny nose, or scratchy throat.
1. Use 1 teaspoon of dried chamomile flower heads, or 2 teaspoons fresh flowers per 1 cup of water.
2. Add the whole flowers, loose leaf tea or the tea bag to your cup
3. Pour over boiling water.
4. Steep the tea, covered with a lid or saucer. This is very important and step, and one that many people miss. Keeping the tea covered captures any of the essential oil that would be escaping with the steam.
5. To get the most herbal benefits, steep for 15 minutes. If you want to use as a skin preparation, you can leave it to steep until the mixture is cool enough to apply to the skin without discomfort.
Notes on making Manzanilla tea
Manzanilla does get bitter the longer it steeps, so for a less bitter and better-tasting brew, steep for a less amount of time.
A dose of herbal tea is usually 1 8oz cup, three times a day for long term support.
How to make Manzanilla Tea taste better
If you’d like to blend your manzanilla with other herbs for additional herbal benefits, or to change up the taste, here are some other suggestions:
- Manzanilla, meadowsweet, and peppermint for digestion and to soothe heartburn
- Manzanilla, catnip, linden flowers, passionflower, hops, dried orange, and pinch of lavender for restorative sleep
- Manzanilla, fennel seeds, mint, nettle, rose, skullcap, raspberry, catnip, and licorice for after a stressful day to calm your nerves
- Manzanilla, grated ginger root, honey and lemon to make a soothing digestive tea or to help you off to sleep.
How to make a Chamomile Tea Bath
If the taste of manzanilla bothers you, but you’d like to take advantage of its healing powers, try turning your bath into a giant pot of tea! The pores in your skin will open to the warm water and you will absorb the herbal tea’s essential oils and beneficial properties through your skin. This is especially helpful if you are wanting to manage skin irritation.
Place a large handful of dried chamomile blossoms and other herbs like lemon balm or rose, in a muslin bag, extra-large tea strainer, or even an old (but clean) stocking.
Hang the bundle over the faucet while the water is running, so the water moves through the herbs, and then add the bundle to the tub while you soak!
How to grow Manzanilla in the garden
While manzanilla tea bags are easy to find in stores, growing your own manzanilla tea is easy in the home garden. It’s also a beautiful addition to flower gardens, and a companion plant to grow alongside vegetables!
For the most potent and prolific flowers, direct sow manzanilla (German Chamomile) seeds in dry, well-drained soils that are not very rich.
Chamomile doesn’t fare well in the heat and is best grown in the cooler shoulder seasons. If you live in a mild climate, it easily reseeds.
To preserve the medicinal oils within the flowers, it’s best to harvest them early in the day, when the temperatures are cool but any dew on them has dried.
When the flowers are fully open, use your fingers to rake through the plant, pulling the blossoms off the stems. Dry immediately after harvesting either in a dehydrator or on a rack in the sun.
You can expect to harvest weekly from healthy plants during peak season.
Manzanilla in history
Historically, manzanilla was planted in medieval gardens, and known as “the Plant’s Physician”, and it was thought to revive a drooping plant if planted nearby. In England, it was used as a fragrant lawn substitute around castles and estates.
In modern gardens, it is a great companion plant to pair with cabbage family. The small flowers are great at providing food to parasitic wasps, hoverflies, and other beneficial insects.