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Self-Care

1 Ingredient, 3 Ways: Chamomile

Chamomile tea in clear kettle
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It seems like every week, there’s a buzzy new supplement taking over the wellness world. Juice bars are touting the benefits of adaptogenic mushroom powders. Nutritionists are suddenly enamored with ashwagandha. Something called shilajit is supposedly the answer to boosting your immune system. While it’s amazing to be introduced to all of these new pathways to health, it can feel overwhelming to try to incorporate all of them into your daily routine. So let’s make it simple: One ingredient, three easy ways to work with it — this time, with garden variety chamomile.

What Is Chamomile?

You probably already have a box of chamomile tea sitting in your kitchen cabinet — but how familiar with chamomile are you, really? This is not your typical tea; instead of tea leaves, it’s actually made with the petals of chamomile wild flowers. Chamomile originated in Egypt, where it was used medicinally before it became known for its calming scent.

Today, we know exactly why the ancient Egyptians were drawn to chamomile’s healing properties: Studies have shown that it increases the body’s production of serotonin (the “happy” hormone) and melatonin (the “sleep” hormone) — which helps relieve stress, calm the mind, and put you to sleep. Chamomile also boosts circulation and reduces inflammation, and has been shown to relieve headaches in this way. These calming, anti-inflammatory properties aren’t restricted to ingestible chamomile, either. The flower even works topically to soothe skin issues, reduce redness, and take down swelling.

Ahead, discover three low-effort, high-impact methods for adding a cup of this calming flower to your daily wellness routine.

Drink It (Obviously)

Chamomile tea is popular for a reason: It works. Because studies have shown that chamomile doesn’t affect the body cumulatively — meaning, you only see results immediately after ingesting it, not over time — you should indulge in a hot cup of chamomile-infused tea nightly. And why not? It’ll make you happier (thanks to that serotonin), result in more restful sleep (which improves overall health), ease digestion (so say goodbye to bloating and gas), and boost your immune system, too. On a hot summer night, pour your chamomile tea over ice — it works its magic at any temperature.

Use Tea Bags To Depuff Tired Eyes

You know the old trick of using cucumber slices to cool swollen, puffy eyes? Well, cucumber’s got nothing on chamomile. If you wake up with puffy eyes or under-eye bags (and don’t we all?), consider adding lukewarm chamomile tea bags to your morning beauty routine. Simply prepare two chamomile tea bags as you would if you were making tea — then take the teabags out of the water, let cool, and apply to your eyes while you lie down for five to ten minutes. (I take this opportunity to squeeze in morning meditation — yay for multitasking!)

Make Chamomile Tea Ice Cubes

As for what to do with that leftover tea? Pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it. I personally love to use chamomile ice cubes to treat redness, emerging pimples, and any sort of swelling — it’s just that much more effective than plain ice. To use, cover a chamomile cube in a light fabric (like a paper towel or muslin cloth) and run it over your face until it melts. The chamomile calms irritation while the cold boosts blood circulation. The result? Calm, clear skin with the healthiest glow ever.

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