Chamomile tea is one of the most popular herbal teas preferred by tea drinkers.
There are several known species of chamomile such as Roman chamomile, German chamomile, Moroccan chamomile, yellow chamomile, wild chamomile and so on.
But, not all of these species are used to make chamomile tea. Commonly, two of these species are used i.e. Roman chamomile and German chamomile. Egyptian chamomile tea is also one of the common chamomile teas.
Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is a perennial herb native to Western Europe and Northern Ireland. The silver-white flowers rise a foot above the ground and have a fragrance that people compare to apples. You can differentiate Roman chamomile from its German counterpart by its leaves. Its gray-green leaves are thicker than the leaves of German chamomile.
Tea made from Roman chamomile has been traditionally used in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders such as nausea, gas, vomiting, and heartburn. It is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties and used to reduce inflammation on the skin.
German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is an annual herb, also known to some as Italian camomilla, Hungarian chamomile or wild chamomile. Most of the research done on chamomile has been performed on German chamomile. It comes from Europe, Western Asia and can also be found in temperate regions of North America and Australia.
The compound known as bisabolol found in the essential oil of German chamomile has been given major credit for its anti-inflammatory, sedative, antispasmodic, and anti-oxidant properties. However, only traces of this essential oil (1-3%) are found in German chamomile tea.
How to distinguish Roman chamomile from German chamomile?
Apart from the leaves, you can also differentiate Roman chamomile from German chamomile by the help of its flower receptacle. Roman chamomile has a solid receptacle while German chamomile has a hollow one. Another distinguishing character is the stem. The stems of Roman chamomile are slightly hairy, while German chamomile has smooth stems.
Egyptian chamomile is supposed to be the highest grade chamomile. It is native to the lush valley along the Nile River in Egypt.
The tea made from this chamomile has a warm, earthy flavor with a pleasant fruity aroma. Egyptian chamomile tea is deep-yellow in color and has a sweet, floral taste.