English chamomile, (Anthemis nobilis) also known as Roman Chamomile is a perennial plant from the Asteraceae/Compositae family. The name comes from the Greek work chamamelon meaning apple. The small shrub produces daisy-like flowers and has a sweet, apple and herbaceous scent.
Chamomile is grown in Europe, North America and Argentina where it enjoys a temperate to warm climate. Its history dates to Ancient Egyptian times when it was thought to be a gift from the God of the Sun, and in Anglo-Saxon times, chamomile was considered one of the nine sacred herbs, along with fennel and nettle.
The oil is extracted from the daisy-like flowers (inflorescences) through steam distillation. Chamomile is widely used in cosmetic and personal care products from shampoos to face products, as well as in pharmaceuticals as it has medicinal properties internally and externally for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Chamomile is also used in aromatherapy and the food and drink industry, often formulated into teas for its calming properties. Chamomile is said to be beneficial for relieving stress and improving sleep. It pairs well with apple, mint and citrus.
The Rise in Functional
As consumers aim to look after their body and mind, herbs are becoming popular within the functional space. Chamomile is a key ingredient in the functional space, particularly in the non-alcoholic beverage market, owing to its calming properties. It is used to induce sleep and as a method for relieving stress. Increasing time-restricted lifestyles, lack of sleep and the shift from high-sugar to natural ingredients are likely to continue chamomile’s appeal. Chamomile resonates well with baby boomers who desire specific solutions and to millennials who seek preventative steps to fight fatigue or stress.
Night-time consumption of food and drink is growing, encouraging innovation and the premiumisation of sleep targeted products. From chamomile infused biscuits to sleep drinks, midnight versions of products are emerging as consumers want to snack and indulge later at night, combined with the ease of winding down before bedtime and restoring the body with a benefit of a better night’s sleep.
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