Many people know the herbal uses of the chamomile flower or its rich, fragrant aroma. But not many people are aware of the various chamomile flower meaning – peace, calmness, rest, poise, humility, rebirth, and renewal.
The chamomile plant shares a similar look to a small daisy, with the sweet relaxing scent of apples. Learn more about the Chamomile and its symbolism by reading on.
About the Chamomile Flower
The chamomile plant – Matricaria recutita – belongs to the Asteraceae family. Therefore, Chamomile falls in the Matricaria genus.
History and Origin
The chamomile flower comes from temperate parts of western Asia, Europe, and North Africa. In Egypt, Chamomile was an offering used for the god Ra and mummification.
And in Europe, it’s largely used to support digestive health as a panacea. Forms include teas made from dried chamomile flowers, inhalations, compresses, Sitz baths, gargles, and baths.
But Mexican folklore said that manzanilla eased digestion, soothed the stomach, and supported healthy respiration.
And in America, Native Americans knew how to utilize all parts of the plant. For example, the Cherokee tribe believed that Chamomile tee was the trick to regularity. In comparison, Aleut used tea to ease gas.
Finally, the Cheyenne and Kutenai tribes used the plants for ornamental purposes. For example, they were a source of perfume for the Cheyenne – made by pulverizing dried flowers – while the Kutenai used the flowers for jewelry.
This flower contains healing properties of analgesic, anti-allergenic, anodyne, antispasmodic, antibacterial disinfectant, tonic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can treat earaches, sore nipples, urinary infections, diaper rash, toothache, and neuralgia.
The botanical name of the Chamomile flower is Matricaria chamomilla. Another name for the Chamomile plants is Matricaria Recutita. And in ancient Greece, it was known as Chamomaela, meaning ground apple.
More commonly, Chamomile goes by sweet false Chamomile, true Chamomile, mayweed, German Chamomile (alles zutraut in German), ague (Ancient Egyptians), and Hungarian Chamomile.
Chamomile plants have typical composite characteristics with a low-growth height ranging from 8” to 12” on hairless, highly branched stems with a characteristic scent and thin pale brown to yellow roots.
Chamomile leaves can be diminutive 1.2” to 3.2” long in a tapered alternate upright pattern, with two to three pinates. Flowers have multiple petals with large centers that share a similar look to a daisy.
Chamomile plants produce around 900 yellow flower heads in the capitulum surrounded by 26 to 50 white involucral bracts that droop to the ground. The flower heads ripen into 2mm long fruit.
Chamomile Flower Care
Chamomile herbs require planting in full sunlight in well-draining soil. The flowers cannot tolerate shade while the plant can.
Add a 2” layer of bark mulch or wood nugget to the soil to prevent mold from growing on the plant bases. And it can help the soil retain moisture.
The plants need weekly waterings with 1” of water. You don’t have to water your plant if there’s been rain recently and the ground still feels wet.
Harvest the flowers once they bloom to use for herbal remedies. However, waiting too long will cause the flowers to wilt. Instead, prune the plants to 1” to 2” above the ground after it dies back in late fall to early winter.
Uses Throughout History
There are multiple Chamomile uses, usually in chamomile tea, which can treat gas, bowel inconsistency, and stress. Health benefits include:
- Treating baby colic
- Easing teething
- Calming restless, energetic kids
- Soothing constipation, intestinal gas, diarrhea, indigestion, abdominal, flu symptoms, colds
- Reduces fever
- Treats gout, toothaches, premenstrual tension, and arthritis
- Helps abdominal pain, diarrhea, peptic ulcers, intestinal gas, and indigestion
- Soothes sores, scalds, skin rashes, burns
This gentle herb is also known to support digestive health and help with relaxation. As an herb, it’s mild enough that even babies can coup chamomile benefits. However, people with allergies to the Asteraceae family can experience negative chamomile side effects.
There are several chamomile medicinal uses for Roman and German species, containing volatile oils and phytochemical constituents. Medical components include choline, tannin, plant acids, fatty acids, salicylate derivatives, cyanogenic glycosides, flavonoids, and coumarins.
But there are also other non-health chamomile flower benefits used by various cultures. For example, flowers are also a common ingredient in recipes to make cosmetics for the skin and hair, like makeups, lotions, and shampoo.
It’s also been a flavoring for liquors (vermouth or Benedictine) and a topical rinse that naturally accentuates and lightens highlights in blonde hair.
And multiple Native American cultures have used the plants medicinally and for physical things, like jewelry and food flavorings.
Chamomile Flower Symbolism
The chamomile meaning is “I hope your wishes and dreams are fulfilled.” But the chamomile flower meaning can also be humility or poise. It’s largely regarded as a token of good fortune – in love, prosperity, peace, or happiness.
Other chamomile symbolism is rest today and rest. Back in the 19th century, these plants also meant energy in adversity, meaning that people drank Chamomile tea every morning to get ready to face the day, much like we use coffee today.
The name chamomile comes from kamai – or the Greek word for on the ground – and melon, meaning apple. Chamomile is also a French variation for close to the earth and apple in Greek.
And in Spanish, Manzanilla translates to little apple. And the meaning of the Latin word Matricaria is a womb, which refers to the benefits it can provide for women – removing tension and stress.
Several cultures rely on the many uses of Chamomile flowers, giving them much significance. For example, in Russia, Chamomile is the national flower.
It’s also culturally important to multiple Native American tribes (Cheyenne, Cherokee, Aleut, and Kutenai), Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Mexicans, Europeans, and Germans.
Dream and Wish Fulfillment
In some cultures, it’s believed that Chamomile can protect the mind from psychic attacks and block negative energy. In addition, when used in conjunction with providing a proper sleep, Chamomile is said to help create prophetic dreams – dreams that come true.
Chamomile also proudly honors the meaning of humility due to their resilience. No matter how hard or often these plants get trampled over, they continue to flourish and thrive.
Ancient Greeks believed that the Chamomile’s habit of growing more robust and rapidly after taking abuse meant that it deserved to symbolize the beauty in acknowledging our humility rather than trying to avoid it and pretend it never happened.
Chamomile extracts and herbal remedies made with dried Chamomile are often associated with helping you relax and wind down pent-up energy to have a better rest. It’s a popular choice of herb to use for restless children and adults who struggle with good sleep.
Peace and Calm
The intoxicating aroma can help relax the body and bring peace to mind. When you are going through stress or frustration, you can use Chamomile flowers to calm you down.
Chamomile Flower Color Meaning
The majority of Chamomile plants have white flowers, which have had multiple symbolisms in history.
However, the yellow of the flower’s center is also symbolic. And there are a few varieties that can produce flowers in the same yellow as the center.
White chamomile flowers are symbolic of moving on after a period of grief. They’re used as a sign of a fresh start. And the color white makes the flowers mean purity, innocence, and rebirth.
The cheerful, bright nuance of yellow makes this color flower symbolic of joy, happiness, and warmth. It’s the color of the sun, making Chamomile symbolic of the rising sun every day.
Chamomile Flower FAQ
Chamomile flowers are such a unique and elegant plant that we can’t get enough of talking about them. We couldn’t let you leave without answering these commonly asked questions.
What Does a Chamomile Flower Tattoo Represent?
A Chamomile flower tattoo can mean a token of calmness, a talisman to give you good luck in finding your future spouse, modesty, youth, calm beauty, and it can mean world love. But it can also be negative associations of neglect and doubt. Other means include innocence or kindness.
When Should You Give Someone a Chamomile Flower?
It’s common to use dried Chamomile flowers as a tea to gift to someone experiencing stress or issues with sleeping. But you can use a fresh Chamomile bouquet to send a message of calming support to a person going through a challenging time, such as a new baby, career, marriage, or new job.
What Does a Chamomile Flower Smell Like?
Chamomile flowers have a distinct scent of fresh apples, a musky animal aroma, or sweet hay.
When are Chamomile Flowers in Season?
Chamomile flowers bloom in June and July, ranging from mid-May to early October when it dies due to frost. Hot weather periods can also cause the flowers to stop blooming for a bit.
Are Chamomile Flowers Annuals or Perrenials?
Chamomile flowers can be perennials or annuals like Roman and German varieties, based on the types of Chamomile.
Do Chamomile Flowers Spread?
Chamomile plants can reseed, making the plants spread and come back each year, as long as the plants have enough time in the summer to bloom. The spreading of these plants is not rapid, so it’s not hard to keep the growth contained.
Chamomile is a symbolic and beneficial herbal flower widely used worldwide for centuries. These delicate mini-daisy-looking flowers have a succulent aroma, multiple uses, and symbolisms of relaxation, humility, and fulfillment of dreams and wishes. Plant these luscious herbs in your garden or give them to someone you care about as a gift for any occasion.