Holmes and Watson, Batman and Robin, Bogey and Bacall, just a few dynamic duos who although can exist independently, are so much better when intertwined.
Aristotle familiarised the concept of synergy when he coined the term “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and my next couple is just that, a food-pairing match made in heaven.
If you’re looking for a relaxing nightcap to enjoy at the end of the day, when you’re done with all the hard work and ready to put your feet up and snuggle in with a good book then look no further than this soothing elixir from my book Heal Your Gut.
The combination of two of my favourite delicate and calming herbs – Chamomile and Lavender - will settle your nervous system and relax your digestive system, especially if the day has left you feeling stressed or tense and dinner preparation has stolen much of your well-earned evening.
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For centuries, the Chamomile plant has been used for medicinal purposes, with the flowers often being enjoyed as a fragrant tea. Due to its gentle nature and calming, soothing aroma and flavour, Chamomile tea has grown a reputation over the years as one of the safest beverages that can be enjoyed by all – including children and the elderly - to treat insomnia.
This caffeine-free herb contains a flavonoid known as chrysin, which provides its amazing sedative-like quality. Have you ever noticed how you start nodding off whenever you’ve got your hot water bottle with you during winter? Drinking a warm chamomile tea before bed also elevates your body’s core temperature, which can aid in sending you off to lala land.
Chamomile tea can even help treat mood issues like depression without the need for toxic drugs.
If you're feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders and, excuse the bluntness, need to just “chill out” then, making a cup of chamomile tea may be the answer. It is rich in glycine, an amino acid that works to ensure a healthy nervous system and makes you less prone to feeling tense.
The active compound that gives chamomile so many of its health benefits is the essential oil, bisabolol which has been shown to possess many antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This is what makes chamomile a fantastic digestive aid if you’re stomach is acting up.
After a full day of eating and digesting, chamomile tea is one of the best drinks to enjoy before you head off to sleep and give your body a well-deserved eight-hour break. Since it works as a muscle relaxant, chamomile tea can help soothe stomach cramps, move things along and can be a Godsend during that time of month if you suffer from menstrual cramps.
Its anti-inflammatory properties also make chamomile tea the drink of choice during cold and flu season, as it can reduce feelings of congestion and the accompanying muscle aches that so often make you feel as though you’ve been hit by an oncoming train.
I enjoy my chamomile with a hint of lemon, as in this recipe, as it creates a unique flavour infusion and helps to draw out the floral undertones of this magical herb.
An equally aromatic herb, Lavender, is a gorgeous ingredient that is slightly underrated in cooking –but used often in grandmas potpourri, or soaps! Native to northern Africa and the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean, Lavender is praised for its beauty applications and is commonly used in fragrances and shampoos to help wash and purify the skin. Because of its gorgeous aroma and multitude of health benefits, it also makes a delicious and beautiful herbal tea.
Like Chamomile, Lavender tea has been used for centuries to promote relaxation and treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, stress and depression. In fact, lavender has been found to be so calming that it’s even being used to calm down anxious dental patients before treatment.
When combined with chamomile, this tea provides the ultimate support for your digestive system, helping to relieve symptoms of bloating, indigestion, and nausea. With its gorgeous appearance and delicious aroma, this warming cup of joy is a treat for the senses, eyes, taste buds, belly and brain!
Chamomile and Lavender Tea
- 2 teaspoons lavender buds
- 2 teaspoons chamomile buds
- 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) boiling filtered water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Put the lavender and chamomile in a teapot.
- Pour over the water, then add the lemon juice.
- Infuse for 10 minutes, then pour into mugs or glasses (or strain it if you prefer) and serve.