Benefits of Chamomile: Prenditi una camomilla!

“Prenditi una camomilla!” is a common Italian expression that literally means “Have yourself a chamomile tea!” but it’s the colloquial equivalent of “Chill out!” or “Take a chill pill!” if you prefer.

There’s even a Facebook group dedicated to this phrase, which happens to be one of my absolute favorites in the Italian language.

More literally, though, many Italians also suggest chamomile tea as a general home remedy for just about any ailment, including insomnia.

Although I love other herbal teas, I’m actually not a huge fan of drinking chamomile; I do, however, *love* the little flowers it comes from.

Maybe you’ve seen them growing wild somewhere?

As you can see, they look like little daisies (in fact, they’re from the daisy family), and they are literally everywhere in the spring in Calabria. You may know the plant as Roman chamomile, English chamomile, garden chamomile, and various other names.

Did you know even Shakespeare knew chamomile, writing that “The more it is trodden on, the faster it grows” in Henry IV?

In our garden, chamomile grows wild, lining the walkway, shown here with the dogs nearby so you can see just how tiny the flowers are:

Dogs and chamomile

To be honest I didn’t even notice these little flowers in Calabria until one day I saw an older gentleman picking them on the side of the road; only then did I realize they must have some use — Calabrians often focus on the utility of plants and flowers, not always their beauty.

Once you’re close to the chamomile, though, the unique scent will tell you what the flowers are. Che profumo!

More Health Benefits of Chamomile

Chamomile does a lot more than just calm your nerves, too; it can also act as an anti-inflammatory, which means it can ease indigestion, other digestive issues, canker sores, conjunctivitis, menstrual cramps, eczema, hemorrhoids, migraines, and more.

For a full list as well as precautions for using chamomile, check out the Chamomile Fact Sheet at

Are you a chamomile fan?

17 Beans of Wisdom to “Benefits of Chamomile: Prenditi una camomilla!”
  1. Gil

    I really don’t remember drinking chamomile tea, but do the plants grow in the US?

    Wikipedia says yes, but I never noticed them where I was…maybe in warmer climates (like here)?

  2. 06.07.2010

    I am not a huge fan of the tea, but I do have some just incase, as it does help me sleep..

    You learn something everyday through blogging πŸ™‚

    Glad it works for you, Anne πŸ™‚

  3. 06.07.2010

    Oh, I love the phrase…and chamomile tea as well. Maybe I’ll join the facebook page πŸ™‚ That’s pretty funny. Grazie, Michelle.

    Glad you enjoyed, Aimee!

  4. I hate the stuff. The ped insisted that Son of Thor should be drinking it three times a day instead of being plonked on the boobie cos he was “too fat” (at three months old).

    He hated bottles, he hated the tea, I got covered in it, I hated the ped for breaking my balls over it for the next three months as he devolped thighs that Giant Haystacks would have been proud of. (he is skinny at nearly ten years old I promise, just was a pudgy baby)

    It put me right off.

    Plus it seems that babies\kids drink this sugar laden, preprepared C. tea granuales that you dissolve in hot water.

    Never really though of a huge dose of sugar being helpful with getting kids to sleep myself.

    An infusion of the flowers I can understand, but a sugar rich processed drink is not exactly the same thing despite its popularity (got look in the baby zone of the supermarket, there are more flavours and brands than you can shake a stick at)

    A subject close to my heart as I was placed on a “diet” at six months old…juices instead of milk, which led to *horrible* teeth problems as a toddler from all the sugar. I’ve never noticed the versions in the supermarket, not having had a baby. Interesting stuff.

  5. casalba

    Huge fan of all herbs, edible flowers and plants. I was thinking of planting a chamomile lawn – might just do it – no mowing needed and, as Shakespeare says: needs to be walked on. (Don’t you hate that sign: “keep off the grass”?) He mentions many herbs, flowers and plants in his plays and sonnets – I think there is a garden in England dedicated to growing only those he mentions.

    Oh that sounds so lovely — both your lawn and the Shakespeare garden!

  6. 06.07.2010

    There is a big difference between the chamomile tea you buy in the supermarket, here or in the U.S., and the wild chamomile you can harvest in Calabria! Emanuele’s father collects it and ties it into little bunches that you can put in a pot of water for tea. The stuff is really potent – it will put you to sleep in about 15 minutes! Better than an Ambien!

    Haha, what a great slogan! There definitely is a big difference between the infusion and the store bought stuff. Excellent point πŸ™‚

  7. 06.07.2010

    I love this post!!! I’m a Chinese Medicine Doctor and I use this herb A LOT with my patients. It’s great for colds too. πŸ™‚

    Glad you enjoyed Andi! Thanks for coming by πŸ™‚

  8. Beth

    Hate the tea, love the scent! Bath & Body Works had a camomile & vanilia scent when their ‘Sleep’ line came out a few years ago that could relax me no matter what, but it was dc’d. There’s an idea for you Michelle, for when you start making goat milk soap!! :oD

    Haha…I hate when B&BW does that to me…will keep it in mind, thanks! πŸ™‚

  9. 06.07.2010

    I love it & it’s all over the States…ubiquitous. Many who do not like it have received very stale dried chamomile…so give it another try, just in case.

    It’s a great expression, yes.


    And also meow! πŸ˜€

  10. 06.07.2010

    My husband and I drink chamomile tea whenever we are ill or can’t sleep. We do find it soothing. Chamomile is the main ingredient of Celestial Seasoning brand herbal tea called “Sleepytime’ It is their best seller!

    I never liked Sleepytime tea either…was probably the chamomile in it πŸ˜‰

  11. 06.07.2010

    I love it! It is an evening ritual to have a cup before bed every night….I even have my husband hooked on it and he even takes it on the road when he travels. With our stressful life, it helps us to relax and get a good night sleep. So….green tea in the morning, espresso mid afternoon, chamomile before bed! ….and red wine everywhere in between! πŸ˜‰

    Ah so you *really* love it; excellent to hear from chamomile fans πŸ™‚

  12. 06.07.2010

    Put me down in the love it category. I think the calming effects on mind and stomach are enough for me.

    Glad it works for you πŸ™‚

  13. awedree

    What a coincidence! Yes, I am a huge fan of the stuff and am loving the Italian expression. I will become a fan of the fb page! I have one cup every night, some times with fruit. It’s love or hate with the stuff thought b/c my parents absolutely abhor the smell. Thanks for the fb link!

    Glad you enjoyed Awedree πŸ™‚

  14. 06.08.2010

    Hi Michelle
    I gave a copy of the book Journey to the South by ?Annie Hawes to a friend of mine ( well my cumare to be precise πŸ™‚

    Anyway I had forgotten the name of the town Annie Hawes goes to in Calabria. It has the name “Melipodio”

    as somebody wrote:

    They had to drive through Seminara, then Castellace before they reached
    Melipodio. I know from the book that it’s a very, very small place. Do you know what town it is? I would ask in the Santa Cristina webpage but I can’t even begin to translate this into Italian πŸ™‚

    So – do you know the name of the town/village?


    I’m not familiar with the small towns of the province of Reggio, but looking at a map, it looks like she either made it up combining the names of towns or it’s a small frazione of a larger town; near Castellace there’s a town called Oppido Mamertina (very near Santa Cristina) with surrounding towns of Varapodio and Molochio, among others, so my guess is that it’s in that general area.

  15. 06.09.2010

    I used to dislike chamomile tea too. Then I came here and O’s mom gave us some she had harvested. We made tea out of it (after he insisted) and what a difference in taste! It actually made me change my mind about it. I did notice that a lot of people here give it to their babies even though prevailing wisdom in the medical world says not to give them anything but milk (breastfeeding) or formula for the first 6 months. You have to wonder what all the sugar contained in the instant baby varieties does to the poor kids.

    Yeah that preprepared stuff scares me as an adult! I’m with you on the harvested chamomile, absolutely. Makes a *huge* difference.

  16. 06.11.2010

    I was on a chamomile regimen after delivering my baby. By my Mother and older sister, said it was suppose to heal my uterus (must be the anti-inflammatory property) I drank it several times a day. did it help? I don’t think there’s really any way of knowing. but baby slept well. Now I only drink it occasionally.

    Hey, whatever works, right? Glad you healed well πŸ™‚

  17. 07.25.2011

    In answer to Jon Tedesco’s question above I think that Melipodio may be 89020 MelicuccΓ 

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake