Though there are many varieties of chamomile, the one most commonly used is Chamaemelum nobile. For centuries the daisylike flowers of this perennial herb have been dried and used to make chamomile tea (tisane), long valued for its soothing properties. The flowers are also used as a fragrance in shampoos and other hair preparations. The word "chamomile" comes from Greek for "ground (chamos) apple (melos)," in reference to the plant's low-growing profile and faintly apple-scented blossoms. In Latin cultures, chamomile is called manzanilla ("little apple"). See also tea.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.