Finding a drink that won’t worsen my chronic stomach troubles can be difficult. Both coffee and tea have a lot of acidity, whether they are caffeinated or not (though caffeine happens to worsen my symptoms). Spices don’t bode well either, nor do citrusy elements. For a while, I thought I should stop drinking tea altogether, until I remembered – shining like a tiny bright flower in an otherwise washed-out field – chamomile. Chamomile’s simple, plain, gentle flowers ease my stomach and my mind. Not only do I return to it in times of stress, it is the only tea I am currently drinking.
For a long time, I associated chamomile solely with rest and sleep. While such a connection holds true, chamomile is so generally calming that I enjoy drinking it at any time of day. If I have a cup of chamomile tea in the middle of the day, it soothes my muscles and nerves and reminds me that calm need not be reserved only for rest, that deep breaths can help in the middle of any moment.
At work, I serve a lot of tea and I love their names (Snow Monkey Plum, Tibetan Raspberry, Harmony Green). I enjoy it when customers return to the counter for more hot water – particularly those clicking out poems on a typewriter, or painting, or in the midst of some focused philosophical conversation. I like filling their cups to the brim and wondering what kind of genius awaits when the return to their table. I cannot just now drink caffeinated or fruity teas, so I sip my German chamomile behind the counter in between orders, breathing and watching the motions.