Chamomile – Chamamaelum Nobile, Matricaria Recutita, and Chamamaelum Mixtum (German, Roman, and Moroccan) There are three kinds of Chamomile and they have pretty much identical properties. Chamomile is usually consumed in tea form and contains many excellent ingredients (including bioflavonoids, luteolin, and quercetin). The herb is good for poor appetite, indigestion, heartburn, insomnia, anxiety, stress, headache, and irritable bowel syndrome. Chamomile preparations help insect bites, wounds, itching, and other skin irritations. Internally, chamomile tea (made from the dainty, white flowers of the plant) helps nausea and calms the stomach. It is suitable for relaxing nerves in stressful situations. Unlike many herbal teas which taste bitter, chamomile tea is delicious.
Strong chamomile tea makes a good mouthwash that relieves mouth ulcers and canker sores. It even helps control periodontal diseases. Inhaling the steam from a hot cup of chamomile tea not only calms the nerves, but can sooth hay fever, bronchitis, and asthma. Used with witch hazel, it can even help eczema. A chamomile compress can ease sprained ankles and relieve inflamed joints.
Chamomile tea is one of the oldest herbal remedies and beauty products. The plant is originally from Europe and Western Asia. Many Europeans use chamomile tea to treat eye infections such as pink-eye and blocked tear-ducts. (To make an eye wash, brew a weak tea with the dried flower tops and distilled water, strain through coffee filters, and apply the cooled liquid every few hours for a couple of days.) Many people believe that chamomile improves the elasticity of the skin, thus improving the complexion. Chamomile tea is considered an excellent hair rinse and it keeps blonde hair bright and shiny.
During pregnancy, a weak chamomile tea can reduce morning sickness symptoms. When sipped slowly while nursing a baby, the tea can help prevent baby’s colic. It is also useful in the baby’s bath to encourage a peaceful sleep (just float a tea bag in the bath water).
Chamomile essential oil is a rare treat. The real stuff is pale blue and expensive. Chamomile essential oil is used in baths, lotions, massage, and aromatherapy to help treat PMS, menopausal symptoms, liver problems, cystitis, stress, insomnia, and muscle inflammation. The oil is used to treat skin conditions like burns, blisters, boils and acne. It can even cure athlete’s foot if used on a regular basis.
Chamomile is known to increase production of white blood cells. The scent is refreshing and smells kind of like apples. Chamomile promotes a feeling of comfort, stimulates the memory and respiratory system, and helps overcome exhaustion.
Chamomile tea shields ulcers, fights fungal invaders, soothes upset stomachs, helps mend torn tissue, kills staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria, and generally protects and heals the body. This gentle tea may even break dependencies on strong, over-the-counter laxatives by helping the digestive tract function properly.
Chamomile is a small evergreen perennial that forms a spreading mat of fine, feathery foliage about 3 inches high. Chamomile is easy to start from seed and can be propagated by cuttings. Sow in full sun or partial shade, in light, well-drained moist soil. Chamomile spreads rapidly if grown under the right conditions. Occasionally clip it with the mower to keep it under control. Chamomile plants like a gravel or rock mulch. The dainty, white flowers are harvested throughout the summer and then dried quickly to retain their rich properties (for use in winter months).