A little, yellow-centered, daisy-like flower, Chamomile is well known as a calming, relaxing tea, but wow, does it have many uses!
Origin and History
There are 2 varieties of chamomile, (botanically unrelated): Marticaria chamomilla (German), and Anthemis nobilis (Roman or English). Their healing properties are very similar, but German chamomile is the variety most often grown in the United States today. Chamomile was used in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, and in Ayurvedic healing in India.
Chamomile is a traditional cooling digestive aid, as the volatile oils in the flowers relax the smooth muscles in the intestinal tract, making it an excellent anti-spasmodic (helps relieve cramping in the digestive tract). It is also used to alleviate ulcers, upset stomach, heartburn, gas, and diverticular disorders.
Chamomile has a long history as a mild, relaxing, sleep-aid that alleviates insomnia and anxiety, and it can be used safely to calm restless children.
Its antispasmodic qualities help to soothe menstrual cramps.
Its soothing properties make it suitable for allergy-prone skin types; it heals mucous membranes of the skin and can be applied externally to wounds, burns, and eczema. Salve made with chamomile can soothe sore nipples in nursing mothers.
It has been estimated that 1 million cups of chamomile tea are ingested every day worldwide, making it the most widely consumed herb tea! You can easily buy chamomile tea already bagged, or find it at your local natural foods store bulk department. Sip a cup of tea (you can even add a slice of fresh ginger for a balancing, warming effect) after meals, or before bed time. Blue chamomile oil is used topically, look for healing salves that contain chamomile, and you’ll also find it in shampoos to lighten hair!