Chamomile is an aromatic member of the daisy family, and a well-known herbal tea. Growing your own is the best way to ensure fresh tea, but make sure you have the correct variety! you need to grow Matricaria recutita. Pick
a bunch of flower heads once they start to flower and shove it in a teapot, add boiling water and infuse 5 minutes or so before drinking, to absorb all the oils and phytonutrients. Looks good in a vase, too. Anyone can take it unless you are allergic to members
of the daisy family (you may sneeze or come up in a rash when around ragwort, for example).
Chamomile contains calcium, iodine and potassium, as well as essential oils and immune-stimulating polysaccharides, flavonoids, bitters (good for the liver),
tannins, coumarin and malic acid. These phytonutrients can assist in the following ways:
If you suffer from menstrual or other abdominal cramps, such as in IBS, 3-6 cups of really strong chamomile tea/day can help. It is relaxing to muscles and
nerves, so helps release tension, including tension headaches, migraine and vertigo, and regulate your bowels and menstrual cycle. It can be helpful during menopause. People often take it to ease stress levels, morning sickness or settle down before bed, for
the same relaxing and antispasmodic properties. Chamomile essential oil (use externally ONLY, as inhalations or topical applications at 1% concentration) can alleviate inflammation and allergies eg hay fever, catarrh, sinusitis, bronchitis and asthma.
Chamomile is healing and soothing on the skin, so dab some cold tea on mild mastitis or cracked nipples (safe for baby), sunburn, rashes, acne, bites and stings. Any skin inflammation is heating, so the cooling effect of the cold tea alone will soothe,
apart from the healing properties of chamomile. Dab it around your eyelids if you have conjunctivitis or blepharitis, or on any radiotherapy skin trauma. The hot tea will soothe ginigivitis, and makes a delightful blond hair rinse.
As you can see, a
multitude of uses for this most valuable herb!
Chamomile - easy to grow as a lawn of garden border. Hardy, but naturally water in hot, dry conditions. As a lawn, you can smell the flowers as you walk over them - so refreshing and calming!