chamomile large Chamomile (German)

Chamomile (German) | Matricaria chamomilla/recutita

general characteristics

general characteristics

Common names include chamomile, wild chamomile, scented mayweed, manzanilla (Spanish), all based on the original Greek name of 'ground apple".

 

It is an annual plant (completes its life cycle in one growing season then sets seed for next years plants) and a member of the daisy family (Asteraceae). It grows best in poor or sandy soil in a sunny location, often in grasses or on the edges of crop fields. It grow all over Europe.

When crushed or rubbed, it has a gentle apple like aroma.

It has a very long history of use as a medicinal herb, its use can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians and beyond.


 

Chamomile dried herb and tincture are available to buy in our herbal shop.

 



harvesting and preparation

harvesting and preparation

The flowers are the parts used medicinally and should be gathered on a dry day when the flowers are in full bloom, usually in mid summer. Pick just the flowers and make sure to leave plenty on the plant to ensure seed production for next years plants. New flowers will appear though throughout the summer with regular harvesting.
Lay the flowers on a tray lined with newspaper and dry in a warm place, turning regularly and checking for any mould etc. before storing in an airtight jar in a cool dark place.
Chamomile flowers can also be used fresh in the same way as dried flowers.

 

 

Chamomile dried herb and tincture are available to buy in our herbal shop.

 


therapeutic actions and uses

therapeutic actions and uses

Chamomile is such a useful and versatile plant that I would never want to be without it, especially in dried flower form. It is perhaps most famous for its positive actions on the entire digestive system, as an anti-inflammatory and as a calming remedy for the nerves but has quite a few more tricks up its pretty sleeves.
 
Its anti-inflammatory actions are well known are can be of benefit to the entire digestive system, the skin, mucous membranes (eyes, mouth, vagina, anus, etc.).
 
A poultice of the soaked flowers can help heal sprains and strains.
 
Chamomile is also strengthening to blood vessels and any other smooth muscle organs such as the heart, bladder, kidneys and uterus.
 
Chamomile is a known anti-fungal and can be used in candida, fungal infectionsringworm, athletes foot and 'jock itch' etc. A strong tea can be sprayed on plants growing in moist conditions to prevent fungal diseases such as 'damping off' and powdery mildew.
 
Chamomile flowers also possess antiviral substances which have shown promise against the herpes virus (cold sores and genital herpes) and the common cold virus. Chamomile has also been shown to inhibit the polio virus http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6317803.
 
The flowers are known to be antibacterial, effective against staphylococcus strains, H.pylori (associated with stomach ulcers and gastritis), Mycobacterium tuberculosis among others.
 
It has been used for centuries as a mild pain reliever (either as a tea, poultice or the essential oil used in a rub) for many conditions including headache, backache, sciatica, earache, stomach or intestinal spasms and griping, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatic pains and toothache.
 
Fans of chamomile and herbalists have known for many years that the tea can soothe the nerves and relieve nervous tension, excitability and irritability, anxiety and depression without any of the side effects of conventional drugs. The soothing action of chamomile on the nerves makes it extremely useful for stress (whether bodily or emotional), seizures, to aid sleep and prevent insomnia, dizziness, prevent nightmares, ease muscular spasms, restless leg syndrome, hyperactivity. Regular daily consumption of 3 -5 cups can bring rapid relief.
 
Chamomile is well known for its tonic actions on the entire digestive system from the stomach to the bowels. It helps improve digestion, prevents fermentation and stagnation, prevents and helps heal stomach and intestinal ulcers, acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion, appendicitis, oesophagitis, aids weight loss, soothes nausea and vomiting, liver tonic, pancreas tonic, constipation, diverticulitis, gallstone pain, gastro-enteritis, gastritis, dysentery, giardia, increases salivary gland secretion and pyloric stenosis or any tightness and constriction in the digestive tract.
 
Chamomile is a natural anti-histamine and helps to reduce the allergic responses in food sensitivities and other allergies, insect bites and stings. It does however actually cause allergic reactions in a very small number of individuals who are sensitive to plants such as ragwort and other members of the daisy family.
 
It can be used to help relieve rheumatism as a poultice, infused oil and/or tea. To make an infused oil add a handful of dried flowers to 200ml or so of olive oil or similar and heat very gently in a bain marie for a few hours. Squeeze out all the oil from the flowers and discard. The oil remaining can be used to massage into affected and painful areas. Keep the cool and dark (in an airtight jar) when not in use and make a fresh batch every other day or so.
 
A cup of chamomile tea taken with meals has been shown to reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes and can help balance blood sugar levels. It can also help protect against diabetic complications.
 
It can be very useful in acute and active flare ups of crohns disease, colitis and IBS where it soothes pain, irritation and inflammation when taken as a strong tea.
 
Chamomile encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the bowel so can also benefit general vitality and immunity.
 
It can also be used safely and gently over long periods to help eliminate worms.
 
Rinse a cup of strong chamomile tea around the mouth a few times daily to help heal gingivitis, mouth ulcers, lichen planus in the mouth and other gum inflammation. If you soak a chamomile teabag or use the soaked flowers as a poultice to place on mouth abscesses it will draw out pus and help heal the infection. It can give great relief in cases of oral mucositis.
 
Chamomile tea makes a great eyewash for conjunctivitis, other eye infections, allergic reactions, styes, inflammation and tired or sore eyes.
 
Chamomile is soothing to irritated skin, eczema (especially weeping), psoriasis, rashes and wound healing as it encourages skin repair and helps clean infected wounds of pus. As a poultice, it is more effective than hydro-cortisone for reducing inflammation. It also makes a lovely rinse to the hair for conditioning and for relieving itchy or flaky scalps (such as in dandruff) and can soothe sunburn and encourage skin repair. Chamomile flower tea also makes a nice wash for the face to help improve skin condition, get rid of and help prevent spots and reduce wrinkle formation and improve scars.
 
PMT symptoms such as cramping pains, anxiety and depression can be eased with chamomile. Other female reproductive issues such as vaginitis, pelvic inflammatory disease and salpingitis can all benefit from chamomile. A poultice on the breast can help to relieve the pain and swelling of mastitis.
 
Chamomile flowers have shown to be efficient killers of cancer cells when tested on men with prostate cancer.
 
Chamomile is particularly suitable for all sorts of ailments in children and babies such as nappy rash and irritated skin and eczema, cradle cap, colic, teething pain, hyperactivity, tantrums and for settling them down at night. Useful also as a soothing remedy and immune booster in childhood illnesses like rubella, mumps, measles, chicken pox, convulsions, meningitis etc.
 
Add a handful of chamomile flowers to your bath for a relaxing soak.
 
Here is a link to some of the more recent trials and medical implications for chamomile http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
 

dosage and cautions

dosage and cautions

Chamomile is an excellent and safe herb suitable for everyday use.
Use sparingly during pregnancy.
*Very rarely it has produced anaphylactic like symptoms or skin allergies in sensitive individuals so if you suspect you are allergic to daisy like plants or their pollen then use with extreme caution or avoid completely.

Adult 

Tincture: 5-10 ml in a little water, 3 times daily

Dried herb in tea form: 1 heaped teaspoon, 3 -5 times daily (mild dose) or 2 heaped teaspoons per cup (standard/strong dose)

Fresh herb in tea form: 1 -2 heaped teaspoon, 3 times daily

 

Children
Add 12 to the child’s age. Divide the child’s age by the total.
E.g. dosage for a 4 year old...... 4 {age} divided by 16 {age + 12} = . 25  or 1/4 of the adult dosage.
 

 

 

 

 


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