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The Calming World of Chamomile

by Will S. March 01, 2017

The Calming World of Chamomile

Chamomile

Chamomile has been used for hundreds of years as a natural remedy for a wide variety of ailments. It is used both internally and externally, and traditionally it is consumed in the form of tea as a sleep aid, a treatment for colds and fevers, an anti-inflammatory, and to settle upset stomachs. Over the past two decades, extensive research has been conducted on the plant and has confirmed many of its traditional uses. Research has validated the plants healing reputation and has identified it as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-allergenic and its renowned sedative properties.

 

History

There are a few different varieties of chamomile, and each can be traced back to ancient civilizations. The ancient Romans used it for many purposes. One of the noted physicians of the time used it to treat headaches, liver and kidney problems. It’s probable that it was also used to treat skin conditions, digestive disorders, and other ailments. In addition to its medicinal uses, the Romans used the flowers to decorate the floors in banquet halls, perfume the air, and burn as incense during sacred rituals.

The ancient Greeks were also aware of the benefits of chamomile, and more particularly, Ancient Greece is where the Roman Chamomile variety originated from. Dioscorides, one of the noted physicians and botanists of the time, used chamomile to treat kidney stones, intestinal problems, nervous disorders, liver disorders, and women’s ailments. They also fashioned chamomile garlands to perfume the air.

The ancient Egyptians associated chamomile with the sun God, Ra. They used it for sacred rituals and ceremonies. They also used chamomile to treat skin conditions, and used it for hair care and cosmetic purposes.

 Chamomile flowers

The Anglo-Saxons routinely used herbs to ward off disease and promote their health. These herbs were known as the nine sacred herbs, and chamomile was among them.

The Pagans and Druids used chamomile as part of their spells and rituals. They believed that certain herbs could ward off negative energy. Chamomile, however, was more special, as it turned the negative energy to positive energy. It is still used in Pagan and Druid rituals today for similar reasons.

 

Habitat

Chamomile can be found growing wild in many parts of the world. It grows in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Once it has established itself, it can grow abundantly. It is a ground covering herb so it grows low and outwards, like a mat.

However, it does need certain conditions in order to grow fully. It should be planted in the spring and can be grown from either plant cuttings, or from seed. Although, it is easier to grow from a cutting of an established chamomile than from seed. It tends to prefer a little shade, but it will grow in the sun as well, as long as the soil is dry. Once it has established itself, it needs very little care, as it needs little watering and is resistant to most pests. Many people recommend planting it near a vegetable garden, as it can help to prevent pest attacks. It also has been called the plant doctor, because it can help weak and sickly plants recover.  

 

Chamomile Can Be Used as:

 

Tea

Chamomile tea bags can be purchased from a wide range of stores, or it can be brewed from homegrown chamomile. The whole flowers should be harvested, dried and stored in a cool, dry, airtight container. Only the flower heads are used, not the stems or the leaves, and once dried, they shouldn’t be crumbled. It takes two to three teaspoons of dried chamomile for one cup of tea. Chamomile tea can help with a variety of ailments and has a variety of uses:

•  Aiding Sleep
•  Relieving Allergy Symptoms
•  Relieving Rheumatic Pain
•  Aiding Digestion
•  Anti-inflammatory
•  Anti-Anxiety
•  Gastrointestinal Support

 

Chamomile Tea

Lotion

Chamomile lotion is widely available, and can help treat many skin conditions, like:

•  Eczema
•  Wounds to the skin
•  Itching
•  Burns
•  Chicken Pox

 

Compress

A chamomile compress is simple to make and gives many benefits. Add a chamomile teabag to boiling water, leave to cool completely, before using the tea bag as a compress:

•  Tired eyes
•  Irritated eyes
•  Conjunctivitis
•  Sunburn
•  Rashes
•  Bruises

 

Mouthwash

Chamomile mouthwashes can be purchased or made at home. A homemade mouthwash is a cooled cup of very strong chamomile tea. It can:

• Prevent Mouth Ulcers
• Prevent Gum Disease
• Soothe Inflammation

 

Vapor

Chamomile can be used as a vapor, by simply making a boiling cup of chamomile tea, and then inhaling the steam. This vapor can:

• Alleviate Asthma Symptoms
• Alleviate Cold and Flu Symptoms
• Ease Bronchitis Pains
• Calm Anxiety

 

Use as an Essential Oil

There are two types of chamomile essential oil. One is made from Roman chamomile, and it is a light blue color. The other is made from German chamomile, and it is a deep blue color. Roman chamomile essential oil has more calming properties, and German chamomile essential oil has more anti-inflammatory properties. However, both work interchangeably, so either version can be used. Some common uses as an essential oil are:

 

• Chamomile essential oil can be diffused in an electric oil diffuser, an oil burner, or by adding a few drops to a tissue and inhaling. This can help with the symptoms of a cold and flu, allergy symptoms, bronchitis, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

 

• Chamomile essential oil also has beauty and cosmetic purposes. A few drops added to a moisturizer can help to improve the skin. Adding two to three drops to shampoo and conditioner can keep hair looking healthy and youthful. It can also be added to coconut oil to create a highly moisturizing body lotion.
 
• Chamomile essential oil is very gentle so it can be applied directly to the skin. Putting a drop or two on a cotton pad can be applied to acne and other skin complaints.

 

• Chamomile has been long used to treat insomnia. Adding a few drops to a bowl of water kept beside the bed, or putting a few drops on the pillow can help promote a restful sleep. Some people report that rubbing a few drops on their feet is also a very effective insomnia treatment. Others recommend adding a few drops to a warm bath and bathing for fifteen to twenty minutes before bed.

 

What Makes the Chamomile Plant Have Such a Calming Effect?

For many years, the calming effect of chamomile was thought to be folklore or a placebo effect. However, recent studies have clearly shown that chamomile has a true calming effect. This is because the naturally found chemicals in chamomile act similar to the medications used to treat depression and anxiety. One study involved a group of patients who had been diagnosed with mild to moderate anxiety disorder. The patients were separated into two groups. One group received a placebo, and the other received a chamomile tablet. The group who were taking the chamomile reported reductions in their feelings of anxiety, and improvements in their feelings of well-being.

Chamomile Flowers

 

Other Plants or Herbs that have Similar Properties

There are few herbs that have the same wide-ranging benefits as chamomile. However, there are other herbs that can be used to treat some of the conditions and symptoms that chamomile can treat. Acne can be treated with arnica or lavender. Dandelion, ginger, lemon balm, and peppermint can help relieve digestive discomfort, and help aid digestion. Eczema can be relieved with evening primrose and red clover. Inflammation can be helped with aloe, comfrey, St John’s wort and yarrow. Valerian can help treat insomnia. However, while these different plants and herbs can help with these conditions, chamomile can help with all of them.

 

Chamomile is effective in treating a wide range of ailments and complaints. It is one of only a few herbs and plants that has such broad uses. It’s also one of the most gentle remedies and can be used by almost everyone. Many parents use it as a remedy for teething and colicky babies. It can be used in a wide range of ways, and even adding a few drops to a bath can be incredibly effective in aiding pains, and aches. Chamomile can be ingested, inhaled, and applied directly to the skin. It has been used for generations, and in more recent times, it has been proven to have positive effects on a number of conditions.





Will S.
Will S.

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