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.
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.
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.
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 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:
Chamomile lotion is widely available, and can help treat many skin conditions, like:
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:
Chamomile mouthwashes can be purchased or made at home. A homemade mouthwash is a cooled cup of very strong chamomile tea. It can:
Chamomile can be used as a vapor, by simply making a boiling cup of chamomile tea, and then inhaling the steam. This vapor can:
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:
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.
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.
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