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Welcome back to my garden. My witchy garden. My tea garden. My herb garden. Whatever you want to call it, I’ve been adding plants to it for years. One day we’ll settle down and commit it to soil.
Is Chamomile not the sunniest, happiest little plant face that you’ve ever seen? Just looking at these little flowers makes my heart happy. Can you picture it? Feathery foliage and smiling faces nodding in the breeze, spilling out over garden edges, attracting bees and butterflies and sun kissed children with berry smeared faces.
Of course I don’t intend to grow chamomile just for its sunny disposition. Chamomile has a long and treasured history of being both a witch’s and a mother’s friend.
There are two varieties of chamomile that you will run across and want to stock your apothecary with. Roman chamomile (Chamaemilum nobile) is a low growing perennial that makes a wonderful ground cover. German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is a taller growing annual. Both share feathery foliage, white petals, and an apple-like fragrance. They are similar enough in characteristics and properties to be used almost interchangeably.
History and Folklore
- The word Chamomile comes from the Greek meaning “ground apple”, probably because of its apple-like fragrance.
- The Romans used Chamomile for incense. Roman Chamomile gained its name, not from ancient Rome, but because a 19th century plant collector found some growing on the ruins of the coliseum in Rome.
- Chamomile was used in ancient Egypt for fevers and was dedicated to their Sun God Ra.
- To the Anglo Saxons, it was one of the nine herbs charm.
- Chamomile is associated with the sun, (Sometimes the Moon, occasionally Venus, rarely Mercury) Leo and the element of water. It helps cleanse and invigorate the throat chakra (5th). It is associated with various Sun Gods, including Ra, Cernunnos, Lugh and others.
- It is used in spells for money, peace, love, tranquility, and purification.
- An infusion used to wash thresholds (doors and windows) will help keep unwanted energies or entities from passing through. Sprinkle powdered chamomile flowers around your self or home to remove spells cast against you and to prevent fires and lightning strikes. You may also use herbal water if you prefer.
- Use it in a ritual bath before performing spells for any of these purposes. Just a simple chamomile bath while visualizing will increase your attractiveness to the opposite sex. Also, use it in a bath as part of a spell to release a loved one, or to release feelings of pain, loss or anger.
- Washing your hands in chamomile water before gambling will increase your luck.
- Add to sachets for luck or money. Or place pressed chamomile flowers in your wallet to attract money to it.
- Use in meditation incense.
- Chamomile added to the bath is very relaxing. It is especially good for fretful babies.
- Chamomile tea is an excellent rinse for brightening blonde hair.
- The dried flowers are excellent in potpourri.
- Infuse chamomile flowers in milk for a soothing skin cleanser that both fights acne and moisturizes. Use within one week.
- Chamomile planted near sick or delicate plants will help them return to or maintain their health.
- Water young plants with chamomile tea to prevent “damping off”.
- German chamomile is most often used in healing in the US, but Roman chamomile works as well.
- It relaxes the body and mind and promotes a good night’s sleep. It’s safe enough to use for children. Also for teething stress and colic. Scientific studies have shown that it acts like leading anti-anxiety medications, check with your doctor if you plan to use it this way. For nerves and insomnia, drink warm at bedtime. It can be mixed with warm milk and honey.
- It is also a gentle muscle relaxant, anti-spasmodic, and anti-inflammatory. It can be used, especially in combination with similar herbs, to soothe problems associated with muscle cramps and spasms. Especially useful for menstrual cramps. Drink two or three cups of tea per day.
- It aids in digestion and soothes gastric complaints and colitis including irritable bowel problems. It also safely relieves morning sickness and restlessness that comes with pregnancy. For stomach problems, including gastritis, colitis and morning sickness, drink a cup of tea on an empty stomach first thing in the morning hot or cold.
- When used topically, it speeds the healing of cuts, scrapes, blisters and burns. It is also helpful for rashes, eczema and other skin inflammation. Add it to a salve, rinse the affected area with chamomile tea, or add a few drops of essential oil to bathwater.
- Do not use ointments for burns, use compresses or light lotions instead. Oils hold in body heat and don’t let the burns heal.
- A chamomile tea bag makes a good compress. Chill or use warm.
- Eye inflammations can be treated by placing a cool compress soaked in chamomile tea over the eyes.
- Chamomile mouthwash helps keep gums healthy and soothes mouth inflammations.
- Chamomile Tea- 2 teaspoons German Chamomile flowers to 1 mug of boiling water. Cover and steep five minutes.
- Chamomile may cause allergic reactions in those allergic to ragweed.
- Chamomile should not be used by people who are already using blood thinners because some constituents may have anticoagulant action.
- Roman chamomile is most often used in cooking.
- The fresh leaves are good mixed with butter or sour cream for potatoes.
- In Spain, it is used to flavor Mantazilla, a light sherry.
- Chamomile flowers were used in Anglo Saxon Europe for making beer until they started using hops.
My first relationship with Chamomile was strictly a bedtime one. I bought the little box of tea bags with a teddy bear promising a good night’s sleep, added honey, and welcomed myself to dreamland. Or at least hoped to welcome myself to dreamland. Have you ever opened one of those tea bags? I hadn’t either until I actually started studying herbs.
Twigs and dust. That’s what was in my tea bag. I tried different brands, but y’all. Nothing beats the quality of having your own herbs. I have rows and rows of mason jars full of dried herbs. For tea. For healing. For being beautiful.
And the really amazing part is how much better your tea is when it is more than twigs and dust.
Other names: ground apples / garden chamomile / pin heads
Composition: Chamomile consists of the fresh or dried flower heads. They contain essential oil.
Description / History: This romantic herb brings to mind the folk lore of the Middle Ages. The benefits are widely known and have been used for millennia. The first use was by the Egyptians, and even today, it is the most popular flavor of herbal tea in the world. The name in Greek literally means ground apple, because of the nice apple-like scent it gives.
Pharmacological Actions: anti-inflammatory / antibacterial / antifungal / nervine / antispasmodic / liver and kidney detoxifier / antibiotic (most against gram positive bacteria) / antihistamine / sedative
Indications: infections / anxiety / inflammation / gastric upsets / colic / allergies / burns / skin irritations (topically)
Contraindications: allergies to the ragweed family
Dosage: up to 1/4 cup fresh flower heads / 4-6g dried flower heads infused into a tea / extracts / both internally and externally
Methods of Administration: bother internally as a tea or extract and externally in a balm, slave, or even poultice
Excerpted from Botanical Medicine in the Home, page 189
Most of us grew up with chamomile as our first introduction to herbs because even Mother Rabbit knew how amazing this flower is at calming both upset tummies and scared little bunnies.
“Peter was not very well during the evening. His mother put him to bed, and made some chamomile tea: “One table-spoonful to be taken at bedtime.”
― Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit
We often use chamomile in a blend of herbs that we call Sleepy Balm. It’s funny actually because the same herbs can be used to make a delicious tea that the girls will ask for after especially hectic moving or emotional days. Four girls in one camper makes for a lot of emotional days. Both tea and balm seem to ease the rumbles of discontent though so I make sure to keep them on hand. I’ll try to get the recipe up soon.
As its many names allude to, chamomile is the King of the Herbs when it comes to any kind of digestive complaint. Known as “Our Lady of the Guts” or “Mother of the Gut”, this versatile herb contains a complex collage of phytochemicals that work individually and collectively on all aspects of the digestive system. A-bisabolol speeds the mending of torn tissue which assists the healing of ulcerations. Chamazulene shrinks swollen stomach tissue that presses on nerve endings causing pain. Azulene kills staphylococcus and streptococcus infections, which in turn can alleviate the symptoms of food poisoning.
Often the root of digestive upset, nervousness can be calmed by this mildly sedative herb. Chamomile contains one flavonoid in particular, apigenin, which binds to the benzodiazepine receptors in the brain, promoting relaxation. Stress is a well-known factor in IBS flare ups. Because the brain and the gut communicate directly back and forth via the vagus nerve, a more relaxed mind can also help heal gut issues, which can mean reduced symptoms of chronic conditions like leaky gut, IBS and other gut-related issues.
Stomach upsets and bugs can also be relieved by chamomile – its delicate balance of active plant compounds will help to neutralise the cause and heal any damage induced by the bug.
As a relaxant, chamomile depresses the central nervous system, reducing anxiety while not disrupting normal performance or function. This is due to the active principles of chamomile including flavonoids, glycosides, and essential oils.
In a 2011 study published in the journal, “European Neuropsychopharmacology”, showed that the phytochemicals in chamomile have 3 effects on the central nervous system that contribute to the herb’s anxiolytic and sedative properties. It binds to the GABA receptors which in turn reduces the activity of the cells in the sleep centre of the brain.
Sometimes called “herbal aspirin”, chamomile has been used for centuries to lower pain and reduce inflammation. This seems to be backed up by science, with a 2009 study by Srivastava et al published in “Life Sciences,” finding that chamomile caused cell reactions similar to that of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
It is a popular remedy for inflammation on the outside of the body too, with it being commonly used to treat sunburn, mild burns, rashes, sores and eye inflammation.
Lowers Blood Sugar
A promising Iranian study from 2015 found that drinking 3 cups of chamomile tea daily could improve the control of blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. 64 participants with type 2 diabetes were recruited, all of whom were aged between 30 and 60. They consumed camomile tea three times per day immediately after meals for eight weeks. A control group also followed this routine, but they drank water instead.
The camomile tea group had significantly reduced HbA1c and serum insulin levels, as well as significantly increased total antioxidant capacity compared to those in the control group.
The researchers concluded that camomile tea could be useful in reducing diabetes risk factors. They added: “Short-term intake of chamomile tea has beneficial effects on glycaemic control and antioxidant status in patients with type 2 diabetes”.
Another way to easily use chamomile is essential oils.
Roman Chamomile oil
Chamomile has been used as an herbal remedy since ancient times. The word chamomile is derived from the Greek words khamai, meaning on the ground, and melon, meaning apple—likely because of its distinct fruity aroma.
Roman Chamomile is a low-growing plant with parsley-like leaves and daisy-like flowers. The flowers are steam distilled to create Roman Chamomile essential oil.
Features & Benefits
- Has a comforting, warm aroma for the mind and body
- Helps freshen the air when diffused and improves the
appearance of skin when applied topically
- Offers a peaceful environment for yoga
- Great to add to your massage routine to create a
Used in Europe for skin regeneration. For centuries, mothers have used chamomile to calm crying children, combat digestive and liver ailments, and relieve toothaches.
Medical Properties: Relaxant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, antibacterial, anesthetic
Uses: Relieves restlessness, anxiety, ADHD, depression, insomnia, skin conditions (acne, dermatitis, eczema)
Fragrant Influence: Because it is calming and relaxing, it can combat depression, insomnia, and stress. It minimizes anxiety, irritability, and nervousness. it may also dispel anger, stabilize emotions, and help to release emotions that are linked to the past.
Excerpted from The Essential Oils Desk Reference, 7th Edition, page 125
German Chamomile oil
Also available in Vitality, our dietary oils collection.
German chamomile has been used in herbal remedies for thousands of years throughout ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It has a beautiful aroma that helps create a peaceful atmosphere. This oil can be applied neat or as part of massage to desired areas.
German Chamomile Vitality™ essential oil is steam distilled from the flowers of the plant and features a slight apple taste, making it great for tossing into a salad dressing or adding to a fresh cup of tea.
This essential oil can also be taken as a dietary supplement to support well-being and provide powerful antioxidants. German Chamomile Vitality oil uses also include promoting feelings of calmness, calming occasional nervous tension, and supporting a normal, healthy outlook during PMS.
German Chamomile Vitality Essential Oil Uses:
- Add 1–2 drops of German Chamomile Vitality to warm tea as part of a comforting evening ritual.
- Add 1–2 drops to a smoothie or shake to provide powerful antioxidants.
- Place a few drops in hot tea to promote feelings of calmness and support a normal, healthy outlook during PMS.
Listed in Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica (AD 78), Europes first authoritative guide to medicines, which became the standard reference work for herbal treatments for over 1,700 years.
Medical Properties: Powerful antioxidant, inhibits lipid peroxidation, antitumoral, anti-inflammatory, relaxant, anesthetic; promotes digestion, liver, and gallbladder health.
Uses: Hepatitis/fatty liver, arteriosclerosis, insomnia, nervous tension, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, skin problems such as acne, eczema, scar tissue
Fragrant Influence: Dispels anger, stabilizes emotions, and helps release emotions linked to the past. Soothes and clears the mind.
Excerpted from The Essential Oils Desk Reference, 7th Edition, page 94
Notes: Many oils go by the name “chamomile” because of their high chamazulene content, but the only two true chamomile oils are German and Roman. Other oils are not true chamomile oils, though they do share the deep blue color. While the oil is generally recognized as a sedative, it actually is ideally used for its anti allergic properties that help to relieve anaphylaxis and hay fever reactions, eczema, and allergic asthma. Another little known benefit of chamomile oil is the action against Staphlococcus aureus. Yet another surprising benefit of the oil lies in the ability to hydrate the skin so quickly and effectively. For ideal results, combine with orange and mandarin oils and dilute in a cream at 5% solution.
Excerpted from Understanding Holistic Health, page 145
Thank you for digging deeper into Chamomile with me. I am very passionate about herbs, oils, and the education of their uses.
Please remember that essential oils are very concentrated products and should never be ingested unless specifically labeled for such use.
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Finally, the obligatory disclaimer.
I am not a doctor. None of the statements included in this post have been approved by the FDA or any other cool acronym known agency. It is Young Living’s official stance that they and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any specific disease or illness. Young Living Independent Distributor #14632733