chamomile

Posted by on February 11, 2015 in blog, nourishing herbs | Comments Off on chamomile

chamomile flowers

Chamomile is probably one of the most researched and nourishing herbs.  You may remember that Beatrix Potter gave her rambunctious son Peter one tablespoon before she sent him straight off to bed, after his escapades in farmer McGregor’s garden.   Chamomile is a simple down to earth herb with wide acclaim, in fact, most of us reach for a nice cup of chamomile tea to cozy up or relax.

There are two varieties of this pretty little flower, German chamomile and Roman chamomile.   It’s a charming daisy like flower with soothing and calming benefits.  The German variety is the most studied, and is better tasting than the Roman variety, which tends toward the bitter side of things.  The Roman variety is also less calming and is more often used for cosmetic purposes.

There is no chamomile in our current garden but we have had it in previous backyard gardens, grown from seed – and that is something magnificent because chamomile seeds are so tiny, among the tiniest we’ve planted.  And it inspires such a sense of wonder that something so positively small can grow to be so prolific and wonderful in the garden!

This nourishing herb chamomile has many soothing and calming benefits.

  • Chamomile is used in dozens of ways to treat inflammation and irritation of the skin

  • Chamomile soothes and calms a restless or teething child

  • Chamomile tea is recommended by herbalists for intestinal cramps and irritation, ulcers, and colic.  It is supportive of digestive health.

  • Chamomile tea is also recommended for insomnia

  • Chamomile is used widely in artisan salves and commercial creams for inflammation, burns and bites

  • German chamomile essential oil  has antibacterial and fungicidal properties.   It is also antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergenic.

  • Chamomile, when combined with calendula makes a terrific natural hair rinse for blonde hair.

 

If you grow your own, it is best to harvest the flowers early in the day when temperatures are still cool.  During the blooming cycle harvest every week.  Dry the flowers immediately as they degrade quickly.

There are so many easy applications for chamomile.  Most of these recipes are from the book How to Benefit from Everyday Herbs – A Beginner’s Guide to Homemade Natural Herbal Remedies for Common Ailments & Good Health.

Cozy Chamomile Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 quart water
  • 2-4 ounces of dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 teaspoon dried orange peel or fresh lemon juice
  • raw honey to taste

Preparation

Blend all ingredients and cover with boiling water.   Let steep for 20 minutes.  Enjoy this tea warm or iced.

 

chamomile tea

Cool Chamomile Shampoo

Check the label before you buy any herbal shampoo. Chances are good that the amount of nourishing herbs is minimal. It’s incredibly simple to make your own herbal shampoo that has enough herbal power to improve the condition of your hair. Plus, if you double or triple the recipes, then you won’t find you have to make it so often.  The following recipe makes a shampoo that soothes your scalp and brings out your natural highlights.

Ingredients

1 cup distilled water

1 oz. dried chamomile flowers

3 oz. liquid castile soap

1/ 8 tsp. sesame seed oil (non-toasted) or olive oil

1/ 4 tsp. tea tree oil

Now for the fun part…. Instructions

Combine the water and chamomile in a saucepan. Cover. Simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the chamomile from the tea. Compost the used chamomile. Pour the remaining ingredients into the tea. Stir gently. Pour into a recycled or purchased shampoo bottle. Gently shake the ingredients in the bottle before applying to wet hair when shampooing. This is a low-suds, easy-to-rinse formula. If you want to use it for children, substitute a no-tears baby shampoo for the castile soap.

 

More ideas for your chamomile:

Where to buy chamomile:  Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co

Tips on growing chamomile:  Smart Gardener  (they have a really fun garden planning app too!)

Homemade Chamomile Hand and Body Lotion from My Green Family

I love this recipe…  Homemade Chamomile Lotion

Homemade Tincture of Chamomile

Chamomile Tincture

 

Resources:

Mann, C. and E.J. Staba. In Herbs, Spices, and Medicinal Plants: Recent Advances in Botany, Horticulture, and Pharmacology, edited by L.E. Craker       and  J.E. Simon, 1:235-280, Phoenix, Arizona, Oryx Press, 1986.

Der Marderosian, A. and L. Liberti. Natural Product Medicine: A Scientific Guide to Foods, Drugs, Cosmetics. Philadelphia, George F. Stickley Co, 1988.

Bratianu, Patricia; Schwontkowski, Dr. Donna (2014-04-18). How to Benefit from Everyday Herbs – A Beginner’s Guide to Homemade Natural Herbal Remedies for Common Ailments & Good Health