Latin Name: Chamomilla recutita syn. Matricaria Chamomilla
Common names: Chamomile, camomile, Scented mayweed, Chamomilla, German Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, wild chamomile, Corn feverfew,
Family: Asteraceae or Compositae
TCM name: Haung Chu Ju
Native Region: Southern and Eastern Europe
Geographic Distribution: Asia, Australia, Europe, India, New Zealand, North and South America.
Botanical Description: Chamomile is a low-growing, self-seeding flowering annual. (Some species like Roman chamomile are known to be perennial) Most species’ flowers grow as a single flower head, although some types of roman chamomile are known to produce double flower heads. The delicate white ray petals are arranged in a circular pattern around a bright yellow disk flower center. The flower heads grow from a hairy upright, branching stalk among feathery light green leaves. Roman Chamomile has a more parsley like leave shape. The entire plant has a wonderful aroma and sweet taste that reminds many of apples and/or pineapples.
Parts used: Flower Heads and new growth leaves.
Gardening Guidelines: All species like full sun to part shade, moderate water and well drained soil. They can be grown in clay, sandy or acidic soil. They grow well in zones 3-8. In the spring sow seeds 8-10 inches apart, directly where you want them to grow. Since it is known to jump around a bit plants should be thin out as needed. Chamomile can grow up to 3 feet high in perfect conditions and they should bloom well into the summer. Once your plant goes to seed, it will start to die off, you can replace the bald spot in your garden or allow it to self seed for an autumn harvest. They can continue to self seed for multiple years. Chamomile plants do not enjoy very hot summers but could flower less when planted in partly shaded areas. Regular flower head harvest encourages more blossom growth. Chamomile pairs well with roses and catnip. Place chamomile near sick plants to help them return and maintain health. Try water young plants with cooled chamomile tea to help them take root. Chamomile grows well in containers, nooks, crannies and corners. As a creeping plant they often are used as ground cover or walkway boarders. When walked on or crushed they release a calming sweet aroma. The wonderful sweet apple-like scent attracts bees and other pollinators.
Harvesting Guidelines: Best harvested in mid morning after the morning dew has evaporated from the foliage and flower heads. Gather the newer growth and flowers as petals start to turn back pushing the yellow center outward but before the white rays brown or wilt. Harvesting flower heads will encourage more blooms.
Constituents: Coumarins, Flavonoids (rutin), glycosides, sesquiterpenes, salicylates, cyanogenic, tannins, quercetin, volatile oils (proazulenes), alerianic acid
Taste: Bitter, Sweet, Apple-like
Uses: Chamomile herbal tea was used for many centuries as a cure all. Today it is still a favorite go to for irritability, hypersensitivity to pain, digestive ailments, Sleeplessness, fever, oral health, women’s health, earaches, migraines, gout, rheumatic pains and it is a perfect herb for children to use. Breathing in chamomile infused steam may scale down hay-fever, mild asthma or headaches symptoms.
Digestive health: Chamomile tea soothes upset stomachs, gas, diarrhea, colic and cramping. Daily use of tea or tincture can improve IBS symptoms.
Mental health: The use of chamomile herb and/or essential oil can be helpful to calm nerves, anxiety, hyperactivity, irritability, anger and temper tantrums. (Lockie. 46) When paired with other nervines or sedatives it can reduce mild symptoms of depression. (eg. passionflower, catnip, and/or lavender) Sweeten chamomile tea with honey to relieve shock.
Sleep health: Through chamomile’s calming properties it is a popular sleep helper. The use of herbs and essential oils can help induce sleep in restless minds. Use for insomnia, restlessness, sleeplessness and for quality of sleep.
Oral health: Toothache and teething pain can be reduced with a chamomile mouth wash, tea or tincture. Gargling chamomile preparations can promotes the recovery of gum disease, mouth inflammations or sore throats. (Steel. 80)
Women’s Health: Through the use of chamomile’s antispasmodic properties you can calm menstrual pains. Not only will it soothe cramping, it can also help with lessening emotional PMS symptoms. Add chamomile in your bath or use a cooled infusion as a rinse to alleviate vaginal itching and irritation.
The use of chamomile infusions during pregnancy may help with morning sickness, improve sleep and strengthening uterine tissues. Chamomile can be used after labor as well. “Clupeper the 17th century English Herbalist, advocated chamomile for strengthening the uterus especially after an arduous labor.”( Lockie 46) Drinking chamomile tea will assist with relieving postpartum symptoms by soothing nerves, calming stress and tension, increase quality of sleep and reduces breast feeding issues. (Lockie 262) New mothers can find pain relief by placing chamomile compresses on sore or raw nipples.
Infants and children: Chamomile is one of herbalist’s favorite herbs to use with common childhood aliments. With the correct dosage you can use chamomile to settle tiny tummies from gas, colic, cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. As well as hush irritability, temper-tantrums and hyperactivity in fussy little minds. Chamomile is a healthy way to improve your child’s sleep when they are suffering from sleeplessness. It can also be used to pacify fever, earache and teething pain. Ingesting chamomile while breastfeeding can be one way to introduce chamomile’s wonderful properties to infants.
Beauty and skin: Chamomile can subdue painful sunburn, insect bites and stings. As a tea or salve you can utilize it to diminish inflammation and itching of eczema, rashes or dry skin. Lotions, salves and ointments made with chamomile herb or essential oil can promote healthy skin cell growth in wounds and abrasions.
You can also lighten hair with the use of Chamomile tea by using it to rinse hair or as a leave in spray. The sun helps to speed up results.
Magical uses: Leo, Sun, water, Throat chakra, money, love, peace, tranquility, purification, increases luck.
Preparations: Use herb fresh or dry, Infused oils, Tincture, Tea, Steams, Bath soak, Salve
Dosage: All dosages provided are formulated for adult use unless specified differently. Always make sure you are using correct dosages for infants and children.
- Tincture: 1-4ml, 1:5 in 40%, 3 times daily
- Tea: 2-3 teaspoons, Steeped in 8 oz of water for 10 minutes, 3-4 times a day
- Steams: 2 tsp flowers or 5 drops of essential oil in pot of steaming water.
- Bath soak: 4-5 drops of essential oil to bath; 1 cup of infusion to babies bath or ½ cup dried herb to bath water. (Place loose herbs in a mesh bag or mismatched sock to alleviate free floating herbs)
Safety: Use caution with German Chamomile when taking contraceptive drugs, estrogen pills or other medications that pass through the liver, sedative medications and blood thinners. Always dilute essential oils and perform a skin test when first trying new products. Chamomile may cause contact dermatitis in some people. May want to avoid use if allergic to other plants in the Compositae family.
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