HOME: Health, Beauty and Home Uses for Chamomile
A month or so ago, I posted about a great tonic from Jerry Baker that worked wonders on white powder mildew on plants. The active ingredient was chamomile. I began thinking this week as I tallied how often I use chamomile for various things, and came to the conclusion that chamomile is a pretty amazing little flower. I grow chamomile off the deck in a window box. The seeds sow themselves, so they have come back yearly. I use the flowers to dry and make tea with, like my Nonna did in Italy. Roman chamomile grows wild in the Italian hills, and many Italians harvest it for home remedy teas. I grew up as a child being given chamomile tea when we had the flu or had stomach upset. My mother also recommended it during the "time of the month" to ease discomfort. I noticed even a very gentle, powdered version for babies when in Italy with my baby daughter. All you needed to add is spring water to it in a bottle and it helped to relieve a baby's stomach upset. I bought a couple boxes to bring back to America (you can't find it here) and I found it did help soothe my daughter if she was gassy or crampy. We now call it "tummy tea" for her, and if she has stomach aches, a small cup of that makes her feel better. I also brew a small sauce pan's worth every 4 months to do a facial steam. I put a towel over my head over the steam and let the steam clean out my pours for 5 minute increments. As you can see, chamomile is a mighty tea in our home. After doing a little research, I discovered why all these remedies were tied to chamomile since the middle ages! Chamomile, at it's heart, is an anti-inflammatory, among other things.
SO it seems that whether you ingest it or use it topically, it calms, soothes and brings inflammation down. It also has calming substances that act in various parts of the brain to relieve stress and anxiety, allowing muscles to relax. This explains it's uses as a "before bed", calming tea.
Here is a laundry list I compiled from various sources to give you ideas on how you, too, can use chamomile to heal things more naturally:
Health and Beauty:
-as a tea, used for lumbago, rheumatic problems and rashes
-as a salve, used for hemorrhoids and wounds
-as a vapor, used to alleviate cold symptoms or asthma (Inhaling a strong infusion helps clear up phlegm because it reduces inflammation in mucous tissue, or even two or three drops of essential oil in warm water left in a room overnight helps bad nasal mucus while sleeping)
-relieve restlessness, teething problems, and colic in children
-relieve allergies, much as an antihistamine would
-aid in digestion when taken as a tea after meals
-relieve morning sickness during pregnancy
-speed healing of skin ulcers, wounds, or minor burns such as sunburns
-soothe skin rashes, including eczema (Used as a lotion or added in oil form to a cool bath, chamomile may ease the itching of eczema and other rashes and reduces skin inflammation. or Five drops of essential oil added to ¼ cup witch hazel is good for eczema or any other skin condition.)
-reduce inflammation and facilitate bowel movement without acting directly as a purgative
-be used as a wash or compress for skin problems and inflammations, including inflammations of mucous tissue
-promote general relaxation and relieve stress
-add a strong infusion to baby's bath to encourage sleep
-help to relieve nausea, heartburn, and stress-related flatulence
-may also be useful in the treatment of inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn's disease, gastritis and ulcerative colitis
-may also speed healing and prevent bacterial infection.
-treat eye inflammation and infection. (Cooled chamomile tea bag can be used in a compress to help soothe tired, irritated eyes and it may even help treat conjunctivitis. Five to ten drops of tincture added to warm water makes a good bath for conjunctivitis. )
-heal mouth sores and prevent gum disease. (A chamomile mouthwash or tea bag compresses may help soothe mouth inflammations and keep gums healthy.)
-soothes sore feet and muscles (Makes a relaxing bath or foot-bath)
-known to lighten fair hair and bring out it's highlights (Make a rinse by simmering 2 teaspoons dried flowers in 8 ounces of water for 15 minutes.)
-makes a great hand soak and will soften and whiten the skin as well
In the Garden:
-gardeners have also been known to utilize the plant as a liquid feed and as a tonic which is effective at stopping a number of plant diseases, such as powdery white mildew (http://www.urbandomesticdiva.com/2010/04/gardening-chamomile-against-white.html)
-the essential oil from the German Chamomile also is effective at controlling mites
-a strong infusion on growing seedlings to prevent the soil fungal disease called "damping off"
-planting it in areas of your garden benefit other plants, and even can be grown on walkways and in between pavers and can be mowed regularly, like grass
In the Home:
-makes nice mild scented potpourri (dry flowers face down and place in a bowl
-great moth repellent-make sachets out of dried chamomile flowers to put in you closets and sweater drawer
-makes a great room refresher. Make a decoction (strong tea) of chamomile and lavender strain and cool. Then pour into a spray bottle and keep handy for daily room revitalization! Great for the bedroom or baby's room.
Credits:http://www.frontiercoop.comhttp://www.aroma-essence.com http://www.gardenguides.comhttp://www.superbherbs.net http://www.herbwisdom.com