Ahh…..chamomile!!! This is the perfect herbal tea for just about everyone and every occasion. Nothing can be as relaxing as a cup of this fragrant flower, perfectly brewed. And for those of you love milk in your tea, here’s a caffeine-free herbal tea that tastes delicious with milk. I never knew how much I gained from my evening cup, but I always heard that it was good to drink a cup before bed. With it’s all-purpose healing power, it’s incredible that chamomile is safe enough even for babies!
When I was a teenager, I would make chamomile tea rinse for my hair in order to get my blond highlights. I would let the tea dry on my hair in the sun for best results.
But the most value I got out of chamomile happened many years ago, when daughter was 6. She developed asthma. Not just wheezing, but serious and life-threatening asthma. Her chest was caved in and she couldn’t expand her lungs enough to pull in a breath. My husband brought her to the hospital, where they gave her pharmaceutical inhalers containing steroids. After the incident, we were instructed to keep her on the inhalers by the doctors.
Over the course of a year, the side effects from the harsh medicine was causing acne on her young face, and the asthma attacks became more frequent. We decided to try to wean her off of the drugs. Every time she developed asthmatic symptoms, I gave her special salts plus the steam of chamomile to inhale, unless it became very bad. (I remember the sleepless nights sitting by her side!) Little by little, the asthma attacks weakened, so that finally I never had to reach for that steroid inhaler again. I continued with the natural remedies for about the next seven years, until her asthma finally subsided.
Chamomile grows wild everywhere in Poland, and I love to go out collecting the tiny flower heads to dry for winter tea. It’s nice to have a cup of flowers in dark December, but when I run out of my own in January, I go for my trusted brand available at just about every grocery store.
Chamomile, Matricaria recutita L., or German chamomile, is one of the most popular tisanes. Since the time of ancient Rome, it has been taken for digestive problems. But the list of benefits are so many, and the side effects so few, that it has a wide application.
- Anti allergenic
- Mild Anti-inflammatory
- Angiogenesis activity
- Easing Irritability in Children
- Gas & Bloating
- Seasonal Allergies
- Mouthwash for Gingivitis, & Plaque
- Arthritis and Rheumatic Pain
- IBS, Chron’s Disease
- Menstrual Pain & PMS
- Post-partum Depression
- Common cold
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Winding down for sleep
- Anxiety and Nervous
- Chamomile is gentle and valuable for treating nervous conditions. It lowers stress, relaxes the body, and is used for insomnia.
- Studies have shown that chamomile improves the glycemic index in diabetes.
- PMS and Postpartum Depression
- It is beneficial for women who suffer depression and insomnia following childbirth, as well as reduce inflammation and muscle spasms of menstrual pain.
- The tea can be taken for seasonal allergies, as long one is not specifically allergic to plants in the daisy family.
- In animal studies, chamomile has shown to prevent cell mutations.
- The antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of chamomile assist the functionality of the immune system.
- Digestive tract
- It has been shown effective for a wide range of digestive issues, including nausea, acidity, stomach ulcers, gas & bloating, diarrhea, constipation.
- It helps to develop new blood vessels, which can be beneficial to dementia, for example.
- Lowers cholesterol
- It improves the circulatory system and protects the heart.
- It reduces pain and swelling for problems such as mouth ulcers, joint pain, and eczema.
The only warning I have only found with chamomile is that people who are allergic to plants from the daisy family should avoid the herb. With all these great benefits, we should be drinking it every day!
To make an infusion or tisane, add 1 chamomile teabag to a cup, add 2/3 cup of boiling water, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain or remove teabag. Suggested use to gain the benefits is 2-3 cups per day. Only give small amounts to children and babies.
To make a gargle or mouth wash, prepare the infusion, adding salt, if needed, for a sore throat. Strain or remove teabag then let it cool. Gargle or rinse as often as needed.
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, Andrew Chevallier, DK publishing