CHAMOMILE

Matricaria chamomilla 

Part/s Used:  Flowers
Energetics: Cooling, bitter, sweet, pungent in aromatics, astringent 
Actions: Nervine, sedative, carminative, tonic, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, anti inflammatory, analgesic, vulnerary

Medicinal Preparations:

Tincture: Fresh: 1:3 or 1:4  Dry (ratio & % alcohol): 1:5 or 1:6 60%
Drops: 20-90   Times a day: 4x

Glycerite: 1:3  Glycerin: 60%  Alcohol: 40%
Drops:10-60   Times a day: Up to 3x


Tea:  Hot/cold infusion    Ounces: 4-8   Times a day: up to 4x

Habitat:

Chamomile is an aromatic herb that can be found on all continents and an old favorite in the medicinal garden.  It likes full sun and dry, light, well-drained soil.  It’s an easy herb to grow and the bright white flowers are more abundant, potent and aromatic when grown in less rich soil.  Seeds can be sown directly into the ground in early spring.

Medicinal Uses:

Chamomile is gentle and safe herb for everyone, yet potent and effective.  A versatile herb to have in the home apothecary.

Chamomilla is an excellent nervine. It is a soporific and a mild sedative for most people. It is helpful in treating insomnia, usually just a cup of tea will be effective but some may have to use it more concentrated (3-4 tbsp dried chamomile to 1 pint; drink early in the evening, and the tincture before sleep).  It is an anxiolytic and calms the central nervous system overall.

Chamomile is a good herb for hyper and needy children.  Agitated children who don’t want to be put down or have fevers from teething.  It is a cooing diaphoretic.  If they won’t drink the tea (too bitter), prepare tea for the bath instead.  For children over 2 make a chamomile infused honey to have on hand for upset stomachs.  Chamomile soothes stress and inner anger, overwhelming personalities of all ages and even aggressive pets.

Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory and can reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, tendonitis, carpool tunnel, or achy painful muscles.  It’s helpful for relieving tension in the neck and back.  Drink the tea and apply a poultice for tension headaches or digestive related headaches from inflaming foods.

Chamomile is an effective herb for the upper and lower GI tract.  It soothes acute and chronic irritation from inflamed conditions and nerve related digestive disorders such as IBS and crohn's.  Chamomile is a bitter and carminative that increases the overall efficiency of digestion.  It increases digestive secretions and is a coating demulcent that doesn’t cause excess acid.  Drinking a small amount of bitter aperitif before a meal or a cup of tea after is highly beneficial.  For stress related digestive problems, chamomile is a great herb to start with.  It is a smooth muscle antispasmodic useful in digestive cramping or acute menstrual cramping as well.

Chamomilla is a vulnerary herb that speeds up healing for internal and external skin tissue.  Use for eczema, acne, dermatitis, poison oak, abrasions, sprains and strains.  The tea bags can be used topically too.  A strong infusion can be used as a mouthwash for gingivitis. 

Chamomile can intensify the dream state and can be incorporated into dream pillows with herbs like lavender, and hops.

Beauty:

Chamomile is perfect for dry, flaky, over sensitive, fragile, irritated and damaged skin.  It is calming, soothing and softening.  Makes an excellent floral facial steam (1/2 cup flowers boiled in 2 liters of water) and excellent for dark circles around the eyes.  Chamomile hair rinse promotes healthy hair growth by correcting issues with scalp inflammation.  It combines nicely with calendula to accentuate highlights in light hair and a sheen to dark hair while conditioning and softening. 

Harvesting:

Harvest the dainty flower heads in summer, in the early afternoon, after the dew has dried. Dry with care as they are sensitive to heat.  The whole plant can be used but the quality is centered around the flower heads.

Projects:

Dream pillows, hair rinse, floral facial steam, aperitif, digestif, tea bath

Contraindications: 

Avoid if sensitive or allergic to the Asteraceae family.  Test on arms before consuming. 

 

Sources:
Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar
Northwest School for Botanical Studies by Christa Sinadinos
Herbal and Facial Boot Camp by Alice Duvernell at The Nova Studio
Medicinal Herbs of the Pacific West by Michael Moore
The Complete Herbs Sourcebook by David Hoffmann
The Book of Herbal Wisdom by Matthew Wood