Chamomile; What you Should Know

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There are almost as many types of chamomile as there are ways to spell it.  Spanish, Wild, German, Italian are just a few of the chamomiles you may run across.  The two main types are German and Roman which are slightly different species.  Both types have similar properties but one will be more useful than the other in certain situations.

GERMAN CHAMOMILE

This type of chamomile is good for treating:

  • Peptic ulcer
  • Inflammation
  • Spasms
  • Gas
  • Infection
  • Pain

 

In addition German Chamomile is antimicrobial, tones the alimentary canal and cleans wounds.

While chamomile is most well known for its calming properties, the German version is only mildly effective for this use.  Chamomile of any kind should be either avoided or only consumed in a single cup per day maximum while pregnant.

The antiseptic and antimicrobial properties make it an excellent treatment for open sores and wounds.  Steeping chamomile in oil, making a salve or even steeping a strong tea to use as a wash will assist in cleaning the wound and preventing infection.

Chamomile tea works to calm ulcers by easing inflammation, reduces stress through its calming effects and can even ease the pain.

 

ROMAN CHAMOMILE

The actions of Roman Chamomile are somewhat the same as the German version and include slightly different benefits.  The benefits include:

  • Tranquilizer
  • Antispasmodic
  • Analgesic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Carminative

The tranquilizing effect of chamomile tea is mild but very effective for those days when everything makes you cranky, everything is just too much, everything is wrong.  It is an excellent tea for PMS. 

For babies taking a drop of chamomile essential oil and placing it on their nose will help calm them.  If the baby has gas try ¼ cup of room temperature chamomile tea.  It will dissipate the gas and calm the baby.

Studies have shown that small quantities of chamomile oil will inhibit staphylococcal and streptococcal strains of bacteria.

The anti-spasmodic effects of chamomile make it a great treatment for menstrual cramps.  This combined with its calming nature makes chamomile a specific for Menstrual complaints.

Last but far from least chamomile tea at bedtime can help you sleep.  For those that have suffered from this condition keep this in mind.  Drinking chamomile tea will not overcome your belief that nothing will help you sleep.  Simply drink the tea and try not to over-think the results.  Laying awake thinking “it isn’t working yet will exacerbate the situation.  Just enjoy the relaxing effect and let it work its magic.

Chamomile has been treated as a weed by gardeners because it grows anywhere and everywhere.  I knew someone that used to harvest it from between the cracks in the sidewalk!  While I would not recommend this harvesting method, chamomile will grow quite well in a pot.  The key is to remember it does grow like a weed and it will plant itself.  For the best results without having it take over your garden, simply keep it in a container.  Harvest it when it begins to flower and dry the flowers.  That is all it takes. It is easy and well worth having some around

Reference: Bartram Thomas, Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Marlowe & Company New York