Scientific Name: Anthemis nobilis, Matricaria chamomilla, Anthemis cotula - Compositae Family
AKA: Camomile, Common Chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile, Wild Chamomile, Dog-Fennel, Maruta Cotula, Manzanilla (Spanish), Maythen (Saxon), Mayweed, Dog Chamomile, Maruta Foetida, German Chamomile, Chammoniles, Stinking Chamomile
Parts Used: Capitula – flower heads
Active Compounds: Volatile oil, anthemic acid (bitter), tannic acid, and a glucoside.
Animal studies (except those involving cats) have found Chamomile to . The monoterpenes also help with coughs.
Background: One of the most loved and most used herbs throughout history is the Chamomile flower. Its name comes from the Greek “kamai melon” meaning “ground apple” due to its apple-like fragrance. Beatrix Potter in 1902 wrote of a healing Chamomile tea given to the feverish Peter Rabbit by his mother. Early Egyptians revered the herb for its effectiveness in curing the chills caused by malaria, or agues.
Greek physician Dioscorides (first century A.D.) and Roman naturalist Pliny (23 AD) both advocated Chamomile baths and warm poultices for relief of liver, bladder and kidney disorders as well as headaches. Chamomiles were also used to refresh the air in a time when bathing was infrequent at best. Stems were strewn on the floor where they would release a pleasant fragrance when stepped on. The yellow Chamomile flower has been used to flavor Manzanilla sherry in Spain, highlight blonde hair color, and repel insects.
Many different types of Chamomile grow throughout Europe, Southern Asia and North Africa, but two varieties are most sought after for their gentle healing and calming properties: German Chamomile, and Roman or Common Chamomile.
Antibiotic: Used to treat many minor illnesses and reduce fevers. Tincture is used to treat diarrhea in children. Chamomile’s effectiveness against infection is reported to be 120 times more powerful than salt water.
Anti-inflammatory: Eternally used to reduce swelling and inflammatory discomfort, congested neuralgia, or facial swelling caused by abscesses.
Antispasmodic: Reduces indigestion and menstrual cramps. Also used to induce menstruation.
Other uses: Sedative, calms nerves, prevents nightmares, stimulates appetite and digestion, eases gout and headache, diuretic, eases delirium tremens
Common or Roman Chamomile, first known as Anthemis nobilis and now called Chamaemelum nobile, is a cultivated perennial growing up to 9 inches in height. Historically used as a ground cover on walkways, stepping on the plant helps propagate it. German or Wild Chamomile, Matricaria recutitia is a 2 to 3 foot tall annual, and is not as fragrant as its Roman cousin.
Both plants have daisy shaped blossoms, gray-green feathery leaves covered with down, and a flavor and scent reminiscent of apples. Roman Chamomile bears twin blossoms and prefers dry, sandy soil. The German variety thrives in rich, moist loam and produces single flowers, considered more potent than their twin cousin. Both strains of Chamomile bloom from late spring through late summer. To harvest Chamomile for teas, cut and dry the flowers when the petals shrink from the flower center.
Infusion: Hot – 1 ounce of flowers to 2 cups of boiling water, cover and allow to stand for 10 minutes before straining. Cold – ˝ ounce of flowers to 2 cups of water. Administer freely in doses of 1 teaspoon. Concentrated - 4 ounces of powdered flowers in 2 cups of water, used with oil of Chamomile and alcohol. Used as a stoma chic to aid digestion, 2 to 7.5 milliliters given 3 times daily.
Tincture: Chamomile is effective for diarrhea in children.
Extract: Take 2 to 4 milliliters. Combine amounts up to 1 gram with myrrh and prepared iron to make a pill for use as a strong tonic.
Decoction: Combine 10 units of Chamomile flowers with 5 units of Poppy heads, crushed, in 100 units of mineral-free water. Apply as a hot compress to abscesses.
Poultice: Place Chamomile flower heads in a cloth bag and soak thoroughly in boiling water. Use to reduce swelling of inflamed tissues.
Oil: Take ˝ to 3 drops (B.P. dose)
Single flowers of the German Chamomile contain an alkali so potent that it can harm the tissues of the stomach and bowels. Due to this fact, the British Pharmacopoeia advises use of the cultivated, twin flowers.
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