Herb of the Month – Chamomile
June 1, 2013
Matricaria Chamomilla/Recutita (chamomile)
German, or wild, Chamomile is a common herb that grows abundantly throughout North America and Europe. With its numerous white and yellow-centred flowers, feathery leaves and light pleasant fragrance it is a favourite among bees and insects. It’s also one of my favourite herbs and, even though it’s labelled a “weed” in the area where I live, I encourage it to grow in my garden so that I can literally reap the benefits.
There are a number of different varieties of Chamomile, including Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) and pineapple chamomile (has a strong fragrance and the flowers never develop white rays; instead they look like miniature pineapple buds) which are also employed in herbal medicine.
Traditionally, Chamomile has been used in folk medicine to alleviate numerous conditions related to the nervous system.
- Provides excellent support for the nervous system, especially in the presence of stress and tension. It can help to ease headaches and sleeplessness the result from stressful and worrisome situations, gently calming without depressing.
- It also helps alleviate stress in the digestive system, thereby making it very effective for conditions such as nervous stomach or nervous diarrhea.
- It is especially useful for all children’s conditions, including teething, colic, fever management (for adults as well), and general restless conditions.
- It is helpful during menstruation to ease period pains and during menopause to ease tension.
- Topically chamomile is healing and soothing to the skin, especially for itchy, dry, scaling skin such as dermatitis or eczema and other rashes. It can be applied as a lotion, cream, or poultice.
- Tea: 1-3 cups daily.
- Tincture: 50-100 drops, 1-3 times daily
A strong infusion of Chamomile tea makes an excellent final rinse for blonde hair (it has a lightening effect when used over time). Simply make a very strong tea (use about 2 tablespoons of the flowers to 1 1/2 cups boiled water; steep until cold), strain out the herb and rinse through hair after all shampoo/conditioner has been rinsed out.
To really bring out brightness and shine, add the juice of 1/2-1 whole lemon (strained) and dry your hair outside in the sunshine. Note: avoid lemon if hair and scalp tend to be very dry, as lemon has a drying effect. It’s excellent for oily scalp though!