What is Chamomile? Chamomile is an herb that has been used for thousands of years for many ailments including gas, diarrhea, stomach upset, sleeplessness, and anxiety. It can also be used topically for certain skin lesions.
Chamomile was around for a long time before many over the counter and prescription medications were so readily available.
For years all many people had to rely on was herbal remedies that were likely passed down from generations and possibly continued to be passed down even after the newer medications did come to the forefront.
The Chamomile plant has flowering tops and these are what are used for making tea and other herbal remedies that include Chamomile.
Common Names: Chamomile, German chamomile
Latin Name: Matricaria recutita, Chamomilla recutita
How Chamomile Is Used
The flowers are used to make teas, liquid extracts, capsules and tablets. Chamomile is also used a lot in topical creams and ointments and even as a mouth rinse.
Chamomile produces an oil that when isolated turns a very unique bluish color and this has very distinct anti-inflammatory properties.
What Is Chamolile Used For?
When Chamomile tops are stewed and then drained, the liquid is a deep yellow color and can be lightly sweetened if preferred. It has a very unique taste to it and many women used to make sure they always had a few baby bottles tucked safely away in the refrigerator in case their baby got gas.
It was used before the days of over the counter gas relief drops and although there is no scientific validity to it, it always seemed to make the baby stop crying and fall asleep.
It was also given to women for menstrual cramps in the days before Midol and Pamprin. Chamomile is also reported to have calming properties, therefore it can be very beneficial to sip on throughout the day if you are feeling anxious or if the muscles in your body are tense from anxiety and stress. It is said that Chamomile can help to relieve that.
Some people love to sip a hot cup of Chamomile tea with no ailments at all, just because they enjoy it. Pregnant and nursing mothers are advised to stay away from all herbs but Chamomile is the exception to this rule.
It is completely safe for anyone to drink at any time. It has even been known to help teething babies too.
Chamomile Ointment and Cream:
The anti-inflammatory properties of Chamomile make is a very popular topical treatment. It has been known to work very well on skin infections, rashes, eczema and inflamed skin.
Often when small children had bug bites, diaper rashes, or eczema, the mother would fill a stocking with Chamomile and oatmeal and let it soak in the tub with her children. It was very effective in stopping the itch and improving the diaper rash. Chamomile was also used in combination with other herbs for a lot of other purposes such as if one felt nauseous, a combination of Chamomile, shredded licorice root, fennel seeds, and peppermint would cure that pretty quickly.
On a final note Chamomile has been known to be an excellent hair conditioner and to sooth scalps. When mixed with a bit of lemon and sunshine it has also been known to give subtle natural highlights to hair.
Chamomile Side Effects and Cautions
- There have been reports of people having allergic reactions to Chamomile. Allergic reactions can include skin rashes, throat swelling, shortness of breath, and also anaphylaxis – which is a serious and sometime life-threatening allergic reaction.
- Those who are allergic to related plants of the daisy faily such as marigolds, daisies and chrysanthemums will be more likely to have an allergic reaction to Chamomile.
- Because Chamomile is part of the Ragweed family you should not ingest it if you have an allergy to Ragweed.
What the Science Says
Chamomile has not been well studied in people so there is little evidence to support its use for any condition.
Some early studies point to chamomile’s possible benefits for certain skin conditions and for mouth ulcers caused by chemotherapy or radiation.
In combination with other herbs, chamomile may be of some benefit for upset stomach, for diarrhea in children, and for infants with colic.
NCCAM-funded research includes studies of chamomile for generalized anxiety disorder and abdominal pain caused by children’s bowel disorders.
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