German Chamomile • Matricaria chamomilla
Pineapple Weed / Wild Chamomile • M. matricarioides
Chamomile is a well known and much - loved herb. Its fame dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who used it in sacred ceremonies.
The ancient Greeks called it ground - apple because of its pleasant, apple - like aroma. Chamomile was strewn on the floors during the Middle Ages to create a pleasant scent. Known as maythen to the Anglo - Saxons, chamomile was one of their nine sacred herbs.
Hildegard of Bingen used chamomile to relieve stomach ailments. A fine tonic for the digestive system, a cup of warm chamomile tea taken an hour before mealtime stimulates the appetite. The elderly, and those dealing with AIDS - take note.
Chamomile’s antispasmodic properties help relax intestinal cramps, giving it a well deserved reputation as “just the thing” for babies with colic. I use a teaspoon or two of chamomile tea in a bottle or dropper. A larger dose for adults, 1-2 cups of tea, can allay nausea and irritable bowel syndrome. Chamomile tea also counters indigestion, heartburn, and sluggish bowel movement. Germans call it mutter’s - kruat, mother’s herb. Nursing mothers enjoy a cup before breast - feeding.
Chamomile is also highly regarded as an emmenagogue. It helps bring on late menses, regulates menstruation, and eases menopausal discomforts. Chamomile is an exemplary remedy for those dealing with uterine cramping or congestion.
When I feel stressed, tense uptight, or nervous, I sip a cup of chamomile tea. It calms and soothes those jangled nerves. Wound -up children relax quite nicely after a cup (or two). Fresh or dried chamomile flowers make a wonderfully relaxing bath herb, especially for babies.
Inuit Eskimos used pineapple weed flowers in herbal steams to relieve lung congestion. Cheyenne chewed them for endurance, the Crow for their aroma. Flathead Indians treated all female disorders with pineapple weed, including menstrual cramps. It was also used to help deliver the placenta after birth.
Chamomile flowers make an excellent hair rinse for light - colored hair, and a muscle - relaxing massage oil with a pleasant scent. Chamomile oil gives excellent results applied to eczema, allergic skin eruptions and hypersensitive skin.
Well-strained chamomile tea put directly in the eyes remedies conjunctivitis (pink eye) and eyestrain. I put 5 - 10 drops of the tincture into a cup of warm water and use it a few drops at a time.
Chamomile is a good choice to help bring down fever. Ancient Egyptians used it for this and clinical studies concur: chamomile can lower body temperature by 3-3.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chamomile offers an abundance of nerve soothing niacin, and high levels of magnesium, phosphorus, riboflavin, and sodium. It also provides calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, silicon, and vitamin C. Among chamomile’s other constituents are volatile oil, chamazulene, flavonoids, rutin, valerian acid, coumarone, tannins, calculates, and glycosides. Chamazulene is intensely blue, crystalline, and an excellent anti-inflammatory agent.
Chamomile flowers are delicate. Steep dried blossoms ten minutes for tea. Only thirty minutes of brewing makes a full strength medicinal infusion. A cup or two of dried chamomile infusion, sipped slowly, is the recommended dosage.
Often used in ceremonies that honor the sun, such as summer solstice, chamomile is a sunny protector of any area. Sprinkle chamomile flowers over newborn babes to bless them with a sunny disposition. Old wives say chamomile flowers in a magic bag guarantees the success of your endeavor.
Chamomile flower essence restores calm after emotional upset, relieves tension in the “gut,” and helps one cultivate a serene disposition. It can help reverse hyperactivity in children.
Pineapple weed , or wild chamomile, grows abundantly all over North America, especially in well - traveled areas. It grows 6 - 8 inches high with short, bright green, yarrow -like leaves topped with little golden buttons (usually lacking little white petals) that smell like pineapple when crushed,
German chamomile, called the physician of plants, is supposed to keep nearby plants healthy. It is easy to grow. Chamomile seeds are very tiny, so distribute them lightly and press them in. Chamomile grows quickly, making a beautiful low bright green carpet followed by a flower - laden paradise.
Pick the white - petaled German chamomile flowers as they appear, and dry them quickly on screens to maintain the healing energies. I place newspaper under my screens to catch all the seeds that fall through. The fresh flowers can be infused in oil or honey, but should not be used for tea. Use dry flowers for teas.