Chamomile, Matricaria recutita, that sweet little flower that makes us think of tea and grandmothers. As the seasons change and we enter the quieter, more inward-focused seasons of Fall & Winter, it can be difficult to switch gears and get ourselves to slooooow dooooown - hence the inspiration for this installment of the Herbal Update.
Chamomile is a low growing flowering perennial that is hardy through zone 5, (though it grows well in PA too). Its leaves are fern-like and frilly, the flower small and white with a yellow center (think teensy daisy), and the scent of the live plant is summer at its best - crisp, clean and apple-like. A lovely addition to any border in your garden.
Chamomile is one of the oldest and most relied upon herbs throughout modern and ancient history. Chamomile Flowers have been used in tea to calm the nerves, induces sleep, relieve hysteria, gout, gripe, upset stomach, diarrhea, flatulence, headache, and the list goes on and on. In fact, Chamomile was used as a medicine by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans and its name derives from the Greek chamos (ground) and melos (apple). It has been planted in English gardens and walks for centuries, and is even said to help revive sick plants if planted next to one.
Current research has confirmed the plant's usefulness in treating minor abrasions, cuts, and scrapes, and as a sedative and sleep aid. The plant contains chemicals that are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitic. It also stops spasms in the smooth muscles lining the stomach and intestines. The flower is the most used part of the plant, as the beneficial components are concentrated in the flower center. Chamomile flowers are commonly brewed as tea after a stressful day, when one is under the weather, or if you are having trouble sleeping. Combined with ginger, the tea is also used for aiding digestion. The essential oil of chamomile is also extremely beneficial. This blue oil is particularly abundant in the anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral chemicals and is often to treat minor cuts and scrapes. At Una Biologicals we include Chamomile oil in all of our Wonder Salves.
Chamomile is known to be safe without harmful side effects. It is however, a member the Ragweed family and may react with those who have extreme sensitivities to the Ragweed family. And of course, herbs of all types are serious medicine and you should always consult your physician before using them.
Happy Fall to you all! And I hope you take advantage of these herbal allies who can help you make a smooth transition to the depth & wisdom of these quieter months :-)
**THIS INFORMATION IS SHARED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. UNA BIOLOGICALS DOES NOT DISTRIBUTE MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE USING HERBS!***