Scientific Name:Maticaria Recutita
About this Herb:Chamomile is a herbaceous, annual and hibernating plant that originates from south-eastern Europe, but has now spread to all continents. Its scientific name “Matcaria” is derived from the Latin word “mater” meaning mother. This suggests that medicinal uses of this plant are generally associated with women's diseases and health. This plant can be found growing along roadsides, in fields and uncultivated areas.
The Chamomile stem can grow as tall as 60 cm and it is ramified at its base. Each branch of the Chamomile develops flowers. The hermaphrodite flowers blooms from May until late August. The delicate blooms have a pleasant flavor. It is best to harvest the flowers at noon, before they mature. For conservation, lay out to dry in a thin layer in a dry and shady place. Once dry they can be placed in a paper bag.
Common Names:Garden Chamomile, Ground Apple, Low Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, True Chamomile, Whig Plant
Uses:Used for various digestive disorders including indigestion, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and intestinal gas (flatulence) due to mental stress. Women use it for morning sickness when pregnant and to relieve cramps from menstruation. Chamomile is also used for pain and swelling of the lining of the nose and mouth, sinus pain (sinusitis), and joint disorders (rheumatic)..
Applied to the skin for relief from pain and swelling (inflammation) Chamomile can be turned into germicide ointments, creams and gels to be used to treat sore or cracked nipples, sore gums, and any irritation of the skin, except burns. It can also be used to treat eczema, frostbite, diaper rash, bedsore and hemorrhoids.
Chamomile is sometimes mixed with other herbs and taken by mouth for liver and gallbladder disease, gallstones, fatty liver, chronic heartburn, loss of appetite, digestive disturbances, a heart condition called Roemheld’s syndrome, indigestion in infants, and certain types of constipation. It is used as a blood purifier and a general tonic to prevent menstrual cramps and irregular periods. In haling the steam from a Chamomile steam bath is said to help most sinus issues.
Applications:Infusion: In preparing this infusion, a teaspoon of chamomile flowers is added to a liter of boiled water. The mixture is left a few minutes before being consumed. Inhaling the vapors emanated by the infusion helps in healing colds and sinusitis if the patient remains in a warm place. The tea can be administered to children, when they suffer from bad dispositions, cramps or colics - abdominal pains. Used externally, the infusion can be added to the bath water (four handfuls of flowers to a bathtub) or in the head washing water (one handful). The hair - especially the blond one - becomes silky and shiny. The complexion is also refreshed if it is cleaned with chamomile infusion. Also, conjunctivitis and eye inflammations heal faster with the help of this mixture. It can also be used for gargle (in cases of toothaches), cutaneous eruptions, or cleaning wounds.
Oil: In a bottle filled with chamomile flowers, cold-pressed olive oil is poured. The bottle is then kept in the sun, well corked up, for a period of approximately two weeks. After this stage, the oil is conserved in the refrigerator.
Ointment: It is obtained relatively easily, out of two handfuls of fresh chamomile flowers added to 200g of lard. The operation is done when the grease is already warmed. After it starts boiling and spume is formed at the surface, it is all covered and kept in a cool room. After 24 hours, the mixture is warmed again and filtered with the help of a cloth.
Poultice: A tablespoon filled with chamomile is emptied in a liter of hot milk. After a few minutes, the mixture is filtered and used in poultices. Caution is required as the poultice has maximum effect with warmth. Another way of obtaining poultices: filling a small bag of textile material with dried chamomile flowers. The bag is then introduced into the oven on a tray and heated up for a short time. Then the bag is applied locally for eliminating corporal pains.
Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Roman chamomile is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts during pregnancy. Roman chamomile is believed to cause miscarriages. Not enough is known about the safety of applying it to the skin during pregnancy. Avoid using Roman chamomile if you are pregnant.
It’s also best to avoid Roman chamomile if you are breast-feeding. Not enough is known about how it might affect the nursing infant.
Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Roman chamomile may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking Roman chamomile.