This week, we'll be looking into the medicinal attributes of common chamomile. The Latin name for this plant is Anthemis nobilis. Its other names include: True Chamomile, Noble Chamomile, Manzanilla, Maythen, Roman Chamomile, English Chamomile, Garden Chamomile, Ground Apple, Low Chamomile, and Whig Plant.
Chamomile became popular in the Middle Ages in English gardens for its distinct scent of apples, which is where it gets the names of chamomile (from the Greek kamai-melon or ground-apple) and Manzanilla (“a little apple” in Spanish). It was specifically used as part of green paths so it could be walked on to release the scent. It was also known as the ‘Plant’s Physician’ because it contributes to the health of the plants around it.
Medicinally, chamomile has been used since the Middle Ages as a tea to soothe delirium, insomnia, anxiety, and digestive issues such as diarrhea. It was also used in bath water to ease aches and pains, and to strengthen healthy bodies.
Chamomile is well known in England, but originates in the Mediterranean. It is cultivated throughout Europe, North America, and Argentina.
True Chamomile is a low-growing, perennial plant. It has daisy-like white flowers with conical yellow centers (compared to the flatter centers of daisies), which grow between 8 and 12 inches above the ground. Chamomile flowers in the summer, starting in either June or July depending on location, and lasting until September. The stems are hairy and covered with leaves that give the entire plant a feathery appearance. The plant as a whole is a grayish-green color.
The main effects of chamomile are calming, soothing and anti-inflammatory. It helps with soothing the mind and body aiding both in insomnia and anxiety. It also helps with influenza and cold symptoms, and is good topically for eczema, acne, and minor burns. Chamomile is also used to help with childhood conditions such as chickenpox, diaper rash, and colic.
Chamomile is most commonly taken as a tea, but can also be taken internally in the form of an extract, capsule or tincture. Chamomile is used externally as a poultice, diluted extract, or in eye drops.
Ailments which indicate treatment with chamomile include: Anxiety, nightmares, insomnia, intermittent fevers, indigestion, diarrhea, heartburn, loss of appetite, flatulence, colic, gout, headache, external swelling, inflammatory bowel disease, congested neuralgia, abscesses, stomach ulcers, gingivitis, chest colds, sore throat, chickenpox, diaper rash, psoriasis, acne, eczema, and minor burns
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and may interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.
It is not recommended to take chamomile if you are pregnant or breast-feeding; if you are taking a narcotic; or if you are going into surgery.
Latin Name:Anthemis nobilis
Medicinal Actions: Tonic, Achic, Anodyne, Antispasmodic.
Indications: Anxiety, nightmares, insomnia, intermittent fevers, indigestion, diarrhea, heartburn, loss of appetite, flatulence, colic, gout, headache, external swelling, inflammatory bowel disease, congested neuralgia, abscesses, stomach ulcers, gingivitis, chest colds, sore throat, chickenpox, diaper rash, psoriasis, acne, eczema, minor burns
Contraindications: While pregnant or breast-feeding; concurrently with prescription drugs or psychiatric medications; going into surgery.
Ageless – Roman Chamomile
- Strawberries With Chamomile Cream -
1 cup chilled heavy cream, divided
2 best-quality chamomile tea bags or 2 teaspoons dried chamomile flowers
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled, quartered
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
Heat 1/2 cup cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbles form around edges of pan.
Remove pan from heat; add chamomile. Let steep 20 minutes.
Transfer to a medium bowl. Cover; chill until cold, about 2 hours.
Toss strawberries with 2 Tbsp. sugar in a medium bowl to coat. Set aside to allow juices to form.
Strain chamomile cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl.
Add remaining 1/2 cup cream and remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar.
Using an electric mixer, beat chamomile cream until soft peaks form.
Divide berries among bowls.
Spoon chamomile whipped cream over berries.