The ancient Egyptians were one of the most ancient civilizations to use chamomile. They produced it for its virtues. They dedicated the plant to the sun and their gods because of its extensive healing properties.
There are a number of species of Chamomile spread over Europe, North Africa and the temperate region of Asia. Thus it has several names according to its habitat and species.Its Common name includes Camomile, Sweet chamomile, Wild Chamomile, German Chamomile, Mayweed. In Arabic it is called babonig.Its Botanical name also depends on the type of species:
This is the botanical name of the common Chamomile. It is a low growing plant,creeping or trailing, its tufts of leaves and flowers a foot high. The root is perennial, jointed and fibrous, the stems, hairy and freely branching, are covered with leaves which are divided into thread-like segments, the fineness of which gives the whole plant a feathery appearance. There are some eighteen white rays arranged round a conical centre, botanically known as the receptacle, on which the yellow, tubular florets are placed- the centre of the daisy is, however, considerably flatter than that of the Chamomile.
The whole plant is downy and greyish green in colour. It prefers dry commons and sandy soil,
Parts used are the flowers and herb. The active principles are a volatile oil ( of a pale blue colour), anthemic acid(the bitter taste) , tannic acid and a glucoside.
It is administered as decoction, infusion, fluid extract and essential oils. Chamomile has a mild, apple-like fragrance
The dried flowers of A. nobilis are used for blond dyeing, and a variety of Chamomile known as Lemon Chamomile yields a very fine essential oil.
This is the scientific name of the chamomile flower.
The aromatic fragrance gives no hint of its bitterness of taste. The fresh plant is strongly and agreeably aromatic giving its smell before it has been seen whistle stepping on it in the wild.
The official preparations are a decoction, an infusion, the extract and the oil.
The volatile oil is yielded by distillation, but is lost in the preparation of the extract. Boiling also dissipates the oil.
Mostly used as an infusion of tea. It is used as a tonic, stomachic, anodyne( relieves pain), and anti-spasmodic.
As a volatile oil it has an anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties which help relieve inflamed and irritated conditions, tension and colicky pains.
Chamomile tea is an extremely effective remedy for hysterical and nervous afflictions in women, as well as an emmenagogue (promotes menstrual flow) thus is used in premenstrual tension.
The tea is steeped from 10 to 15 minutes in a covered container so not to have its essences lost to atmosphere. One teaspoon of flowers is used per cup of tea.
Chamomile has a powerful soothing and sedative effect which is harmless. It is used for agitation generated by too much mental activity and too little physical activity. Also used in insomnia, as it helps to promote sleep when changing time zone while traveling.
As a pain formula, the anodyne and antispasmodic herb is used as a sedative and carminative (relieves flatulence) and for headaches and muscular pain.
A tincture is used to cure diarrhea in children and it is used with purgatives to prevent griping, and as a tonic it helps dropsy. It also reduces fever and calms restlessness in children. As a mild pain reliever, it is formulated as a glycerite to soothe children on airplanes and are helpful to alleviate crankiness during the teething period.
Glycerites are made by extracting the herb in vegetable glycerin and distilled water. They do not contain the full range of medicinal constituents, but still have mild therapeutic effects. This makes the bitter tasting extracts more palatable for children when used as a base.
Recently it is used to alleviate the nervousness associated with nicotine withdrawal while stimulating detoxication and expectoration in Quit Smoking Formula.
It is also used as a mouthwash for gingivitis.
Externally, it can be applied alone or with other herbs as a poultice to relieve pain, swellings, inflammation and neuralgia. Bags may be loosely stuffed with flowers and steeped well in boiling water before being applied as a fomentation. The antiseptic powers of Chamomile are stated to be 120 times stronger than sea-water. A decoction of Chamomile flowers and poppyheads is used hot as fomentation to abscesses.
Its strong antiseptic properties make it invaluable for reducing swelling of the face due to abscess or injury.
As a lotion, the flowers are good for resolving toothache and earache.
externally as an antinflammatory wash for treating skin and respiratory irritations and is used as an inhalation for treating catarrh (mucous) of the nose, throat and bronchi. Essential oil of chamomile can be used to help keep bunions under control and to treat Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, sciatica and bone and joint problems through its antinflammatory properties.
The herb itself is an ingredient in many herb mixtures. The pure and gentle powdered herb is convenient for everyday use. The herb is also used for a lotion, for external application in toothache, earache, neuralgia, etc. One ounce of the dried herb is infused in 1 pint of boiling water and allowed to cool. The herb has also been employed in hot fomentations in cases of local and intestinal inflammation.
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