Chamomile is a flowering herb that looks like a daisy with a yellow central disc and delicate white petals. Chamomile is fragrant and has a relaxing, apple-like aroma. Further, herbal teas and aromatherapy use this herb. Chamomile flowers usually bloom into little white flowers with yellow centres, like mini daisies. It has long thin stems about 6 to 24 inches. Further, German chamomile flowers have a strong, herbal and pungent scent. In contrast, Roman chamomile flowers have a sweeter and fruity scent.
The flowers and buds of this plant are harvested and dried for chamomile tea. As the flowers open, they are harvested. In Egypt, a chamomile rake is used to harvest flowers. The flowers bloom over several months and are picked every seven to ten days. In Eastern parts of Europe, reapers harvest chamomile flowers two or three times over the growing season.
THE HISTORY OF CHAMOMILE:
Chamomile comes from the Greek word “chamomaela”. Further, it belongs to the Asteraceae family and has 2 variants, the German and Roman Chamomile.
|TYPE OF CHAMOMILE||OTHER NAME||VARIANT||NATIVITY|
|ROMAN OR ENGLISH CHAMOMILE||Chamaemelum nobile||TRUE CHAMOMILE||WESTERN EUROPE AND NORTH AFRICA|
|GERMAN CHAMOMILE||Chamomilla recutita||FALSE CHAMOMILE||EUROPE AND ASIA|
Firstly, both plants are associated with the deities of the sun in many ancient religions. Secondly, in ancient Egypt, chamomile was sacred to the sun god Ra and it is highly revered over all other herbs. Further, these flowers are found in many Egyptian hieroglyphics dating back over 2000 years. Further, beauty regimens use this product.
The Spanish used chamomile as a flavouring agent in sherry making. Romans used chamomile as a healing beverage. Also, it is one of nine sacred herbs of Lacnunga, an ancient Anglo-Saxon herb. Ancient Greek physicians like Dioscorides prescribe the herb for various ailments. Further, ancient herbalists grew double–flowering variants in chamomile to improve the plant’s therapeutic properties.
Firstly, English brewers used chamomile flowers as a bittering agent in beer making. Monks during the middle ages cultivated chamomile to use as herbal remedies and discovered planting chamomile near other species ailing plants so it would aid in ailing plants recovery.
EARLIER METHODS OF USE:
They have healing and soothing effects on other plants. Also, as companion plants, chamomiles prevent many fungal and bacterial infections in the plants around them. Further, they also repel many insect pests.
In the publication of The Herb Garden, herbalist France’s A. Bardwell called chamomile “the plant’s physician” describing the healing effects of chamomiles have on their companion plants. In contrast, today it grows like weeds all over the world. Meanwhile, they are low growing and reseed themselves and neutralize and set roots. Further, the fresh herb is more potent than the dried herb.
MEDICINAL AND HEALTH CARE PREPARATION OF CHAMOMILE:
Various forms of preparation use this herb. Further, the dry powder of this plant’s flower cures various health problems. To clarify, extraction of dry flowers of this plant by using water, ethanol or methanol as solvents is common.
The extracts contain about 50 per cent alcohol. Further, normal standardized extracts contain 1.2% of apigenin, which are the most effective bioactive agents. Further, in the form of tea, aqueous extracts contain low concentrations of free apigenin but have high levels of apigenin 7-O-glucoside.
OTHER USES AND PREPARATIONS:
This tea is popular herbal tea. Teabags contain the powder from flowers, either homogeneously or combined with other herbs. The tincture is prepared as one part of the flower in four parts of water having 12% grain alcohol. It is used for treating diarrhoea in children and as purgatives to prevent cramping.
The flowers are used alone or mixed with the crushed poppy as a compress for pain from inflammation or congestive neuralgia. It is also used in cases of facial swelling associated with abscesses. Used in making beers known as the chamomile ale.
SELECTION AND PREPARATION OF CHAMOMILE:
The flowers are used to make teas, liquid extracts, capsules or tablets, mouth rinse.
To make tea, take one teaspoon of the flowers in two-thirds of a cup of boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes before straining. In addition, commercial teas are also available for use.
Chamomile is available as capsules. Further, some capsules contain 220 to 1100 milligrams of German chamomile extract. Subsequently, this can be taken daily for 8 weeks to help to alleviate anxiety.
Roman & German variants have widely used this herb for natural tranquillizing effects, as an antispasmodic, to prevent inflammation, as an antiseptic, to avoid allergy and for their antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Meanwhile, they treat digestive problems, ulcers, menstrual problems, allergies, arthritis, asthma, headaches, eczema, wounds, burns, eye inflammation, and anxiety.
Above all, the tea has a calming and soothing effect and it is one of the safest herbs to administer to young children.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF CHAMOMILE TEA:
A single cup of brewed tea contains around 2 calories, and 0.5 grams of carbohydrates, includes traces of magnesium, certain vitamins and other minerals. Further, chamomile’s are abundant in flavonoids that possess excellent medicinal properties.
Nutritional facts per 100 Grams in Chamomile:
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Vitamins and Minerals in Chamomile:
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USES OF CHAMOMILE:
IMPROVES SLEEP QUALITY :
PROMOTES DIGESTIVE HEALTH :
It has anti-inflammatory properties, which aids in better digestion and reduce the risk of certain gastrointestinal conditions. It also protects against diarrhoea and prevents stomach ulcers, as it reduces acidity in the stomach and inhibits the growth of bacteria which causes ulcers. Further, it also protects against nausea and gas.
PROTECTS AGAINST CERTAIN TYPES OF CANCER :
CONTROLS BLOOD SUGAR :
Its anti-inflammatory properties prevent damage to cells of the pancreas, which occurs when blood sugar levels are chronically elevated. The pancreas produces insulin which is responsible for removing sugar from the blood. The tea lower fasting blood sugar levels and also prevents blood sugar spikes after eating.
IMPROVES HEART HEALTH :
This tea has flavones, a class of antioxidants. Flavones have the potential to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It prevents coronary artery disease and heart attack.
BOOSTS IMMUNE HEALTH :
It helps in soothing sore throats; it prevents and treats the common cold.
IMPROVES SKIN HEALTH AND HEALING:
As the herb has anti-inflammatory properties it can be applied to the skin via cosmetic products like lotions, eye creams and soaps, which helps to reduce skin inflammation. It nourishes and moisturizes skin from deep inside.
Further, it has anti-inflammatory properties which help in skin healing, from soothing rashes to healing tattoos. Prevents ingrown hairs after waxing or shaving. It treats skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema, chamomile’s are generally used in baths or an infusion or as a tincture. Most importantly, skin ointments and cream use chamomile.
PREVENTS BONE LOSS :
It prevents bone loss which leads to conditions like osteoporosis.
ORAL HEALTH :
Chamomile’s mouthwash reduces gingivitis and plaque because of its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
RELIEVES ANXIETY AND STRESS :
It has a calming effect on the body, which helps to soothe frazzled nerves and thus reduce anxiety. Further, drinking this tea on daily basis can drastically reduce anxiety.
- Most importantly, chamomile is a bath additive. The herb cures ailments like genital inflammation and vaginitis.
- Secondly, chamomile flowers relieves anxiety and stress (through inhalation of vaporized essential oils).
SIDE EFFECTS OF CHAMOMILE:
Allergies can happen due to adulteration with another similar looking plant. Further, few people are sensitive to various plants in the Asteraceae family.
BLOOD THINNERS :
However, avoid herbs if you are under blood-thinning medications or have a blood clotting disorder.
Meanwhile, chamomile is a uterine stimulant. Hence, it’s better to avoid intake during pregnancy (especially during the first trimester).
- Drinking the tea in moderate amounts is good for health, consumption in large doses can cause side effects such as vomiting and nausea.
- Firstly, cosmetic products that contain this herb may be irritating to eyes if direct contact with them. Further, this leads to conjunctivitis.
Chamomile has the potential to worsen symptoms of asthma.
INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER DRUGS :
Chamomile could interact with blood thinners, antiplatelet drugs, sedatives, aspirin, NSAID painkillers and other drugs. Other side effects cause swelling of the throat, shortness of breath, skin rashes and anaphylaxis.
To sum up, chamomile is a beautiful plant with white petals and yellow centres. Further, the herb is highly beneficial. Meanwhile, preventing toxification is important. Further, take the right amount of herb. In addition, it has strong aromatic properties.
It contains bioactive and phytochemicals (“Phyto” means “plant” which helps to damage the cells which cause cancer) which provide therapeutic effects. Further, the herb has anti-inflammatory, antiphlogistic, and cancer properties. But improper usage can be unsafe and harmful.