"To ease the body's pain, the lord sent Chamomile."
This line from a 19th Century poem validates how important chamomile has been in alleviating pain and discomfort throughout time. In fact, the medicinal use of chamomile dates back even further, to the days of the Romans, who relied on its antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. Today, chamomile tea is one of the most effective medicinal teas known. The gentle action of this herb makes it suitable for children and adults, and the tea can be safely used on a regular basis. To be prepared when stomachaches, insomnia, sore throats or cramps strike, keep a supply of chamomile flowers on hand. Be sure to buy Matricaria recutita, or German chamomile; this variety contains the highest concentration of the essential oils responsible for giving chamomile its healing power.
Preparation of Tea
In a teapot, place 1 tsp. of chamomile flowers per cup of water. Boil the water, then let it cool slightly (using boiling water will cause the various therapeutic compounds in chamomile to evaporate). For best results, steep the tea less than 5 min.
Therapeutic Effect : The healing effect of chamomile is due primarily to the chamazulene and alpha-bisabolol in its essential oil. Chamomile has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and antibacterial effects. It also helps calm the nerves and induces sleep. In addition to being drunk, chamomile tea can be used in healing compresses or added to bathwater.
For treatment of gastric problems : The essential oils in chamomile combined with other ingredients, such as sulfur and calcium, help relieve gastrointestinal inflammation. To ease pain and stimulate the digestion, drink 3 or 4 cups of freshly prepared tea daily for a period of several weeks.
For relief of intestinal cramps : The flavonoids in chamomile tea can prevent gas and relieve cramps. However, for menstrual cramps, a chamomile tincture is better because its flavonoid concentration is a third higher than that of the tea.
Take care : Chamomile has been known to cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to ragweed or other members of the daisy family. If you have such an allergy, you should avoid using it.
For eye problems : Chamomile tea compresses help relieve eye pain, eye strain and eyelid inflammation. Soak 2 cotton pads in lukewarm tea and place them on the eyes for a few minutes.
Warning : Strain the tea thoroughly first, to remove any pieces of chamomile flower that may irritate delicate eye tissue.
For inflammation, restlessness and insomnia : A chamomile tea bath provides quick relief from skin inflammations, restlessness and insomnia. Add 1 qt. of chamomile tea to a bathtub full of warm water. For insomnia, take the bath before bedtime.
For menstrual cramps : A chamomile tincture can alleviate menstrual cramps. To make the tincture, add 2/3 oz. of chamomile flowers to 1 ½ oz. of 100 proof alcohol and let it steep for 1 week. Strain and store in a dark vial. Take 10 drops in a glass of water.
For flu and cough : The germicidal effect of a chamomile vapor helps destroy the germs that cause flu and alleviates coughing. Pour 2 qt. of hot water over 2 cups of chamomile flowers. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the vapors.
Warning : Do not use this method if you suffer from cardiovascular disease.
Healing Tea mixtures
For gastric complaints
1 oz. chamomile
2/3 oz peppermint
1 oz. caraway seeds
2/3 oz. angelica
Use 1 tsp. of the mixture per cup of hot water. Steep the mixture 10 min and strain. This tea soothes the gastro intestinal tract and stimulates digestive activiy, making it useful for stomachaches or a too full feeling.
1 oz. chamomile
1 oz. yarrow
1 oz. sage
Use 1 tsp. of the mixture per cup of hot water. Steep the mixture 5 min and strain. The anti-inflammatory components of this tea relieve bladder pain and urinary discomfort. Drink as much tea as you wish daily until the inflammation has healed.
For skin problems
1 oz. chamomile
1 oz. dandelion
2/3 oz. fennel
Use 1 tsp. of the mixture per cup of hot water. Steep 5-10 min and strain. This medicinal tea blend stimulates metabolic activity, which helps promote the healing of inflammatory skin conditions, such as abscesses, boils and acne.