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German Chamomile

German Chamomile photo

Matricaria chamomilla/recutita

Common name: German Chamomile/Mayweed/Ground Apple/Babuna

Family: Asteraceae/Compositae

Chamomile is probably the most widely used relaxing nervine herb. It is used for stress and anxiety based disorders, relaxing and toning the nervous system.

Botanical Description

Chamomile was recognised for its medicinal capabilities as far back as the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, which are also the areas believed to be this plants native home. Plants can grow up to 30cm in height and width and often grow to form ‘lawns’ across a flower bed. The leaves a thin, small and deeply cut in shape. The flowers are characteristic white daisy like, composite flower heads with yellow centres, except they are much smaller in size. Chamomile grows best in well-drained soils and will grow naturally around field margins. It is the chamomile flowers that are used for their medicinal benefits.

How it Works

Chamomile flowers contain a constituent known as sesquiterpene lactones, which display anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity in addition to being effective digestive bitters. Chamomile also contains a distinctive, blue essential oil that is a strong anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic.

This plant is most widely used for its nervine effect, relaxing the nervous system and relieving tension across the whole body. This in combination with its anti-spasmodic activity, make it excellent for treating tension and spasm within the digestive system that is exacerbated by stress. The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial portions of the plant have proven effective in digestive and skin based infections characterised by pain, inflammation and swelling.

Into the Heart of Chamomile

The ability of this plant to relieve physiological symptoms of stress in addition to underlying psychological tension has made it one of the most effective remedies for the treatment of nervous based disorders. One of this herb’s major characteristics is that it will help to treat secondary symptoms of anxiety such as indigestion or insomnia, in addition to toning the nervous system and dealing with the root of the issue. It is an excellent and safe remedy for use with children, particularly in the form of a tea, to relieve insomnia, colic and general anxiety.

The anti-spasmodic portions of this herb work on the peripheral nervous system and muscles which indirectly helps to relax the whole body, creating an overall sense of calm and relaxation. It will relieve tension and muscular spasm within the musculoskeletal system but also in the digestive and reproductive system.

The blue essential oil present in chamomile has a direct effect upon the digestive and respiratory system. It helps to reduce any inflammation affecting the mucosal membranes and also eases any muscular tension, particularly where there may be bloating, cramping and mucous congestion. This in combination with its anti-microbial activity will help provide relief from microbial infections such of the gut or influenza.

The oil portion of the plant also has a use externally on the skin to reduce inflammation and irritation caused by wounds or injury.

Indications

Nervous: Indicated in anxiety, nervous tension, and insomnia. Particularly effective for when anxiety affects the digestive system with symptoms of indigestion. Excellent remedy for the treatment of anxiety in children.

Digestive: Chamomile is indicated in digestive spasms, bloating, cramping, indigestion, colic, microbial infection and ulcers. It is an effective anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial to the digestive tract.

Respiratory: Indicated in sinusitis, chronic asthma, bronchitis, hay fever and influenza. It will clear excess mucous and phlegm from the lungs in addition to bringing down inflammation and reducing muscular tension, particularly where this may be a result of infection.

Skin: The anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of chamomile indicate it in both minor and chronic skin afflictions such as eczema, dermatitis, allergic dermatitis and psoriasis but also in abrasions, burns and infected wounds.

  • External Uses: Mouthwash for mouth ulcers, gingivitis; gargle for sore throats; antiseptic wash for sore inflamed eyes, conjunctivitis; lotion/cream for inflammatory skin conditions, infections (eg. impetigo, chicken pox), nappy rash, ulcers, sores, burns, scalds, sunburn, hives, urticaria, bites, stings, varicose ulcers, bruises, sore nipples; douche for vaginal infections including thrush. Dilute oil massaged into painful, inflamed joints, trigeminal neuralgia or sciatica. Repels insects. Sit in chamomile tea to relieve cystitis & hemorrhoids, varicose ulcers.
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