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While the benefits of chamomile extend well beyond helping maintain a mellow mood, the take home is generally always the same–it’s gently calming nature can be seen in all of the ways that this plant works to help maintain harmony in the body.
Along with being a classic nervous system ally, chamomile is commonly called upon to help maintain digestive and skin health, too. Its bitterness, which can range from slight to strong depending on its preparation, indicates the herb’s ability to promote various digestive secretions that tone and support digestion. This means that, when taken before food, your digestion is all primed and ready to properly breakdown and assimilate the nutrients from your food. Taken after meals, it can provide gentle relief from occasional heartburn and nausea. Chamomile’s aromatic attributes help soothe occasional gas and bloating so that you can enjoy your food even when it’s challenged your digestive system.
Chamomile is traditionally thought of as a cooling herb and one that supports a healthy inflammatory response when used topically. Like other bitter-tasting herbs, it also supports healthy liver function. The combination of these attributes makes it a trusted standby for helping maintain clear, healthy skin. Chamomile hydrosol, for example, works great as facial toner.
Most of us are familiar with the gut-brain relationship at this point. The brain and the digestive system are in constant communication via the vagus nerve and the state of one affects the state of the other. Occasional tension and anxiety can leave your stomach in knots, or a rumbly tummy every so often can leave you feeling like Oscar the Grouch. When keeping the gut-brain connection in mind, we think of chamomile as the perfect balancer because of it’s gentle effect on both the nervous system and digestion. With chamomile’s support, the lines of communication can be kept in healthy harmony.
In learning of this herb’s virtues, there are so many reasons to adore and admire it. If you’ve ever grown chamomile, the time and care it takes to harvest the newly opened flowers provides yet further justification of why it is so special. It takes commitment to gather an appreciable amount of this herb–which makes it hard to be taken for granted despite its widespread use. A daily pilgrimage to harvest in the chamomile patch is a favorite summertime ritual, though one that takes discipline to maintain when life gets busy.
We hope you have as much fun making and using these tiny flower concoctions as we do!
Infused oils are a great way to make use of your favorite herbs in a topical application. Topically, chamomile is incredibly soothing to the skin and indicated for red, irritated skin issues. It’s great in an all purpose salve, or alone. The oil is also wonderful rubbed into children’s feet before bedtime to help them unwind and prepare for restful slumber. This oil’s sweet, comforting scent is so pleasing that you may be tempted to use it as a perfume!
Makes 1 quart of dried, loose tea
With a mix of anti-inflammatory, carminative and toning herbs, this blend is just the thing to support a chronically unhappy belly. Drink 2-4 cups daily for best results.
Combine all herbs and store in a clean, dry quart jar in a dark place. Two prepare tea, use 1 Tbsp tea mixture for every cup of water. Pour hot water over the herbs, cover and steep for at least 10 minutes before straining. Longer brews will extract more constituents from the herbs but will result in a more bitter and less aromatic tea. May be served hot or iced.
Have you noticed a difference between German and Roman chamomile, or can they be used interchangeably?
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August 22, 2016
Thanks for the comment! German and Roman Chamomile can be used somewhat interchangeably. There is a difference—in growing habits, German is more tender, a self-seeding annual, and doesn’t like trampling. Roman is perennial, hardy groundcover, takes a lot of abuse. This is reflected in the flavor profile: German is more delicate, floral and buttery, while Roman has a stronger “green apple” smell and more astringency. Both are relatively bitter, especially when brewed for a long time.