Chamomile ~ Background and Uses

By | August 8, 2014

Background and Uses

Chamomile, a member of the daisy family, has been used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of ailments. Traditionally chamomile, which blooms from May to September, was harvested on sunny mid-summer mornings. There are two forms of chamomile, Roman and German, the latter of which is preferred for most commercial applications. Often ingested as a tea, chamomile is also available in other forms. Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory that can be used to treat digestive tract ailments and other health problems.

Chamomile in Bloom

A flowering plant that has small white petals and an apple-like scent, chamomile has long been used as a natural treatment for many health issues. It is the flower that is used from the chamomile plant to make the extracts and teas. Often associated with having a calming effect, some of the side effects of ingesting chamomile include drowsiness and allergy symptoms similar to that of ragweed, to which it is related. Once the plant has bloomed, the flowers are harvested and dried. Oil can be extracted from the flowers to be used as flavoring or in perfumes. The dried flowers can be steeped to make tea, other forms include capsules, tablets, and topical creams.

Roman and German are the two forms of chamomile. The Roman chamomile is slightly weaker than the German chamomile. As a result, the more potent German chamomile is used more often than the Roman variety in teas and supplements around the world. Chamomile is indigenous to Europe and parts of Asia, including India. Brought to the United States for cultivation for supplements and other consumer products, it has started to grow wild, becoming wide spread. Chamomile is a self seeding annual that is a good companion plant in gardens, as it helps other plants in the garden grow.

A natural anti-inflammatory, chamomile has been used for thousands of years to ease digestion problems like indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and diarrhea. The healing properties of chamomile are not limited to the digestive tract. There are indications that chamomile can be used to ease the symptoms of conditions like anxiety, insomnia, migraines, and hemorrhoids. Chamomile tea is often used to help ease stress and aid falling asleep. Creams containing chamomile can be used to ease the symptoms of eczema. Oral suspensions have been used to treat the mouth ulcers that can occur as a result of some cancer treatments.

A very gentle herb, chamomile can be used for a wide variety of health concerns including indigestion, insomnia, and anxiety. Commonly ingested as a tea, chamomile can also be taken in capsule or tablet form. For treatment of skin conditions like eczema, chamomile can be applied as a cream. A member of the daisy family, chamomile is a flowering plant whose blooms are harvested and dried in order to be used in teas and other products. Chamomile has been used for thousands of years and is still popular today to alleviate the symptoms of many ailments.