Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is a common herb most folks are familiar with. It’s often seen in teas that support sleep, upset stomach, calming, and overall de-stressing. While this delightfully sunny, little herb can certainly do these things, it has many other highly useful benefits.
Have you ever accidentally over steeped a cup of chamomile tea? The longer the tea sits, the more its bitter properties will come through. Bitters are excellent to use in cases of digestive concerns such as indigestion, bloating, colic, and gas. Some bitters can be harsh and should be used with great care. Yet chamomile is very mild for a bitter. It is gentle and pleasantly flavorful, so it is often given to children suffering from colic. Some bitters are so unpalatable, many adults will avoid ingesting them, making chamomile a favorable choice.
Another use for this herb is for anti-inflammatory properties. This action can be external or internal. Externally, a salve can be used for burns, insect bites, and wound healing. It’s very effective and often used with calendula, which also promotes the healing process. Internally, this herb has an affinity for the digestive system. So think of chamomile for IBS, inflammation of the digestive tract, nausea, or indigestion. Another specific use is for the relief of gout and acidic buildup that some people suffer from after eating red meat. It is definitely important to buy a dried, high quality chamomile to get a therapeutic effect from drinking the tea. If you do buy pre-bagged teas, find a respectable brand and use several bags per cup.
Chamomile is often thought of as a tea you only drink at night to relax or induce sleeping. There is so much more value and purpose! This herb is very effective at supporting a multitude of digestive system issues, as well as having positive effects on the nervous system. It is great for combatting insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness. It also happens to be an herb that is very effective in different forms. Salves, teas, and tinctures are all great delivery systems for chamomile. As with any herb, try to do some research in brands so you can buy the best quality available, in order to receive the most benefit from the plant remedy. Whether you are building an herbal first aid kit or stocking herbal remedies, never go without chamomile!
1 cup chamomile/calendula infused olive oil*
¼ cup beeswax
Glass jars for storing
Slowly warm oil in double boiler over low heat. You will want to add the beeswax slowly. Stir with wooden spoon or stick until oil is thoroughly melted. Put drops of liquid on spoon or other surface to let cool. Check for desired consistency. While still warm, add more oil to thin, or beeswax to thicken. Carefully pour completed mixture into glass jars and let cool.
*Oil can be infused via solar infusion or using double broiler.
Solar infusion: Fill a mason jar halfway with desired herbs. (For this salve, equal amounts of each herb would be appropriate.) Fill jar with high quality olive oil. Place jar in sunny area, and let it sit for a minimum of two weeks. Shake jar daily. When infusion is complete and ready to use, strain herbs from oil using cheesecloth. Keep infused oil in cool dark place, and keep covered.
Double broiler: Same as above with the exception of placing the jar in a sunny area. Instead, place oil and herbs in double broiler and warm over low heat for 30-60 minutes. Keep heat no higher than 115 degrees.
We invite you to become part of the movement of healing with holistic plant remedies in our Western Herbalism program. We offer a special 700-hour career-oriented curriculum that gives you the opportunity to experience every aspect of plant medicine from seed to sale. This program will enhance your connection with nature and plants from an intuitive, spiritual and energetic interpretation, as well as from the phytochemical science-focused view. You’ll learn to make herbal medicinal remedies in class, while studying the theories supporting the curative formulations.
About the Author, Kerry Amann
Kerry Amann is a trained herbalist that found her path to supporting others through healing with plants after a lifelong love of plants, and knowing they had much to offer beyond just their beauty. Kerry looks to help bring balance to unbalanced bodies through the use of whole plant supplements. This balance comes from adding and increasing energy, vitality, and overall health through the use of personalized herbal protocols, biologically based therapies, and holistic nutrition. Kerry completed over 700 class hours in the Western Herbalism program at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts under the direction of herbalist JoAnn Sanchez, RH AHG. Kerry believes taking a holistic approach to healing and bringing nature and her gifts into that healing process can truly enhance the wellness of the mind, body, and spirit.