Plant Spotlight: Chamomile

Plant Spotlight: Chamomile

A soothing staple for your home...
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Dugan and Dame plant spotlight: Chamomile
A must have staple for every home… A gateway herb into herbal medicine, chamomile is probably best known as a staple in many sleep inducing teas. But less known is its powerful ability to soothe many ailments beyond irritability and insomnia; although it is the plant many will reach for when they just want something soothing, or a gentle tea for children to calm their restlessness and help them sleep. Not only can this beautiful flower provide a whole litany of medicinal benefits – way beyond its popular mild sedative effects - it’s simply just pretty to look at! Its daisy styled flowers can put you in a trance when gazing upon their beauty. 

So popular and powerful is this plant than German chamomile is often referred to as “water of youth.” Its benefits? Oh there are so many… calms an upset tummy, relives gas, reduces inflammation (topically and internally), calms menstrual discomfort as well as arthritis, reduces hay fever and muscle spasms, improves insomnia, treats eczema and skin irritations, and heals wounds. Yes she’s pretty AND she has gentle strength. 

Folklore and History

Chamomile may be one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind, recorded back in ancient Egypt and rather well documented. Ancient Egyptians have used chamomile for fevers, heat strokes and malaria as well as during the mummifying process of the dead. They believed the plant to be a sacred gift of the Sun God (Ra).

Slovakian folklore believes in bowing when facing a chamomile plant out of respect of its curing powers. It has also been placed in charm bags and dream pillows. 

This plant has an ability to positively affect all of its surrounding plants growing nearby and attracts bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects. For hundreds of years, farmers have planted chamomile as a cover crop for this purpose. It is planted near plants that are withering and failing to thrive in order to improve the health of the wilting ailing plant. 

Medicinal Benefits

Although there are a several types of chamomile, the two main ones used are German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile. This plant can be used as a tisane (simmered in hot water), for its essential oil, as a salve, an extract, and as part of more complex herbal remedies. 

Due to its polyphenol contents, it is not only a mild laxative, but it is also used to reduce anxiety. Topically it is used to reduce inflammation and for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is also used for tummy aches as well as fever and flu symptoms. It’s starting to sound like there’s not much chamomile doesn’t have an effect on. It’s also such a gentle plant that it can be used on and in children. (Definitely our go-to plant when Bassil is having a rough day and needs some soothing.) Chamomile tea with a touch of honey can calm even the craziest of five year olds. We have also soaked a rag in hot chamomile tea to gently pull out eye styes and deal with swollen hair follicles. In fact it’s so gentle that several cultures ritualistically bathe their newborn babies in chamomile water.

How we use Chamomile 

Chamomile is one of the essential flowers in our Smoke’n Flowers Tonic. Its calming effect helps balance the caffeine content from the Lapsang Souchong in the tonic to keep it from being too stimulating. It adds a beautiful fragrance and flavor used in its traditional manner – to soothe and calm.