This month we’re celebrating what may very well be my favorite healing herb - Chamomile! I find ways to invite this delightful plant into my life every single day and even wear it as a tattoo, ha! I have to admit though, we didn’t always share this love connection. As a child I actually didn’t like it much; and as a fledgling herbalist I often overlooked it in favor of more exotic and sexy herbs. Fortunately Chamomile hung patiently by the sidelines waiting for me to find my ah-ha moment. And man when I did - I was hooked.
Chamomile is probably the most widely used relaxing nervine in the Western world and boasts one of the best safety records. People of all ages and stages can benefit from its gentle power. I prefer German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) in my Apothecary. As a bitter plant, it has a strong affinity for all types of digestive woes. Remember, Peter Rabbit’s mother gave him Chamomile tea after his wild ride through the garden. It is helpful for stomach aches, gas and bloating, and digestive tension. It is also a beautiful relaxing nervine helping to calm and soothe the nervous system and is a lovely plant to enjoy before bed to assist in a restorative night’s rest. As an antispasmodic herb, Chamomile is a great aid for muscle tension and menstrual cramps. I find it particularly useful for folks who hold a lot of tension in their shoulders and neck.
Chamomile is one of my top topical and first aid herbs. That same anti-inflammatory property it brings to the digestive system applies to the skin as well. It makes a lovely wash to soothe sunburns and I add it to all my first aid salves for bites/scrapes/scratches. Hands down it is my favorite herb for red and puffy eyes and has a stellar track record at alleviating conjunctivitis. Its gentle astringent properties make it a welcome addition to all cosmetic preparations, and it makes an aromatic wash for light colored hair.
Magically, Chamomile is believed to calm and is often used in spells to support sleep, combat curses and turn away negativity. It is commonly used in Litha or Summer Solstice celebrations. All this from a small dainty garden plant. Chamomile absolutely highlights that gentle does not mean weak and big power often comes in little packages! I wish you all a blessed Summer Solstice and an incredible start to this new season. I hope you’re able to bring a little Chamomile into your life!
For more information on Chamomile I highly recommend the book Alchemy of Herbs. Green Blessings Friends!
(Note: Chamomile should not be used by those sensitive to the Asteraceae family of plants - everyone else use liberally and often!)