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Chamomile

"Chamomile is veritably one of the best herbs for cooling excess heat and inflammation associated with high pitta.” Annie McIntyre

Chamomile is one of my favorite herbs to use in my practice. Not only is it the cutest little flower, I love its ability to cover such a wide variety of ailments and be mild enough to help those with the most sensitive systems. Chamomile is an age-old medicinal herb known in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome but also spans over 26 different countries in medicinal use.

Chamomile's volatile oils and flavanoids are what give this powerful daisy-family flower healing properties. Below are some main uses and Ayurvedic or herbal remedies safe for anyone to adopt in their routine (unless of course you are allergic to chamomile):

  • Analgesic (vedanasthapana): relieves pain whether it be muscle, nerve, menstrual, e.t.c.
  • Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic
  • Anti-inflammatory (shothahara): reduces inflammation across the board
  • Antihistamine (shothahara): acts as a benadryl for allergic reactions
  • Antioxidant: like vitamin C and E it reduces the oxidation of cells to help combat cancerous free radicals in your body
  • Antispasmodic (shulaprashamana): relieves muscle tension and muscle spasms
  • Carminative (vāta anuloman): mildly laxative without drying the colon
  • Regulates menstruation (artavashamana): an herb women can use for any menstrual ailment
  • Diaphoretic (svedajanana): induces perspiration, helps reduce swelling and edema
  • Digestive (pachan) and stomachic: calms overheated digestion but slightly bitter taste stimulates digestion producing appetite
  • Febrifuge (jwaraghna): helps regulate a fever
  • Diuretic (mutrala): cleansing for the urinary system
  • Nervine (medhya) & sedative (nidrajanana): sedative and calms nerves
  • Strengthening tonic (balya): as it calms all systems it stregthens and revitalizes
  • Vulnerary (ropana): heals wounds

"In moderate amounts it is good for all constitutions, and it is a particularly good beverage for Pitta. It helps relieve bilious, digestive headaches, relieves congestion of the blood and promotes menstruation. It is a sattvic herb that is very balancing to the emotions... For most medical purposes its action is mild and serves as a harmonizing adjunct." -- Yoga of Herbs, by David Frawley and Vasant Lad

Remedies:

As a tea:

→ A little fresh ginger prepared with the tea makes chamomile a completely balanced beverage and counters any emetic effect it might have.

→ Drink tea a half hour after meals to aid in digestion.

→ Drink tea first thing in the morning to help pregnant mama's with morning sickness.

→ Use in a takrum or Ayurvedic digestive yogurt drink to aid digestion, increase appetite, lose weight, remove bloating and flatulence, as well as aid in bowel movement.

→ Lemon/lime and chamomile liquefy stagnant lymph, flush heaviness and stiffness out of the muscles, and reduce swelling/edema in the body. This is extra helpful for those that live in more humid climates or during the wet seasons of later winter/spring time. Add a little local raw honey to increase these benefits!

→ To help with sleeplessness. For chronic insomnia you will need to use in conjunction with stronger herbs like valerian or catnip. It IS perfect however, to calm nerves during a stressful day or bring down the heat a notch after a bout of irritation and anger.

→ Heal mouth sores and prevent gum disease. A chamomile mouthwash may help soothe mouth inflammations and keep gums healthy. Make some tea and swish around mouth for a few minutes before drinking!

→ Reduce menstrual cramps. Chamomiles believed ability to relax the smooth muscles of the uterus helps ease the discomfort of menstrual cramping.

→ Treat diverticular disease, irritable bowel problems and various gastrointestinal complaints. Chamomile's reported anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic actions relax the smooth muscles lining the stomach and intestine. The herb may therefore help to relieve nausea, heartburn, and stress-related flatulence. It may also be useful in the treatment of diverticular disorders and inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn's disease. (2)

Eyes & Skin

→ Soothe skin rashes (including eczema), minor burns and sunburn. Used as a lotion or added in oil form to a cool bath, chamomile may ease the itching of eczema and other rashes and reduces skin inflammation. (2)

→ It may also speed healing and prevent bacterial infection. Place steeped teabags or cooled loose tea in a compress over cleaned wounds, scrapes, or burns.

→ Place cooled tea bags over your eyes after making tea to treat eye inflammation caused by allergies, air pollutants, or even conjunctivitis.

References:

  1. Yoga of Herbs by David Frawley
  2. https://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-chamomile.html
  3. Photo by ORNELLA BINNI on Unsplash