#TBT – Chamomile – History and Benefits

#TBT – Chamomile – History and Benefits

Spices, herbs, tinctures and essential oils have been used for millennia to season our food, heal our bodies and boost our spirits. In our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series, we at re:iimmune will take you back in history to learn how these gifts from Mother Nature have been used. We’ll focus on their use through the ages and beneficial purposes in regard to nutrition, natural health and household care.

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Ancient Egyptians believed chamomile to be a universal cure all and it certainly has a long history of being used to cure many ills and ailments. Both varieties of Chamomile, German and Roman, belong to the Astereraceae (daisy) family and are familiar to most people due to their popular use in teas to calm and soothe. It’s sometimes even called “the plant’s physician” as chamomile seems to help revive failing plants growing near it. In ancient Wales it was planted upon loved ones’ graves to bring about a happy afterlife.  Here in this world, it has many beneficial uses!

Chamomile has been used throughout history to calm upset stomachs, ease headaches, toothaches, teething babies, pink-eye, and to soothe sunburns. Chamomile oil is produced through steam distillation and during the process, a blue organic compound called azulene is produced. It is this compound, high in anti-inflammatory properties that makes it a good choice for alleviating the  pains of arthritis and sore muscles and joints. Known for it’s power of soothing, it’s long been used in nighttime teas to promote a good and restful sleep.

As with any herb, there are always precautions to think about. Too much chamomile can induce vomiting and some folks who are allergic to ragweed can have similar reactions. Also, it contains coumarin which is a natural blood thinner. So if you are already taking a blood thinner such as warfarin, you will want to check with your doctor.

This pretty little herb also has a long history of being used in beauty products and treatments. It’s traditionally a  go-to for calming inflammation in the skin such as eczema and acne and reducing puffiness around the eyes.  Cosmetically speaking, it’s best known for bringing out highlights in blonde hair and for subtle lightening of darker tones. To do so, simply brew a strong cup of chamomile tea and let it cool. Apply to certain strands for highlights or do an overall rinse. Sit in the sunshine for about thirty minutes and then wash it out.

Finally, chamomile is just one of the sweetest  little flowers around! It’s fairly easy to grow, lovely to look at and a must have in the herb garden.

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