Learning to Use Camomile as an Herbal Medicine
Camomile, also spelled Chamomile, is one of the very best herbs with which to begin working when one’s knowledge of herbal medicine is very limited. Sometimes sold as German Chamomile, this herb is widely available in tea bags that are sold in the average grocery store at economical prices. Camomile has practically no known toxicity and is gentle enough to be given to small children without any worry of harming them. However, it should not be used during pregnancy.
So, what ailments can be alleviated with this herb? Camomile is most effective in treating upset stomach and has been suggested as a daily drink for those who are prone to ulcers. If the foods chosen are causing irritation, they need to be avoided. However, sometimes, due to stress or dyspepsia, discomfort in the stomach can occur during or after a meal even when non-irritating foods are chosen. Camomile has proven very helpful in alleviating this discomfort if drank just before or during the meal.
Camomile is also extremely beneficial in cases of chest congestion during a bout with the flu. Nevertheless, due to the mildness of this herb, it should never be trusted to treat respiratory problems as serious as bronchitis or pneumonia.
Camomile is also an effective pain reliever for menstrual cramps especially associated with suppressed menstruation. But, in order for the herb to prove useful, copious amounts must be drank throughout the day. Failure to experience Camomile’s health benefits are usually related to not consuming enough.
So, how is this herb prepared for consumption? The sweet-smelling flower is the part most commonly used. Flowers are considered soft and delicate parts of medicinal plants which means that their healing properties are ingested as an infusion (tea). An infusion is made by pouring approximately 1 cup of boiling tap water over about 1 teaspoon of the dried herb (flowers in this case). The infusion should be immediately covered and allowed to steep for a minimum of 10 minutes.
The tea may then be sweetened with a natural sweetener such as honey or stevia extract and should be drank while still very hot.