Every culture has an herbal lore, promoting effective remedies for healing, beauty and body care. Despite the commercial ease of purchasing creams and lotions, oils and teas, the knowledge may still be in our genes, waiting to germinate and blossom as wildly as a vine. Tea drinkers, users of essential oils and aromatherapy have a deep-rooted belief that the dried herbs or extracted oils can either relieve an ailment or improve symptoms. In the desire to expand your roots to seek a means of personal wellness, let’s take a 12-month journey to learn the value of healing with herbs.
At first glance, the chamomile flower appears similar to a smaller version of a daisy roughly two and a half centimeters wide; however, the cone-shaped yellow center is much larger with shorter white flowers. Standing tall, roughly one to two feet, smaller branches split near the top and produce flowers. The leaves are surprisingly feathery. And, best of all, the aroma is sweetly intoxicating and mildly bitter.
While seeds are not tangible in packets, use the teabags to grow chamomile seedlings. As a spreading perennial, it is best to plant within a container; otherwise, the plant will spread.
If you think about it, saying to an individual, “if you drink this, you’ll feel much better” has substantial power. Chamomile is more than just a calming drink safe for children and adults; it has anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antispasmodic properties.
You would ingest the tea to improve anxiety, insomnia, headaches, sore throats and to relieve colicky children and reduce intestinal maladies and digestive pain. Additionally, the flowers of the plant can strengthen the metabolism and cleanse the blood.
- Added to your daily diet, especially during allergy and flu season, it will increase antibacterial activity within your body and prevent sickness
A fragrance diffused into the air offers a powerful solution to the mind and body. For instance:
- Cold and Flu: Add three drops of chamomile oil or six tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers to a steaming pot of water (not boiling) and breathe deeply for 10 minutes. The result is that the aroma will heal the lungs and sinuses while the heat drains the mucus from the body. And, for a bonus, the skin will glow due to the detoxing properties against the skin.
- Headaches: After steeping the herb in hot water for 10 minutes, add a few drops of the essential oil; then, dip a washcloth into the stirred liquid. Place on your forehead and relax.
- Insomnia: Add a strong brew of tea to a warm bath and supplement with three drops of essential oil. The heat, combined with the soothing effects of chamomile, will ease the mind and encourage sleep.
- Anxiety: Carry a vial of the essential oil in your purse. Before a big meeting or presentation, take a sniff and exhale. The aroma will help you focus on what’s important.
Grandmothers and the elders of the family often kept a bag of herbs in drawers, tucked underneath a pillow or carried in a secret compartment of their purse. Some fragrances were everywhere with purpose. In knowing the extraordinary benefits of chamomile, you, too, may want to carry the magical seeds and flowers in a small pouch.
Of course, you’ll want to eat the benefits of chamomile, too! Think of what you use most, sugar. In a quart-sized Mason jar, add a half-cup of dried chamomile flowers to two cups of sugar. Shake every day for two weeks until using. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by its taste. (Try to make infused sugar with other favorite herbs!) Find a double-boiler recipe for “Chamomile-Infused Honey” to treat coughs, sore throats and colds, or add to hot teas or in replace of buttered toast.
Having the key to wellness is the best medicine!
Next Month: Herbal Healing focuses on the extraordinary versatility of elderberry!