Herbal Spotlight: Chamomile Health Benefits | Home with Willow | Katie Emmitt

 

     Chamomile (Chamomile recutita) is an aromatic annual plant native to Europe. There are two kinds – mostly used interchangeably: Roman & German.

     Chamomile health benefits include: anti anxiety, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antispasmodic properties. Read on to discover more about this amazing herb, its health benefits, where to purchase it, and how to use it!

Herbal Spotlight: Chamomile Health Benefits | Home with Willow | Katie Emmitt

Chamomile’s Key Healing Properties

     Anti Inflammatory

     Anti-Allergenic

     Antispasmodic

     Relaxant

     Carminative (Relieves Gas)

     Mild Bitter

Chamomile Health Benefits

Chamomile Health Benefits For Skin

For Cuts, Scrapes, and Abrasions

     Chamomile creams can reduce the “weeping” of fluid from cuts and scrapes. Reduces inflammation and skin irritation.

For Eczema

     Creams containing chamomile are able to increase the number of the immune cells that engulf and eliminate infectious microorganisms, but do not stimulate other immune cells that could aggravate eczema. 

For Diaper Rash

     Chamomile contains compounds that are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and promote tissue regeneration. 

For Hives & Psoriasis

     If chamomile is steamed or put into hot water to create an infusion, a substance called chamazulene is formed. Chamazulene is an antiallergenic. It prevents the formation of inflammatory molecules (leukotrienes) – thereby inhibiting the generation of toxic free radicals needed to trigger the allergic response. A compound in the herb’s essential oil also reinforces the effect of chamazulene by blocking the release of histamine!

Other Benefits

     Soothes skin, opens pores, and eliminates blackheads. Also good as a sitz bath for inflamed skin around the genitals (like on hemorrhoids, or for women who are post birth).

How to Use

     When using chamomile on the skin, you have a few options:

  • Create a compress with a steeped tea bag for specific areas
  • Use chamomile essential oil and add it to a cream or carrier oil and apply topically
  • Buy a pre made cream containing chamomile
  • Create an infusion and put it in a sitz bath or bath tub to cover a larger area

 

When using on skin, look for products made with German chamomile as opposed to Roman Chamomile. On occasion, Roman chamomile has shown to cause allergic skin reactions in certain people. 

Herbal Spotlight: Chamomile Health Benefits | Home with Willow | Katie Emmitt

Chamomile Health Benefits for Female Reproductive Health

For Endometrial Cancer

     Chamomile contains apigenin, a chemical that prevents the production of proteins that allow cancer cells to anchor to new sites. Aipegenin also counteracts inflammatory reactions that are necessary for new tumors to get their own blood supply. 

PMS & Uterine Cramping

     Chamomile is great for treating irregular menstruation. It also contains spirometer – a very strong antispasmodic that relaxes aching & tense muscles. For that reason, it is also a great treatment for uterine cramping and premenstrual symptoms. (One of my favorites when I’m suffering from menstrual cramps).

How to Use

     For these applications, I recommend a tincture or strong infusion (4 tsp dried chamomile to 2 cups steaming hot filtered water). 

Chamomile Health Benefits For Digestive Health

For IBS, Gas, Nausea, and Digestion

    Chamomile’s anti spasmodic properties make it a great treatment for nausea, IBS, and other inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract like Chron’s disease. Additionally, it is a carminative – which means it’s helpful in reducing gas and bloating. 

     Since the 1st century AD, chamomile has been used to aid in digestion – typically consumed as an after meal drink. It can help with indigestion, acidity, gas, bloating, nausea, gastritis, etc.

For Peptic Ulcers

     Another common use for chamomile: Peptic Ulcers. Chamomile’s anti inflammatory and antihistamine actions soothe inflammation throughout the digestive tract. This herb also contains a substance that counteracts infection with Helicobacter pylori – the bacteria associated with a majority of peptic ulcer cases. If the peptic ulcers are accompanied by diarrhea, chamomile can also help speed recovery – especially when paired with a high fiber diet.

How to Use

     Teas (infusions) will be your best bet when it comes to dealing with digestive health. Tea should be drank daily for several weeks – particularly after meals – for best results. For IBS, 1 tsp of tincture can be diluted in 1/2 cup of water and drank three times a day. Chamomile tea & ginger tea are my favorites for curing nausea.

Chamomile Health Benefits For Allergies & Upper Respiratory Issues

For Allergies, Asthma, and Upper Respiratory Infections

     For any inflammation of the mucous membranes of the throat and airways – inhaling steamed chamomile can be extremely beneficial. As I mentioned earlier, when chamomile is steamed or placed in hot water, a substance called chamazulene (anti-allergenic) is formed. It can be very effective in reducing inflammation and histamine levels. 

To Use
  • Create an infusion (4 tsp dried chamomile leaves in 2 cups steaming hot water). Drink the infusion and inhale the steam as you drink.
  • Create your infusion and pour into a bowl. With a towel over your head, lean over the bowl of water to steam your face and inhale the vapors.

Chamomile Health Benefits for Anxiety, Stress, & Insomnia

For Anxiety, Stress, and Insomnia

     As a mild sedative, chamomile works great at battling anxiety, stress, and sleeplessness. Laboratory tests have shown that inhaling the vapors of chamomile’s essential oil reduces the body’s production of adrenocorticotropichormone (otherwise known as stress hormones). Inhaling the essential oil lowers stress and even makes other drugs like valium more effective. Chamomile is mild and safe to use on children who have difficulty sleeping. Drinking a strong chamomile & lavender tea is my go-to when I am feeling restless or anxious at night.

To Use
  • Create an infusion and drink before bedtime, when stressed, or anxious.
  • Use an essential oil diffusor with chamomile essential oil.
  • Keep a small bottle of chamomile essential oil with you to smell throughout the day.
  • Take a tincture before bedtime, or during times of increased stress.

Warnings For Use

When using on skin, look for products made with German chamomile as opposed to Roman Chamomile. On occasion, Roman chamomile has shown to cause allergic skin reactions in certain people. 

Chamomile contains natural blood thinners known as coumarins. Since these compounds are similar to the prescription drug warfarin (Coumadin), avoid chamomile teas when taking this drug.

Herbal Spotlight: Chamomile Health Benefits | Home with Willow | Katie Emmitt

Where to buy Chamomile

    Chamomile tea can easily be purchased at most grocery stores. My favorite for nerves and anxiety is shown below. For loose leaf tea, tinctures, creams, and essential oils, you may need to visit your local health foods or vitamin & supplement store. 

     Below, you can find my favorite bulk bag of loose leaf chamomile flowers. This bag can last for an extremely long time – if only using for tea – but you can also use the dried flowers to create infused oils, baths, etc. 

How to Make A Chamomile Infusion

Boil 2 cups of filtered water and

pour over 4 teaspoons of Dried Chamomile Flowers

How to Make A Chamomile Infused Oil

  1. Take dried chamomile flowers (any amount) and place in a Sterilized jar with a tight fitting lid. More flowers will mean a stronger oil. 
  2. Pour olive oil over the flowers – they should be completely submersed. The oil should reach within 1/2″ of the top of the jar.
  3. Screw the lid on tightly, and place the jar in a sunny windowsill for about two weeks. Periodically, take the lid off and wipe off any condensation – any moisture could cause the oil to go rancid.
  4. When finished, strain with a cheesecloth. Use directly from the jar.

My Favorite Herbal Medicine Reference Books

     These are my absolute favorite books to reference when I’m trying to decide which herb is going to help whatever ailment I might have. They’re also extremely informative when it comes to learning how to make infusions, tinctures, and things of that nature. All of the information in this article was referenced from these three books:

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