Chamomile is known as both a pretty flower and an ancient healer. The word "chamomile" is derived from the Greek "chamos" (ground) and "melos" (apple), referring to chamomile's low growth habit and apple scented blossoms. Chamomile is one of the oldest favorites amongst garden herbs, and its reputation as a medicinal plant shows little signs of abatement.
In traditional folk medicine, chamomile has been promoted as a treatment for a long list of ailments. Today, it is most commonly promoted as a sedative to induce sleep and to soothe gastrointestinal discomfort caused by spasms and inflammation. Some proponents also claim chamomile calms the mind, eases stress, reduces pain from swollen joints and rheumatoid arthritis, speeds the healing of wounds, and can be used to reduce skin inflammation caused by sunburn, rashes, eczema, and dermatitis. The herb is also used to treat menstrual disorders, migraine headaches, eye irritation, and hemorrhoids.
Chamomile is a wonderful relaxant for the nervous system and digestion, and a perfect remedy for babies and children. Chamomile relaxes smooth muscle throughout the body. In the digestive tract chamomile relieves tension and spasm, colic, abdominal pain, wind and distension. By regulating peristalsis, chamomile can treat both diarrhea and constipation. Chamomile is famous for soothing all kinds of digestive upsets, particularly when related to stress and tension. The bitters stimulate the flow of bile and the secretion of digestive juices, enhancing the appetite and improving a sluggish digestion.
Chamomile's high content of the amino acid tryptophan has been used for sleeplessness & insomnia since the 1600's. Chamomile is an excellent herb for people that complain about every little thing as well as for those who have the urge to urinate constantly. It helps to restore an exhausted nervous system. It is served in some European hospitals to calm patients. Use Chamomile tea to treat the headaches due to caffeine withdrawal. It is also wonderful for soothing an upset stomach. Chamomile is frequently used as a mild sedative, to calm the nerves reduce anxiety, and induce a state of pleasant relaxation without disrupting normal function or interfering with motor coordination. Chamomile is a carminative, calming upset stomachs and easing digestion. Chamomile's effectiveness is also due to its anti-inflammatory properties, soothing ulcers and reducing gastritis and other mucous membrane inflammations. One of the most popular uses for chamomile has been in creams and lotions for the skin. Treatment with chamomile helps burns, wounds, infections, acne, etc. to heal more rapidly. Chamomile has good anti-bacterial action, particularly against staph and strep toxins, as well as anti-fungal action against Candida albicans.
Chamomile helps relieve nausea and sickness in pregnancy, relax uterine spasm and relieve painful periods, reduce menopausal symptoms, relieve mastitis, premenstrual headaches and migraines, and treat absence of periods due to stress. Chamomile can be drunk throughout childbirth to relax tension and lessen the pain of contractions. As a general pain reliever, chamomile can be taken for headaches, migraines, neuralgia, toothache, earache, achiness during flu, cramps, rheumatic and gouty pains. Chamomile also helps resolve inflammation in arthritic joints. Recent research suggests that chamomile acts as a natural antihistamine. Chamomile can be used for asthma and hay fever and externally for eczema. Externally chamomile is an excellent antiseptic healer for wounds, ulcers, sores, burns and scalds. Steam inhalations help relieve asthma, hay fever, catarrh and sinusitis. Chamomile can also be used as a cream for sore nipples and a douche for vaginal infections. Sitting in a bowl of chamomile tea is wonderfully soothing for cystitis and hemorrhoids. Chamomile also makes a good antiseptic eyewash for sore inflamed eyes and a lotion for inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and ringworm.