Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Earthnotes
Herb Library

Back to Herb Menu     Back to Index

DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.



THE CHAMOMILES

For the herbalist there are only two varieties of consequence: German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile. Both belong to the Compositae Family, among whose members are ragweed and asters (those with allergies take note). German Chamomile is an annual plant with a hollow central disk, whereas Roman Chamomile is a perennial plant long used as lawn material in England and possessing a solid central disk. Both are used interchangeably in herbalism, although some herbalists will prefer one over the other which is strictly a matter of prejudice or perhaps supply wherein the source of one type is superior to the source of the other in alleviating symptoms. Of the Roman Chamomile, there is a large number of herbalists who prefer the Double Flowering (C.n. 'Flore Pleno') variety which is sterile, but contains less irritating components. The distilled oil of these Chamomiles is blue, the German being deeper and darker in color.



CHAMOMILE, GERMAN
COMPOSITAE
aka Camomile, Camomille (Fr), Garden Chamomile, Hungarian Chamomile, Kamillen (Ger),
Mayweed, Pin Heads, Scented Mayweed, Sweet False Chamomile, Wild Chamomile

(Matricaria recutita syn Matricaria chamomilla)
imageImage
Also see: Chamomile, Roman

!!CAUTION!!
• UTERINE STIMULANT - DO NOT CONSUME THE TEA OR THE OIL DURING PREGNANCY!
• Avoid with heavy periods! Can increase bleeding!
• Oil subject to legal restrictions in some countries.
• If allergic to ragweed or other members of the Compositae family, you should approach
use of Chamomile tea or other Chamomile products with caution.
• Long term or frequent use can develop into an allergy over time.
• Although once used as an eyebath, the infusion applied near the eyes could irritate or
cause allergic conjunctivitis.
• Handling the plant can cause a rash.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: AVOID if using BLOOD-THINNING MEDICATIONS.

CONTAINS: Volatile oil (0.24 to 1.9%), fixed oils and resins (3%), 9% sugars, 4% starch, absorbable calcium, mucilage, azulenes (blue-colored), chamazulene, isadol, bisabolol, dicyclic ether, flavone glycosides (apigenin, rutin luteolin, quercimeritin), bitter glycosides, coumarins (umbelliferone, herniarin), en-yn-dicycloether, matricin, isorhamnetin, kaempferol, polysaccharides, sesquiterpene lactones, valerianic acid, salicylate, tryptophan, amino acids.
WATER: Fresh = 81.2%; Air Dried = 10.6%
BASED on ZERO MOISTURE per 100 gm contains: 2.7 mg aluminum, 6.2%ash, 762 mg calcium, 0.06 mg chromium, 0.58 mg cobalt, 1.7 mg iron, 292 mg magnesium, 0.52 mg manganese, 14.9 mg niacin, 322 mg phosphorus, 1,320 mg potassium, 0.43 mg riboflavin, 0.078 mg selenium, 0.31 mg silicon, 258 mg sodium, 0.08 mg thiamine, 1.0 mg tin, 365 IU vitamin A, 26.7 mg vitamin C, trace mg zinc.

An erect, spindly, feathery looking annual to 2 feet which is native to England, Wales, and southern Europe, and naturalized in the eastern United States, Mexico, Cuba, and South America. In its natural habitat it can be found in open meadows. Grown as a crop in Belgium, France, Russia, Egypt, Bulgaria, Hungary, Argentina, Germany, and England. LEAVES are somewhat less refined that the Roman Chamomile being fern-like, alternate and sparse on the stem with a single terminal FLOWER head which consists of a yellow, hollow, raised receptacle (central disk) surrounded by white rays, the whole looking like a small daisy. FRUIT is a tiny pale, straw-colored seed with 5 ribs. ROOT is fibrous.

Astrologically ruled by the Sun.



PROPAGATION: By SEED in light to loamy soil in sun in spring or fall. Hardy annual will self-sow in southern portions of zone 5 and south, although not reliably further north. When young, water at the base of the seedlings to avoid knocking them over and getting them caught in the mud.
NEEDS: Full sun preferably, but will perform in part sun. Average soil (rich soil will produce fewer flowers), with good drainage. Does not like competition; keep weeded. Plants have a natural tendency to get leggy in hot weather.
FLOWERS: Small daisy-like blooms with cone-like yellow center from June to August. Self-seeded plants will bloom from June onward if kept harvested.
HARVEST: FLOWERS - just as rays are turning back from the central disk.
PART USED: FLOWERS: fresh, dried or frozen. Must be refreshed yearly. Best if frozen to preserve oils. OIL.
FORMS USED: Infusion, liquid extracts, oil, massage oil, poultice, compress, creams, salves.
SOLVENT: Alcohol, water
RELATED SPECIES:
PINEAPPLE WEED (M. matricariodes): Lacks white ray florets. Not used medicinally.



USES

MEDICINAL:
Currently used for: Lack of appetite, bronchitis, colds, coughs, as a deodorant, digestive aid, digestive tract inflammations and spasms, for sore throats, fever, liver and gallbladder problems, skin inflammations, wounds and burns, a tendency to infections, PMS, tension, anxiety or nervous disposition as a calmative.

Antiseptic, analgesic, antifungal, antibacterial (ie. against gram positive bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus), anti-inflammatory, aromatic, astringent, deodorant, diaphoretic, emetic (strong warm infusion), emmenogogue, vulnerary, nervine, tonic, mildly laxative (works by relaxing bowels), antispasmodic (works on peripheral nerves and muscles), peripheral vasodilatory, anti-allergy (steam inhalation), antithrombotic (due to coumarins), anti-flatulant, bitter, digestive system relaxant (stimulates normal digestion), calmative (has been used to soothe overstimulation in children) and as a mild sedative; affects urinary, nervous, digestive, and circulatory systems with strongest actions seeming to be on the kidneys and liver, but also considered to stimulate skin metabolism. Stimulates the immune system and promotes healing. The oil contains analgesic and anti-inflammatory components which have been used to heal burns and ulcerations and infections. The flowers have been combined with crushed poppy flowers to use as a poultice for pain.

In CHINESE MEDICINE it is considered bitter, spicy, neutral affecting liver, stomach, and lungs.

Has been used internally or added to the bath for hyperactive children as an aid to dispel tension and calm muscular and nervous systems. Also teething, colic, measles, vertigo, hysteria, stress, nervous tension, sleeplessness, anxiety, and hyper-sensitivity.

Has been used for stress and drug withdrawal. Chewing the dried flower heads has been used as a means of breaking the smoking habit. The infusion has been used to stop delirium tremens.

Has been used to treat candida albicans.

As a digestive aid has been used for indigestion, upset stomach, heartburn, colic, gastritis, diverticulitis, colon problems and as a tonic for poor appetite. Has been used to calm the vagus nerve (often triggered by attacks of esophagitis/acid reflux); also colicky or spasmodic pain, anorexia, dyspepsia, nervous dyspepsia, spastic colon, diarrhea (with a nervous component), flatulence, travel sickness, inflammation of the upper digestive tract, overactive digestion, ulcers (as adjunct), gastritis. Has been combined with demulcent herbs like marshmallow to treat acid reflux and gastritis. Has been combined with Ginger for digestive upsets.

In Europe the following Roll-treatment method has been used to treat ulcers: A strong infusion is made by combining 3 tsp of chamomile in 1 cup of water; this is taken warm in the morning on an empty stomach. The patient lies on his/her back for 10 minutes, then turns onto the right side and remains in that position for 10 minutes, followed by a roll onto the left side where he/she remains for 10 minutes, then onto the stomach for another 10 minutes, and finally onto the back for a 30 minute rest with a warm chamomile pack on the abdomen. This is repeated for 10 days and during that time only chamomile tea or water is taken as a beverage, although lemon balm, peppermint, caraway, or fennel can be combined with the chamomile tea.

Has been used for convulsions and infant convulsions.

Has a long history of use for female problems such as painful menstrual periods, menopausal symptoms and depression, leukorrhea (douche), lack of periods, female conditions involving tension, spasm or pain associated with the reproductive system, also associated headaches and migraines. Infusion has been added to bath water for migraine and mastitis. Infusion or ointment has been used for sore and/or cracked nipples. Has been combined with Ginger for menstrual cramps and other types of painful spasms. (NOTE: With migraine, releasing the tension in the back and neck with heat and/or - preferably both - massage will usually ease the pain to some degree. I find a shoulder massage, where I store my stress, nearly removes the pain of tension headaches entirely without the use of anything else.)

As a poultice or wash the tea/infusion has been used for relief and reduction of redness, to prevent gangrene, muscle cramps, pain and swelling of skin and tissues, including acne (to soothe and make smooth), sunburn (in the bath), sensitive skin, inflamed skin, abscesses, hemorrhoids, nettle rash, eczema, sties, seborrhoea, and psoriasis. A wash of the tea has been used for open wounds and sores. To reduce inflammation, leg ulcers, sores and swellings it has been applied hot and wet in paste form (a small amount of boiling water is added to the flowers and blended in mortar and pestle - OR - a large infusion is made and steeped for 15 minutes; strained, then added to the bath to heal body sores and aches). Has also been used to remove weariness and ease pain. ALSO: the rubbing oil has been used to reduce inflammation on tissues and heal wounds (antiseptic properties) as well as for swellings, tough skin, and aching joints. For hemorrhoids and wounds a salve has also been employed. Hot packs have been applied for carpal tunnel syndrome and bunions. Has been combined with Bittersweet as an ointment for bruises, sprains, callouses, and corns.

Has been used to treat neuralgia (hot tea bags placed over the site of the pain); also earache and toothache.

Has been used as a tonic for general debility and in convalescence. The infusion has also been used as an enema.

Has been used for kidney and bladder problems. Has been used in the VAPOR BATH (see under 'DOSE' below) to aid in the retention of urine in older men; a blanket is wrapped around the person being treated to create a tent and the treatment is said to stimulate the flow or urine. Has been used as a tonic for jaundice and dropsy (the juice of ROMAN Chamomile made into a syrup using white wine).

Has been used for fever of cold or flu, intermittant fever, typhoid fever, and as steam inhalation for congestion and inflammed mucous membranes. A slice of ginger has been added to the infusion for colds; spikenard has been added for coughs.

Infusion has been used as a mouthwash for chronic infective conditions accessible to direct contact (ie. gingivitis), as a gargle for sore throat as an eyebath, including conjunctivitis and as a hot pack for inflammation of the tear duct (see 'Caution' above), and for teething. For eyestrain 2 chamomile tea bags have been placed in hot water for 2 to 3 minutes, then placed on the eyes (see 'Caution' above).

For anti-allergy (said to reduce anaphylactic shock; applicaton by steam inhalation).

The ancient Egyptians infused the flowers in oil and used the oil as a massage for sore muscles.

In Folk Medicine chamomile poultices were placed on cancers.

Infusion used as foot or hand bath for sweaty feet and hands, also for athlete's foot (fungal infection).

DOSE: TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY
!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
FRESH FLOWERS = 2 to 4 Tbsp.
DRIED FLOWERS = 1 to 3 tsp (3 to 6 grams)
INFUSION = 1 oz of dried flower heads to 1 pint of water just off the boil (never boil!); KEEP COVERED WHILE STEEPING (15 to 30 minutes) so the oils are not lost. Taken a mouthful at a time. OR - 1 Tbsp flowers with 1 cup of water and taken every 1/2 hour, dose being 2 tsp for an adult, 1 tsp for children.
TINCTURE = 1/4 to 1 tsp taken 3 times daily, OR, 10 to 20 drops in water.
EXTRACT = 1/4 oz (4.5 g) dried flower heads added to 1 oz. (22 ml) alcohol and 1 oz. water (23 ml) - 1:8 ratio. Allow to steep in a covered jar, shaking daily, for 10 days to 2 weeks. Taken 10 to 20 drops in water 3 times daily. Can also be rubbed on skin irritations and used in bath water for hemorrhoids.
OIL B.P. = 1/2 to 3 drops on a sugar cube.
OIL of CHAMOMILE/MASSAGE OIL/RUBBING OIL = Place 3 oz of dried flowers into glass jar. Cover with 1½ pints of olive or sweet almond or other suitable vegetable oil. Place in sun for 2 weeks or more (till herb is used up); strain and bottle. OR, for a quicker method see procedure for making SALVES and follow the steps but omit the beeswax. Just strain and bottle the oil. Used for facials, masks, compresses, body wraps, massage, bath, and hair care.
CHAMOMILE WINE = Add 1 handful of dried flowers to 1 bottle of white wine and steep for 7 to 10 days, then strain. Taken in tablespoon doses for upset stomach.
VAPOR BATH for the lower abdomen (including menstrual cramps) and irritated anus and genitals = Used to relax abdominal cramps as well as cramps in the kidney and bladder areas. Use a shallow basin and place it inside the toilet, but above the water level. Inside the basin place a hot chamomile infusion (1 cup flowers to 1 quart water). The patient then sits over the steam, wrapped with a blanket to create a tent. OBSERVE PROPER PRECAUTIONS around hot liquids to avoid burns and scalds!
COMPRESS = 1½ cups hot water poured over 2 tsp of flowers; cover and steep 15 minutes, then strain. Soak a cloth in the warm infusion and apply to affected area throughout the day.

HOMEOPATHIC USES:
Used for acidity, anger, asthma (with psychological basis), congestion, overstimulation from coffee, colic, convulsions, cough, cramp, croup, toothache, diarrhea, dsymenorrhea, dyspepsia, earache, blepharitis, opthamalia, fainting, fever, flatulance, gout, headache, hernia, flu, jaundice, mastitis, milk fever, miscarriage, mumps, neuralgia, peritonitis, problem pregnancy, rheumatism, sciatica, ulcers, uterine problems, hysteria, whooping cough, teething, irritability, Coeliac Disease (2 to 5 drops Tormentavena 3 to 5 times daily).

VETERINARY:
The infusion has been used by naturopathic vets as an eye bath for discharging eyes in puppies and dogs.
Has been used in combination with other herbs for fever in dogs (pill form).
For diarrhea in dogs 2 Tbsp of infusion have been given 3 times daily.
Has been used in combination with other flea-deterrent herbs in powder form as an insect repellent. A cold infusion can also be spritzed lightly and worked into the coat.
The tea has been used for stomach upset in dogs.
Has been used for livestock to treat blood and skin disorders, aches and pains, internal and external inflammation, constipation, delay of coming into heat, acid uterus, and female genital problems; DOSE being 1 handful of flowers in 2 pints of water with 1 Tbsp of honey; given morning and night while fasting. The infusion is also used as an eye lotion.

AROMATHERAPY:
NOTE: never use distilled oils directly on skin without first diluting adequately with olive or sweet almond oils. See DOSE above for producing a safe form of Chamomile Oil for direct application.
Calms, relaxes, refreshes. Inhalation of the vaporized oil used to relieve anxiety and depression associated with menopause, general depression, irritability, insomnia, hysteria, and hypersensitivity.
Long used in the Middle East as a massage oil.

CULINARY:
A beverage tea is made from the flowers (1 tsp flowers to 1 cup water; steeped 5 minutes); has been commonly served after a meal as a digestive aid.
Is used as a flavoring in alcoholic beverages (ie. vermouth and Manzanilla, a Spanish sherry), bitter tonics, teas, desserts, and candies. Is also used in the making of liqueurs like Benedictine and D.O.M. as well as in the making of beer.
The essential oil is used to enhance the fruit flavors of ice cream, candy, baked goods, and chewing gum.
With the inclusion of honey for sweetness, the tea is combined with pinapple and papaya juices for a summer drink.
Before refrigeration it was common to immerse spoiled meat in chamomile tea to eliminate the rancid odor.
CAMBRIC TEA: (Popular British tea served to children) A combination of 1/2 Chamomile tea and 1/2 sweetened milk.

COSMETIC:
Chamomile is added to commercial cosmetics as an anti-allergy agent, also to reduce puffiness, for dry, sensitive skin, enlarged capillaries, and acne. Also added to hair preparations to condition and lighten hair. Has been combined with Soapwort as a shampoo for fair hair.
COSMETIC INFUSION Take a handful of blossoms and steep in 1 quart boiled water for 15 minutes. Used in the bath to soothe or for skin problems; as a skin lotion to soften rough skin and as a skin cleanser (spend blossoms can be used as a face pack for oily skin); as shampoo and rinse for blonds (lightens blond hair). Also as a rinse for fragile hair.
CHAMOMILE-FENNEL WASH for dry, puffy skin: Combine 1/2 oz each of Chamomile flowers and bruised Fennel seeds. Place in a pot with 1 cup of cold water. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, then bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and apply warm to skin.
COMPRESS of INFUSION is used to soothe irritated skin and to reduce puffiness; also for sensitive skin, inflamed skin, eczema and seborrhoea.
FACIAL = Pour water just off the boil over blossoms in large bowl, create a tent around the head with a towel and let steam drift over face. Use common sense and caution around boiling water to avoid injury.

CRAFT:
Used in potpourris and as wreath material.

HOUSEHOLD:
Cold tea added to water for cut flowers will extend their life.

INSECT:
Use dried flowers in dog bed against fleas.
Make insect repellent by making tea and splashing over skin. Tincture can also be used.

HORTICULTURE:
Soak blossoms in cold water for a day or two; strain and spritz liquid to prevent damping-off and control diseases of young seedlings. Proven remedy. Effective due to its antifungal properties.

CURIOSITY:
Combine 1/3 chamomile, 1/3 lemon balm, 1/3 chervil and use as a warm compress. Said to cure hoofrot in animals (?).

OTHER:
Was used as a strewing herb in Medieval times to disguise unpleasant odors in the home, public buildings, and from the unwashed population.
Flowers used in herbal smoking mixtures and the dried leaves as snuff. Oil is used to scent tobacco.
The oil is used in perfumery.
The oil has been used as a solvent when applying platinum to porcelain and glass.
Used in the practice of Earth religions as a 'fluid condenser' by combining Chamomile flowers with an equal part of Eyebright in a cup of liquid, then plunging seven burning willow sticks into the liquid; after straining through 4 purified layers of linen to represent the elements, it is stored for future use. In similar religious practices it is regarded as a protective herb and planted in the herb garden as a guardian herb to the other plants. It is also used in amulets and charms to guarantee success of any project. Also used as incense in religious ceremony or as a drink taken by the priest in a ritual cup; said to make one aware of the 'Father of Nature'.

COMPANION:
Cabbage, onions, peppermint, but will benefit anything it grows near. Nicknamed the 'Plant Physician'.

LANGUAGE:
Wisdom. Fortitude.



CHAMOMILE, ROMAN
COMPOSITAE
aka Babunah (Ind), Barnyard Daisy, Corn Feverfew, Earth Apple, English Chamomile, Ground Apple,
Low Chamomile, Maythen (Saxon), Mayweed, Plant's Physician, Romashka (Russ), Sailor's Buttons,
True Chamomile, Turkey Weed, Whig Plant

(Anthemis nobilis syn Chamaemaelum nobile)
imageImage

!!CAUTION!!
• UTERINE STIMULANT - DO NOT CONSUME THE TEA OR THE OIL DURING PREGNANCY!
• Avoid with heavy periods! Can increase bleeding!
• Oil subject to legal restrictions in some countries.
• If allergic to ragweed or other members of the Compositae family, you should approach
use of Chamomile tea or other Chamomile products with caution.
• Long term or frequent use can develop into an allergy over time.
• Although once used as an eyebath, the infusion applied near the eyes could irritate
or cause allergic conjunctivitis.
• Handling the plant can cause a rash.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: AVOID if using BLOOD-THINNING MEDICATIONS.

A low growing perennial to 9 inches. FLOWERS have a solid receptacle (central disk) with white rays that appear at the end of the stems, often in pairs. An attractive ground cover well-known in England. FRUIT is a seed having 3 ribs.

ROMAN CHAMOMILE is used interchangably with German Chamomile for the same purposes. However, the oil contains less chamazulene (anti-inflammatory). The name is derived from the Greek 'kamai' (on the ground) and 'melon' (apple) - so, ground apple. In Spain it is called Manzanilla (little apple) and is used to flavor and alcoholic beverage by the same name. Among Pennsylvania Germans it is listed among sweat herbs (schwitzgegeider).

PROPAGATION: By SEED in spring or fall (water seedlings regularly until the area is filled in by the plants); by DIVISION in spring; by OFFSHOOTS or SETS as available. By LAYERING of runners. Plant 6 inches apart.
NEEDS: Water seedlings at the base to avoid knocking them over into the mud. In harsh winter areas, mulch over winter to protect.
RELATED VARIETIES:
STINKING CHAMOMILE aka DOG-FENNEL (Anthemis cotula): A common weed of rich, moist soil, barnyards, fallow fields, and roadsides found throughout the United States. The dried herb has been used in the past as a tonic, antiseptic, emmenogogue, sudorific, stimulant, anodyne and emetic. A strong decoction was once used to produce vomiting and sweating. The infusion has been used for migraines, scrophula, and hysteria. CAUTION! The fresh plant can cause dermatitis!
DYER'S CHAMOMILE (Anthemis tinctoria): Will produce a Yellow dye with an alum mordant; Khaki with alum and a second dyeing; gold with chrome.
CULTIVATED VARIETIES:
DOUBLE FLOWERING (C.n. 'Flore Pleno'): Sterile. Propagated by division. Preferred by some herbalists as being less irritating to the digestive tract. Requires a rich, moist, black garden loam.
TRENEAGUE aka LAWN CHAMOMILE (C.n. 'Treneague'): A variety which does not flower but is used extensively as a lawn covering.




©2000 & 2006 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

top