By Sarah Dafoe
Chamomile nobile is one of the earliest documented botanicals with medicinal purposes and is best known by herbalists for its ability to be made into a tea, helping with sleep and soothing nerves, as well as relaxing muscles and providing mild sedative properties.
Chamomile is a gentle yet powerful plant which can be given to children as well and is particularly good for ‘back to school’ time, relieving nervous tummies, anxiety, insomnia and crankiness, both in children and their parents:)
History of Chamomile
In traditional medicine, Chamomile was worked with topically to treat wounds, irritations and infections. Taken internally, it calmed the nerves, promoted sleep, and eased gastrointestinal upset.
The name Chamomile comes from the Greek word meaning “ground apple” as its smell is similar to apple blossoms. Its history dates back at least to ancient Egypt, where Chamomile tea was prescribed as a cold and fever remedy and was prepared as a skin cosmetic.
The Romans also enjoyed Chamomile as a flavoring in beverages, as well as an incense and medicinal herb. In the 19th Century an English botanist discovered the plant growing wild in the Roman Coliseum, which was how it received its name “Roman Chamomile”.
In Europe during Medieval times, it’s petals were strewn about at gatherings to create pleasant odors and used to flavor beer, prior to hops being discovered.
Norsemen would create a shampoo with it, to add luster to their braided locks and in modern day Spain the flower is called “manzanilla” (also meaning “little apple”) and has long been used to flavor a light sherry called by the same name.
Chamomile is not native to the Americas, but was brought over and planted by colonists. Eventually, the seeds made it into the wild. It can now be found in yards and fields, as well as in the garden.
This article is excerpted from the August issue of the Herbal Collective. To read the full article on 6 ways chamomile is used and how to make therapeutic chamomile tea, get your subscription to the magazine online.