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Plant Profile: Chamomile



Plant Profile- Chamomile, Matricaria recutita


Chamomile has subtly infused her way into households and apothecaries around the world. She is the most commonly used medicinal herb with uses deeply rooted in folk traditions as well as in modern clinical studies. Chamomile blossoms exert a gentle yet resolute medicine that becomes a remarkable ally for tonic use as well as acute first aid scenarios. It’s sweet and pleasant aroma lends itself to be an herb particularly well suited for children and the elderly where compliance may be an issue, though is just as effective for those robust in health. Belonging to the asteracea family, the energetics of the sun burn bright in this plant illuminating the radiant warmth and expansive growth of the solar influence of summer time to be enjoyed even in the darkest times of the year.


Garden Care & Harvest: Chamomile that is harvested from your garden beds brings great medicine to the landscape and the tea cup.Chamomile is grown as an annual, though will self seed readily in the garden to enjoy for seasons to come. If you would rather not have her come back, you can make sure to harvest all of the blossoms before they have a chance to set seed or simply pluck them out of the garden beds as they don’t give you much trouble in doing so. Chamomile likes to be in full sun and well draining soil with average to good fertility. For medicine, harvest the blossoms as they come into full bloom and dry them in a dark well ventilated area on screens with a very tight weave as the little bits of the blossoms like to fall through cracks. In the PNW you can get a continual harvest of the plant through early summer into summer before it will eventually tire itself out.


Parts Used: Blossoms, in flower


Planetary Ruler: The Sun


Element: Water


Preparations: Tea infusions, poultice, compress, infused oil, infused baths, tincture/glyceride


Physical Medicinal Attributes: Chamomile provides a soothing sense of wellbeing to our bodies and mind through it’s calming and gentle nervine qualities. Taken on it’s own or blended with other relaxing herbs, chamomile imparts a simple and restful nature where we can embrace the softer parts of our being and truly feel relaxed. As a more subtle nervine, chamomile is a beautiful remedy to work with for children and elderly where herbs that are more strong in this action would not be recommended.

Any and all manner of digestive complaints can be soothed and supported with this plant as her ability to work with our digestion is so expansive. Chamomile's bitter quality is somewhat more subdued than other bitter plants which makes it particularly appealing when considering tonic support for digestion as the use of stronger bitters are dramatically more cooling and drying in nature. This bitter quality promotes optimal digestion and assimilation of nutrients by promoting production and secretion of gastric juices and enzymes throughout our stomach, gall bladder, pancreas and liver to flow as they should. The essential oil compounds that create the pleasing aroma of chamomile are strongly antispasmodic and soothing to the muscles and tissue that make up the digestive tract and is specifically indicated in scenarios of painful indigestion that is usually accompanied with gas, bloating, colic, acid reflux, IBS or low appetite. You can work with the strength of the bitterness of chamomile with how long you steep it for, a lighter infusion of 5-10 minutes will have a lighter bitter quality then one that is steeped for 15-20 minutes, a nice and rather flexible quality that can be fun to experiment with.


Chamomile works directly with the nervous system and digestive system in many ways. Considering the intricate connection between these systems by way of our enteric brain, our gut is particularly sensitive to stress responses and vice versa. Our emotional wellbeing is reflection in how we are digesting our food and/or life experiences. Chamomile's medicine is powerful in this regard as it is working on individual and communal terms to support us into health by influencing these processes holistically.


Chamomile's anti spasmodic and anti inflammatory responses are a valuable remedy for external application as well. An infused oil, poultice or tea bag are a lovely way to sooth itchy, red and inflamed skin and muscle conditions. A simple tea bag of chamomile blossoms laid over the eyes are a particularly helpful ally when working with dry, itchy eyes or styes. On this vein, chamomile is a lovely herb to welcome into our skin and hair routine. I like to make an infusion to use as a hair rinse and will grind up chamomile and lavender blossoms with oats and add a bit of honey for a luxurious and deeply soothing face mask.



Spiritual Medicinal Attributes: The solar nature of this plant invites in the warming rays of summer to uplift and bring light into your being. A simple ritual of winding down your day with a pinch of blossoms and your favorite mug becomes an invitation to assimilate the experiences of the day through quiet communion with the moment and this special herb. As the tea steeps, sit comfortably and find your breath and allow it to lull you deeper into your body as the sweet aroma of chamomile connects you deeper into your senses. Allow the warmth and soft wellbeing that this plant imbibes to release the chatter of the mind and embrace the simple nature of inner peace.


Traditional use of infusing the babies first bath in chamomile blossoms is a lovely way to bring the warmth and healing of this herb into the heart and body of a new born babe. It is a beautiful way to bridge the portal of being birthed into the world to be held in the warm embrace of this magical herb. Taking a chamomile bath isn't just for the new born, we all need to be held and uplifted throughout our life and the simple ritual of a chamomile bath can bring this sensation no matter where we find ourselves.




In sweet blossoms and solar light,

Sabrina

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