Chamomile means “earth apple” and good quality essential oil has a wonderfully subtle “applesque” aroma.
 

 Chamomile for Digestion

It is also known as “Mother of the Gut” and quite rightly so as one of its key actions is to relax the smooth muscle of the intestine and provide relief from colic, stomach cramps and bloating.
 

Chamomile for Sleep

Chamomile is mildly sedative and because it relaxes the autonomic nervous system it can be a useful tool to get the body ready to enter the Land of Nod.   For restless children a combination of lemon balm and chamomile can be really effective in getting them off to sleep.
 

 Hay fever

Recent studies have shown that chamomile can reduce histamine and stabilise mast cells.  This supports traditional use of inhaling the steam from an infusion to reduce hay fever.
 

 Eczema

Topically, a tepid version of the tea can help reduce inflammation and itching associated with some types of eczema and this can also be used as an eyewash to treat mild conjunctivitis (just make sure you strain it really well and cool it before using).
 
This herb works really well as a tea.  Try to find an organic version and use at least 3 teaspoons steeped in 250mL of hot water for 10 minutes to ensure a therapeutic effect.
 

 Safety

If you’re not one of the few people who are allergic to plants of the daisy family, chamomile is one of the safest herbs going around and can be used by children and during pregnancy.
 
This herb is so versatile and deserves to be a staple in every home’s natural first aid kit.

Norelle Hentschel is a degree qualified Naturopath and operates a clinic in Crows Nest, North Sydney. She enjoys helping people feel better and can assist with a broad range of health conditions or general health maintenance.

 

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