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Chamomile (Roman) Chamaemelum nobile (German) Matricaria recutita

German Chamomile Matricaria recutita - An annual, strongly aromatic plant up to 2 metres tall, with delicate feathery leaves and daisy-like flowers on single stems.

Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile - Perennial, stocky plant up to 25cms high, with feathery leaves. The daisy-like flowers are larger than those of the German chamomile, and the whole plant has an apple-like fragrance. Was traditionally used as a strewing herb, and is probably best known as a fragrant lawn plant :

“A chamomile bed, a chamomile bed,
the more it is trodden, The more it will spread “

Both the Roman and German Chamomiles have similar actions, and the plants medical virtues have been appreciated since the time of Dioscorides. The German Chamomile is slightly more anti-inflammatory and analgesic, whilst the Roman Chamomile has a slightly more bitter taste. The Greeks knew the herb as ’ground apple’ because of its characteristic (and powerful!) smell. To the Anglo Saxons Chamomile was ‘maythen,’ one of the nine scared herbs given to mankind by Woden. Chamomile was also regarded as the ‘plant’s physician’ or ‘plant doctor’ because it promoted the health of surrounding plants, and revives ailing plants set near them.

Both Chamomiles are used for treating insomnia, nausea, and stomach upsets, stress related tension, nervous tension and migraines - and chamomile tea is well known for its calming properties (unless of course you have too much), as well as menstrual and menopausal problems.

Chamomile makes an effective remedy for acne, eczema, allergies, burns, cuts, insect bites, dermatitis, inflammations and rashes. An infusion of the chamomile heads makes a soothing wash for sore eyes, or add a strong infusion of the herb and flowers, or a few drops of the essential oils (mixed in a little carrier oil or milk), to your bath to calm inflamed, irritated skin, and sunburn; ease muscular and joint pains; and de-stress the nervous system.

Perhaps one of the best known uses in beauty treatments, is the chamomiles lightening properties for fair hair - make up a strong infusion of the herb by simmering two or three heaped tablespoons of dried herb in a pint of water for 20 minutes, strain, and cool to a bearable temperature before swabbing all over your hair and combing through. Relax for as long as you wish and then shampoo out. Save a little of the infusion to use as a final rinse, towel off excess water, and leave to dry naturally.

“To comfort the braine smell the chamomil” - old Scottish saying.

! Avoid excessive use of essential oil during pregnancy !


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