The Forager's Path - School of Botanical Studies

Plant Profile: Chamomile

Botanical Name:
Roman Chamomile: Chamaemelum nobilis
Both plants are therapeutic however Matricaria recutita is my personal favorite.
Matricaria refers to Motherly, recutita refers to Bounce Back, both good qualities to have in a healing herb.German Chamomile, Manzanilla, Matricaria recutita


Family: Compositae

Common Names:
Chamomile
Manzanilla

Part Used for Medicine:
Flowers

Habitat in Which it is Found/ Harvesting Season/ Special Considerations:
Native to neither the American Southwest nor North America, Chamomile is easily established in many flower beds. It is not found in the wild in the Four Corners area.

Energy & Tastes:
Bitter, drying, astringent, mildly cooling

Chemistry:
Yellow flowers contain flavonoids. Its aromatic oil is high in inflammatory modulating sequiterpenes.

Herbal Actions:
Nervine
Anti-inflammatory
Carminative
Aromatic bitter
Vulnerary

Indications:
Can be used both internally and topically.
Topically, its sesquiterpene content give it a reliable anti-inflammatory use for skin inflammation, insect bites, sunburn, eczema and psoriasis. Think of it for any inflammation, irritation or swelling.
A mild digestive bitter, chamomile also excels as an infusion for a nervous upset tummy
Its volatile oil content makes it useful as a carminative
Its relaxing effect can be used as a sleep aid if made as a strong infusion
The volatile oils give this plant a diuretic effect
A wet tea bag of this herb can be placed directly on the closed eye for relief of styes and pink eye (conjunctivitis)

Herbal Combos:
W/lemon balm and catnip for upset digestion
W/rose for any conditions that benefit from being soothed, cooled or have reduced inflammation

Safety Issues & Contraindications:
Famous for its inclusion in both the Peter Rabbit children’s story and Sleepy Time Celestial Seasonings tea. Chamomile is considered quite safe, even for the very young.
A classic example of an herb that is “gentle yet effective”.

Preferred Method of Preparation:
Either a cold or hot water infusion, keep covered to prevent evaporation of volatile oils.
Topically, use it as a poultice, a wash or even a bathtub soak for relief from extensive eczema, bug bites or poison ivy.

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