These innocuous little plants are more than meets the eye…
For as long as I can remember, wild chamomile has run rampant in the dirt driveway of the home where I grew up. The sweet scent wafting up from beneath bare feet, one of many summer scents programmed into my brain. As a child, I liked picking the smaller plants and crushing the little yellow flowers between thumb and forefinger to smell the herby-sweet aroma, and delighted in how large some of the plants could grow to be (as long as I left them alone). Years later, I’m still barefoot, but now a little older and wiser, pulling up the plants from the roots, rinsing ‘em off, and hanging them to dry. All the better to harness their power! Because I’ve since learned these innocuous little plants are more than meets the eye. Sweet, sweet chamomile is a powerful healer, ideal for soothing summer sunburns, dry skin, and soothing sore bellies. Today I’m diving into incredible chamomile and sharing a simple way to use it. Read on to learn all about it…
What is chamomile?
Also known as “water of youth” and “earth apple” in its original Greek, chamomile refers to several species of small daisy-like plants in the Asteraceae family. Native to Europe and parts of Asia, chamomile can now be found almost worldwide and has been used for centuries to heal everything from ulcers to skin conditions, along with being enjoyed as a tea and baking addition. Chamomile can be easily cultivated, but has a tendency to spread, so it’s best kept in small planters, or allowed to roam as an excellent-smelling ground cover.
What are the benefits of chamomile?
Calming chamomile is probably most widely appreciated for its sleep-inducing properties (sleepytime tea, anyone?), and it can indeed promote more restful slumber. But you don’t have to drink it to reap the rewards — the simple act of breathing in the scent of chamomile essential oil has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Chamomile can have similar stress-relieving effects when taken internally, easing stomach upset, soothing ulcers, and improving digestion thanks to anti-spasmodic compounds that can also relieve cramps and bloating. The flavonoids present in chamomile have been found to reduce inflammation in skin suffering from eczema, psoriasis, and sun damage, with anti-bacterial properties fighting infection and staving off acne and reducing redness.
How do I use chamomile?
Always be sure to choose food-grade fresh or dried chamomile to ensure safety. Use dried chamomile to make your own custom tea blends, or add fresh or dried chamomile to baked goods and other recipes. Steeped chamomile can be added to everything from smoothies to face masks, and can even be used as a rinse for hair. The calming properties of chamomile are incredibly mild, suitable for most people, and are especially beneficial in the summer when skin conditions can be exacerbated by heat and sun exposure.
Chamomile Face Spray
1 cup boiling water
2 tbsp dried or fresh chamomile
4 oz. glass spray bottle
2-3 drops chamomile essential oil
1-2 drops lavender essential oil
1/2 tsp witch hazel
Optional: 1/2 tsp jojoba oil
Prepare the chamomile tea by placing the dried chamomile in a glass bowl and pouring boiling water over top. Allow the chamomile to steep for 15 minutes. Strain into a clean bowl or mug and allow to cool completely. To make the face mist, pour chamomile essential oil, lavender essential oil, witch hazel, and jojoba (if using) into a glass spray bottle. Fill the rest of the way with chamomile tea, cap, and shake.
To use: Mist face any time you need extra moisture or to sooth dry, irritated, or sunburned skin.
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This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.