Chamomile: medicinal properties, method of use and benefits
ThereMatricaria chamomilla or Matricaria recutita call common chamomileor German chamomile belongs to the family of Asteraceae (former Compositae).
It is an annual herbaceous plant that is found almost everywhere in uncultivated land, in dry and stony areas up to 500 meters above sea level. It has an erect stem that reaches a height of 50 cm, very branched.
The leaves are bipinnate, light green in color, divided into thin laciniae that is to say with very deep incisions.The flowers are gathered in long pedunculated heads placed on an empty receptacle and the external flowers have a white ligule while the internal flowers are tubular with corolla yellow. Fruits are achenes.
The essential oil of common chamomile contains: blue chamazulene which turns brown in the light, flavonoids, coumarin, alcohol, fatty acids, glucosides, potassium, vitamin C.
Its properties, known to most people are: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, sedative, tonic, eupeptic (which helps digestion), emmenagogues (promotes the menstrual cycle), carminative (promotes the expulsion of intestinal gas) .
Common chamomile helps in the case of stomach and menstrual pains and colds.
USED PARTS OF THE PLANT
Of the common chamomile, the flowers collected at the beginning of flowering are used, when the flower heads are not yet fully open and are still a beautiful white color.
It is preferable to harvest on dry days and preferably in the evening when the plants are dry and free of dew in order not to compromise the subsequent drying.They should be dried quickly in a dry, dark and ventilated place to avoid the formation of mold and the blackening of the plant with consequent loss of its characteristics.
They are kept in glass containers away from light but it is preferable to keep them for no more than a year and then renew the stock.
If the product is intended for distillation to obtain essential oils, use the fresh or just wilted product.
HOW TO USE IT
The infusion of chamomile flowers is an excellent calming of the nerves and promotes sleep. It also helps in cases of stomach pain, menstrual pain, cold and flu.
Our grandparents used to prepare small bags of very light fabric containing half chamomile flowers, half peppermint leaves and half a dose of woodruff to put under the pillow to help sleep.
Chamomile oil has always been used to calm redness and inflammation of the skin.
For external use, the infusion is used to wash inflamed skin and to gargle for sore throats.
Warm compresses help with hepatic colic.
The fumes of chamomile and rosemary cleanse, soothe and soften the skin.
The decoction added to the bath water relaxes as well as decongesting the skin.
When used to rinse hair after washing, it makes it lighter.
Chamomile is notoriously used in the kitchen to prepare excellent infusions that are drunk or for therapeutic use or simply to delight our palate, in fact chamomile provides a tea that remains sweeter and more aromatic than that of Roman chamomile.
Chamomile is used in jams, candies, ice creams, chewing gums and in the confectionery industry in general and to flavor liqueurs such as vermouth.
The common chamomile has been known since ancient times in fact there are numerous information handed down since ancient times. The ancient Egyptians already knew its properties.
Chamomile is not recommended for those suffering from diarrhea and in pregnant women.
LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS AND PLANTS
You see: Chamomile - The language of flowers and plants