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February 27, 2014
Chamomile is an amazing herb. While most of us are familiar with it as a non-caffeinated tea option, it is so much more. This underestimated little flower is actually a medicinal powerhouse, and has been long used in herbal medicine. A full list of all the uses of chamomile would grow quite long, so we’ve culled together just a few reasons to keep this plant around as part of your “kitchen medicine cabinet.”
Soothes Inflammation and Irritation: Chamomile has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is excellent for bringing down swelling of any cause. If the skin under your eyes is puffy, place cooled, wet chamomile tea bags over the eyes to work wonders. This also works if your eye area is swollen from allergies or infection. Place the flowers anywhere on the skin where inflammation is present to shrink the swelling.
Promotes Relaxation: This is a great herb to relax nervous tension and irritable moods in anyone from infants to adults—as herbalist Matthew Woods says, it is great for “babies of all ages.” Chamomile contains compounds that are mildly sedative and have been shown to decrease anxiety as well. Try a nice, warm cup of tea for this. It really helps you to unwind at the end of the day and prepare your nervous system for peaceful sleep.
Aids Digestion and Quells Discomfort: Chamomile is particularly helpful after a meal if you are experiencing indigestion that produces gas or discomfort, as cold tea is ideal for this. Just soak the herb in a jar of cold water (preferably for a few hours to get the best medicinal quality) and drink up! Any kind of tummy ache will greatly benefit from this, and it’s safe and effective for children too. Chamomile has mild pain relieving qualities, making it a nice remedy for teething babies—given as tea or just applied to the gums.
Soothes Skin: In addition to using chamomile tea bags topically to reduce inflammation, regularly applying skincare products with chamomile essential oil will show marked results over time. The anti-inflammatory properties soothe puffiness and redness, and the herb brightens skin in general, and it’s rich in antioxidants.
Treats Cold and Flu: Not only does chamomile relax the body and relieve symptoms of pain and discomfort, it is also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. When you’re sick, this plant will actually aid in your healing by helping the body resist and fight infection. It is high in essential oils, which are released through steam that soothes sinuses, lungs, and mucus membranes when you drink chamomile tea. It is wonderful combined with other antibacterial herbs because it relieves symptoms while progressing the healing process.
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