Chamomile, soothing and healing
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), also known as common chamomile, chamomile, camamilla, or chamomile, is an annual herbaceous plant of the Asteraceae family. Originally from Europe and Asia, it has spread to some places in Australia and America. It is a plant with an erect and highly branched stem, which can reach 50 cm in height.
The leaves are sessile, very thin and narrow. The flowers have numerous small white petals, with a globose yellow center.
The fruit is very small, greenish-yellowish. The inflorescences have a specific, pleasant aroma and a slightly bitter taste.
The plants are distributed in dense bushes that when they are in flower, are very pleasant, soothing and refreshing to the eye.
A little history
There is evidence that chamomile was already used by the Egyptians, and later by the Greeks and Romans, to treat digestive disorders.
The Romans also used it in the Parthians; that's where its Latin name comes from feverfew, referring to midwives.
Chamomile is probably the most popular and universally known medicinal plant, since it is cultivated almost all over the world.
Active principles of chamomile
Chamomile contains numerous compounds; among them we can highlight the essential oil of chamazulene, alpha-bisabolol, phenol, lactones, coumarin Y flavonoids.
Among its mineral content, the calcium Y match.
The parts of the plant that are used are the dried or fresh flowers. The most common way to use them is as an infusion. Extracts are obtained from its flowers to prepare home remedies.
Harvesting and storing chamomile
Depending on the geographical region where the plants come from, they will be harvested at the end of the summer season, or in colder regions, before the first frosts fall. The twigs that have flowers are cut and gathered into small bouquets. They are hung on a rope upside down, in several bunches, to avoid excess humidity, in a place that is in the shade and protected from any source of contamination and unpleasant odors. Drying takes about two weeks in summer and up to a month in winter.
After the drying period, we proceed to clean the chamomile. The only part of the plant that is rescued are the flowers, discarding their petals. In a very clean glass bottle of the right size for the amount of flowers, fill with them, up to ¾ of its capacity. Store this jar in a cool, dry place. Under ideal conditions, it is preserved for up to a year without losing its therapeutic properties.
Therapeutic effects of chamomile
Chamomile facilitates difficult digestion and helps to fall asleep. Chamomile infusions are effective in fighting insomnia, fever and liver colic.
And it is that this small and noble plant has in its flowers a dark blue essence that contains a compound, the chamazulene, highly appreciated in therapeutics as anti-inflammatory Y antiallergic. In addition, chamomile flowers contain other active ingredients that give it the character of antispasmodic, carminative Y Vulnerary.
Chamomile can also be used in a poultice, to reduce intestinal inflammation or in compresses, to relieve eye irritation due to external agents such as wind or causes such as overwork. It is also especially beneficial for skin care and beauty creams are made with it.
The most well-known non-therapeutic use of chamomile is as an ingredient in hair products to lighten and shine light hair.
Consumption of chamomile
Chamomile is prepared for consumption in many ways.
Although its best known use is in infusion, it is also used in powder, as a tincture, in essence, as a syrup and macerated in wine, also having various external uses such as baths (tonic and soothing, very effective in dermatoses, in cases fatigue and pain in general) and oil, for friction and massage.
It is used in cosmetics to lighten the hair or to provide (if it is already blond) intense golden reflections.
Recipes with chamomile
To prepare a delicious infusion of chamomile, which, they say, drives away sadness, just heat 1/4 of a liter of water until it boils, add two teaspoons of chamomile and let it rest for five minutes. They drink up to a maximum of three cups per day.
If you want to use it to rinse sores in the oral cavity, you must wait until it is completely cold.
The infusion can also be used externally by applying it once cold, in the form of compresses, on the sore areas of the skin.
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