Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Herb Thursdays Chamomile

My chamomile is coming alive again, along with lavender, one of my most favorite herbs. I love the flowers, and love it as a tea too.

Following from here: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/chamomile

Chamomile, Herb of Healing


by Alden Smith
No compendium of herbs would be complete without the mention of chamomile. It has a long and colorful history, and has even been mentioned in nursery rhymes and fairy tales. While most people are familiar with this herb, they are not aware that there are two distinct varieties. Although they share common qualities, the difference ends there. German chamomile is an annual reaching a height of 2 to 3 feet. Roman chamomile is a perennial, grows smaller, and carries a stronger fragrance. Here, we will discuss chamomile - its history, medicinal and culinary uses, how it is cultivated, and how to harvest and store it.
History of Chamomile
For centuries, chamomile has been believed to have good healing powers. Ancient Egyptians dedicated chamomile to their gods because of its ability to cure agues, or malarial chills, which plagued ancient Egypt. The Roman scholar Pliny the Elder recommended it for baths and poultices to relieve headache and disorders of the bladder, kidney and liver. What is little known about chamomile is that there are two different varieties. Both Roman and German chamomile is recognized as effective in Mexico and the American southwest, where it is given to small children for colic. Roman chamomile is attributed to alleving menstrual pain, and to help induce labor. Early colonists brought both varieties to America around the 16th century.
German chamomile is widely used in Europe for an anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. It is widely used for gastric ulcers, gastritis, flatulence and peptic disorders. It is manufactured commercially in a slave or lotion to cure inflammations and skin problems. Often, it is used as an inhalant, to cure respiratory and bronchial inflammation.
Dried flowers are used in herb teas and even some herb beers. It is often drunk as a tea at night for its mild sedative effect. It is also taken internally as a stimulant, expectorant and tonic. Chamomile tea contains only 10 percent of the essential oil compounds and about 30 percent of the flavonoids. In Germany, it is mixed with 50% alcohol to increase its potency. The reaction of the alcohol and essential oils makes the tonic much more potent.
Culinary Uses of Chamomile
Although chamomile is more of a medicinal herb, it has its uses in cookery. Often, the fresh leaves are chopped and mixed into butter or sour cream to use as a topping for baked potatoes. The Spanish use the dried flowers to make sherry. It is of course used in many types of teas, both as a refresher and tonic. Cold chamomile tea mixed into fruit juices is especially good. Use fresh chamomile flowers as a garnish for green salads. It can be used to complement white sauces, sour cream and herbed butters. Chamomile is used to flavor the liqueur Benedictine, and it is used in various Sherries and vermouth.
I also did previous posts on chamomile on 360 here Lots of recipes posted at this link, along with more links as well.

Chamomile is also a wonderful addition to your sleep pillows. http://opossumsal.homestead.com/Pillows/dpillow.html
Dream pillows have been around for many many years, it was common place for our grandmothers to stitch up a headache pillow to erase the pain of headaches or have a dream pillow on every bed filled with natures bountiful herbs and flowers.

Materials:

100% Cotton or Silk Fabric 5" x 5" ( or slightly larger if you wish)
Mesh bag for herbal insert Herbs & Flowers:1 part Rose Petals, 1 part Dried Chamomile, 1 part Dried Lavender Essential Oils : choose any of the following - Yarrow, Sandlewood, Jasmine, Geranium, Basil, Lavender, Peppermint or Rose. 5-7 drops.
Needle & Thread
Velcro
Pillow stuffing

Directions:

Cut your fabric into 2 pieces, one for the top of the pillow, the other for the bottom.

Sew the pieces together with the wrong side of the fabric on the outsides.

Sew 3 sides together then turn inside out so right sides are now showing.

Fill mesh bag with a mixture of the flowers and herbs as well as a few drops of essential oil. Insert into a mesh bag, tie off with a string.

Place inside your pillow form and fill with pillow stuffing...dont overpack as it needs air circulation to release some of the scents.

Finish pillow off by adding velcro to the open end of the pillow, this will allow you access to change the herbs and flowers when needed or to wash the pillow itself. Its best to keep the pillow in a flat shape not round. It will be inserted into a regular pillowcase for a scentsational nights sleep.



If you prefer to shop for your herbal dream pillow; I checked on etsy and found quite a few really nice ones here on etsy they will all be handmade
Herbal dream pillow blue with stars eye pillow herbal treatment
And don't forget a soothing cup of chamomile tea as well. recipe here http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Chamomile-Tea
10025703.jpg chamomile tea image by nadaccino
photo from photobucket

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