Welcome to my Botanical Reflections.
Each month I will be sharing one of my favourites herbs that I use as a Herbalist and in my personal life.
To begin the Botanical Reflections series, we have the gorgeous herb Chamomile.
Common names: as German Chamomile, Chamomile, camomile, scented mayweed
Actions: Nervine, carminative, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, bitter, vulnerary, anti-microbial, anti-depressant, anxiolytic, mild sedative
Chamomile is a soft and calming herb. You may have already experienced it's beautiful relaxing energy through a cup of chamomile tea in the evening after a busy day.
Yes, Chamomile is gentle and nurturing but it's also a very powerful herb with potent anti-inflammatory properties and nervine actions (used to calm nerves). Chamomile is also a fabulous herb for children and can be used during pregnancy and lactation (consult your health practitioner before using).
In Latin, one of the meanings of matrix, which derives from Matricaria, is the womb or mother.
From the crossover into the summer phase of the cycle (just before ovulation) is the perfect time to begin taking Chamomile as a tincture or infusion. If you find that you tend to overcommit during this superwoman (do everything!) phase, then a dose of calming chamomile will help to settle your nerves, soften your energy and support you in all your endeavours. This lovely herb will give you a gentle dose of feminine energy during this Yang phase of the cycle.
But it's not only wonderful during ovulation, Chamomile can help reduce PMS through it's anti-inflammatory properties. It is also beneficial if you experience pre-menstrual anger and irritability due to it's soft and cooling effects. If you struggle with sleep issues related to PMS, it's mild sedative action may help you have a better night's sleep.
If you suffer from ovulation or pre-menstrual bloating, it can be lovely mixed into a bloating relief tincture. Equally you could make a strong tea infusion of chamomile, peppermint, ginger and lemon balm and sip as needed.
Chamomile can reduce menstrual cramps via its anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory actions. So it's useful to have it on hand in your period toolkit! You can also use chamomile topically in a salve to rub into the womb area.
I recommend to start taking this herb either as a tea infusion or tincture at the end of your follicular phase (cross-over from Spring to Autumn), until your Inner Winter (bleeding phase). If you struggle with menstrual cramps then you could continue till they subside.
Chamomile can also be used for morning sickness and during the menopausal transition to reduce inflammation and support the nervous system.
Many women struggle with anxiety and over-whelm in our hectic modern lives. Chamomile could be the herb for you if you struggle to wind down at night, can't get out of your head (too much thoughts), suffer with insomnia and need to soften and relax. This beautiful botanical is a gentle nervine that helps to balance the central nervous system and hormones. A lovely ritual to do each evening before bed is steeping fresh or dried chamomile flowers (you could also add passionflower and lemon balm to your brew) and snuggle up in bed with a relaxing book or your journal. Avoiding caffeine and electronics in the evening will help to promote better sleep and a calmer state of mind.
Putting chamomile tea bags over your eyes can help reduce puffiness and redness after a busy day or if you have hay fever.
Some other great uses for Chamomile include hay fever, asthma, IBS, indigestion, constipation (especially children), nappy rash, colic, ADHD, travel sickness, restlessness, cracked nipples, toothache, wounds, eczema and migraines.
Menstrual Phases: Summer/Ovulation is a the perfect phase to use this calming and cooling herb. Also great during the pre-menstrual and bleeding phase for PMS and menstrual cramps.
Taste: Sweet, mildly bitter
Ways to use Chamomile: tea infusion, infused oil, tincture, bath soak, salve, mouthwash, essential oil
Safety: Chamomile is regarded as a safe herb generally however there are recorded cases of allergic reactions to internal and external use of the herb, including anaphylaxis. Do not take internally if on blood thinners
If you need support with your health, hormones & cycle, I recommend booking a 1:1 Naturopathy Consultation here