Matricaria recutita, formerly Chamomilla recutita Compositae/Asteraceae.
Found throughout Europe, German chamomile grows wild in fields and along roadsides, and is cultivated in gardens. It reaches a height of about 40cm and its daisy-like flowers have an aromatic scent.
German chamomile's bitter tasteis due to substances called sesquiterpenoid lactones, Its essential oil contains azulenes, bisabols and flavonoids. These active constituents give the herb its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and smooth musclerelaxing properties - particularly in the gastrointestinal tract.
German chamomile has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant, mostly for digestive disorders. It is also a mild sedative, calming the nervous system. The essential oil has an anti-inflammatory effect on mucous membranes: a chamomile steam inhalation will help to ease sinusitis and asthma.
In 1979, German researchers found that bisabol was an antiinflammatory, while French scientists in 1983 proved the herb's antiviral effects against polio and herpes.
The plant's anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties make it a good remedy for stomach aches and period pains. It also eases bloating due to excessive wind.
Externally, a German chamomile cream treats skin inflammation and promotes healing. It is recommended for eczema, nappy rash and cracked nipples. It is also used as an eye bath and in antiseptic mouthwashes
PREPARATION AND DOSAGE
For internal use
TO TREAT gastric or intestinal spasms, bloating, sluggish digestion, period pains, insomnia
INFUSION Put 1 sachet or 5-8g of loose chamomile into 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink 3 cups a day before meals. For external use
TO TREAT skin ailments,
MOUTHWASHES Use as directed.
IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR
Sow seeds in spring in well-drained, neutral to acid soil in a sunny spot.
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