Roman Chamomile - Effective Herb for Digestion Problems
Chamaemelum nobile Asteraceae/compositae
A small perennial, common in the dry areas of western and southern Europe, Roman chamomile has widely spreading stems that are covered in tiny jagged leaves. In summer, a single, daisy-like flower, its yellow centre surrounded by a ring of white petals, opens at the tip of each stem. The whole plant gives qff a poweiful, pleasant scent.
The plant contains coumarins and flavonoids, which have a digestive, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory action, and sesquiterpene lactones, which give it its bitter taste. There is also some essential oil.
Roman chamomile has long been used to treat digestive problems, such as sluggish digestion, bloating, belching and flatulence. The bitter sesquiterpene lactones stimulate the digestive juices, and the flavonoids and coumarins have antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory powers.
Recent studies have also shown that the essential oil has the ability to ease inflammation, too, as well as having an antidiuretic and sedative effect. Because of this soothing action, it is often included in preparations that are applied externally to treat skin ailments such as eczema, which can cause severe itching. It is also found in medicines used for treating eye irritations, sore throats, rhinitis and sinusitis, and in mouthwashes.Some herbalists also recommend the use of the plant's soothing actionfor insomnia, haemorrhoids and even menstruation problems
PREPARATION AND DOSAGE
For internal use
TO TREAT digestive problems INFUSION Add 1 dessertspoon of flowerheads to a cup of boiling water, and leave to infuse for 10 minutes, then strain. Drink 3-4 cups a day.
For external use
TO TREAT eye irritations
TO TREAT sore throat THROAT SPRAY Prepare an infusion (see above). Cool. Spray the back of the throat, two or three times a day.
IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR
Roman chamomile can be grown from seed. rootstock or young bought plants. Plant in spring in well-drained. light soil. preferably in a warm. sunny position.
Roman chamomile should not be taken when pregnant. as it can sometimes induce a miscarriage or harm the unborn child.
It is not advisable to use Roman chamomile when breastfeeding.
Asthma sufferers and individuals with a history of allergies to related plants. such as marigold and arnica, may also have an adverse reaction to Roman chamomile preparations, so should avoid them.
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