Let’s talk about chamomile for a bit shall we. Chamomile is one of my favorite herbs, much like lavender. Chamomile is insanely safe to use and is one of those herbs you must have on hand for babies and kids. I’m sure you have indulged in a chamomile tea or two in your life time. So let’s dive in and explore what what it can really do.
There are two types of chamomile, Roman chamomile (chamaemelum nobile) and German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) They are both grown best in zones 3 to 9. (Check your growing zone here) Chamomile enjoys full sun but can tolerate part shade. It is a drought tolerant plant, needing water only a couple of times a week depending on the weather. Once chamomile is established, it is a pretty hardy plant. If I am being totally honest here, we have not had to much luck growing chamomile. That doesn’t mean we are not going to keep trying. Chamomile is just one of those amazing herbs that you must have on hand. Why is it so amazing? Well let’s get to it shall we.
The medicinal parts of this plant are in the delicate little daisy like flowers. The flowers contain volatile oils that hold all this little plants powers. Powers that can help bring relaxation to ones mind, help calm an uneasy stomach, reduce fevers, reduce inflammation, sleep, colic, teething, for sore muscles and anxiety. Chamomile can ease the mind from stress, making high intense situation feel more manageable. I mean come on, is this not amazing. Here are a few medicinal properties to chamomile that help relieve some of these alignments.
Chamomile is an antipepsin, which helps calm the stomach.
It’s an antibacterial, which helps kill the bad bacteria that causes sickness.
Chamomile is an antifungal, to help eliminate the bad fungus that causes sickness.
Chamomile is an antispasmodic, which helps relieve sore muscles.
It’s an antipyretic, which helps relieve fevers.
Chamomile can be made into a tincture, salve and tea or used as an essential oil.
A tincture is a sure way to receive all the benefits. A tincture is made by infusing an herb in alcohol, apple cider vinegar or vegetable glycerin. Once made it is used by taking a dropperful under the tongue. By taking tinctures under the tongue, it enters the blood stream faster, allowing it to go to work right away. Use a tincture to help relieve most if not all alignments. It is a concentrated does that works fast. To me this is the best avenue in regards to building your herbal medicine cabinet. Make an alcohol infused one for adults and a vegetable glycerin or apple cider vinegar one for kids.
Let’s discuss the alcohol in tinctures. You want to use no less then 80 proof alcohol. What this means is there is actually only 40-50% alcohol in the bottle. If using alcohol in the tincture makes you a bit nervous, I want to ensure you that the amount of alcohol actually consumed is negligible. The amount of drops that are held in a dropper is 30-40. So that is all you are consuming. Apple cider vinegar and vegetable glycerin are great options, however alcohol is a better source when extracting all the medicinal properties and benefits of the herb.
A salve can be used to rub chamomile on the chest or bottoms of feet to help relieve a cold.
A tea can be made to help bring relaxation to the mind and help with sleep. It can also be made to help relieve colic or teething in babies. I also brew a double strength batch and pour it in my kids bath when they are to crazy to tame. Or to help reduce their fever.
80 proof alcohol (vodka or brandy)
Fill your mason jar half full with your dried herbs.
Next pour alcohol, apple cider vinegar or vegetable glycerin about half an inch over the herbs. Now the herbs are going to rise as you pour your liquid, don’t freak out, just when you see about an inch or two of liquid on the bottom of your jar, stop pouring.
Place a lid on it and place either in a sunny window or a dark cool pantry for 6-8 weeks. This is really up to you, I have read that the sun helps infuse the herbs and brings in that good pure energy. Then I have read that the herbs need to be in a dark spot. To each their own. I have infused my tinctures on my window sill and have had fanstatic results. Everyday or a few times a week you want to shake up your jar. Get those oils moving around in your liquid. I like to say a little something like a prayer or mantra to help send it good juju. Sounds hippy but hey man, you are giving your family this stuff, you want it to work. Why not say a little something positive.
After the long wait of 6-8 weeks, you are going to want to strain out your herbs. Remember to compost those little suckers. Once you have your clean strained liquid, pour it into your dropper bottle. And store the rest in your pantry. Slap a label on that puppy and enjoy.
Alcohol infused tinctures last 5-10 years.
Apple cider vinegar infused tinctures last 3-5 years.
Vegetable glycerin infused tinctures last 1-2 years.
No this is not a tea to drink while you are taking a bath. It is to actually go in the bath.
Boil about three cups of water on the stove.
Pour 1/4 cup of herbs in water stir it up a bit. Put a lid on your pot. Turn off the flame and allow to steep for about 20-30 minutes.
Once steeped, strain out herbs and compost them. What you have left is some double strength bad ass tea. Throw it in the bath for the kiddos or yourself to help relax or reduce fevers.
What you’ll need:
Quart size mason jar
Fill mason jar about half way with dried herbs. Pour oil about half an inch over the top.
Place a lid on it and place in your pantry for 6-10 weeks.
After 6-10 weeks, strain out herbs and pour herb infused oil on a pot. Begin to heat oil on low heat. Slowly stir in beeswax. For every cup of oil you put a tablespoon of beeswax. Slowly melt the wax. Once melted take off heat and pour in your small jar. Once it cools it will solidify. Use as needed.
All three of these recipes can be used with any herb. So while chamomile is just bad ass, feel free to indulge in some lavender or whatever herb tickles that little fancy of yours.
If you have not had any luck growing chamomile hit up Mountain Rose Herbs. I am not affiliated with Mountain Rose Herbs, I just have been super satisfied with their products. They are an all organic, non gmo, fair trade company.
Please share what recipe you tried and loved.
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