Chamomile, a member of the daisy family
It includes many species that are spread all over the world Europe, Asia, North Africa, the United Kingdom, the Mediterranean, and the United States. Chamomile is an ancient herb, hieroglyphic records show that chamomile was used for at least 2,000 years in Egypt, and was affiliated with their sun god Ra. Their early physicians used chamomile tea for fevers, stress and restlessness, and noblewomen used crushed petals on their skin. Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Indians used this herb to treat ailments of the kidneys, liver, and bladder. Chamomile is also one of the ‘Nine Sacred Herbs’ of an ancient Anglo-Saxon manuscript, the Lacnunga. In the Middle Ages, chamomile was an ingredient listed in love potion recipes, and became associated with the devotion of St. Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary.
The plants’s name derives from the Greek ‘kamai melon’, meaning ground apple, because when walked upon, it released a fragrance that smells like apples. The tops of the plant are medicinally used, gathered in the early stages of flowering. There are two species of chamomile commonly used, and both are thought to possess similar healing qualities. One is the German (Blue Chamomile) plant (Matricaria recutita). The other is Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) named so because a 19th century plant collector found some growing on the ruins of the coliseum in Rome. German chamomile has been taken for digestive problems since at least the 1st century, and Roman chamomile was not cultivated until the 16th century, and likely arrived via Britain and has been used as a medicinal plant since. German chamomile is commonly used in the US, and Roman chamomile is still commonly used in Britain.
You might recall that in the children’s story, ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit,’ Peter Rabbit’s mother gave him chamomile tea when he was feeling sick. This tea is an excellent choice for stomach and intestinal troubles, as this herb has been found to contain strong antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, while inhibiting staphylococcal and streptococcal strains of bacteria. It reduces ulcer-induced pain, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, cramping, gas and bloating. You may wish to drink chamomile tea in combination with other antimicrobials against internal infections, such as thyme, echinacea, and goldenseal.
Benefits of chamomile
Medicinally, chamomile is a light sedative and calming agent, relieving stress related conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, muscle pain, and nervous twitching or tics. It helps restless young children sleep. You can use chamomile to treat topically as well, including infections, inflammations, burns, diaper rash, and as eyewash. It is also a women’s herb; its genus Matricaria is derived from the Latin matrix, meaning ‘womb.’ Chamomile has a long history of being used to treat menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome, and morning sickness.
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Magically, chamomile retains its ancient Egyptian associations with the Sun. Its flower petals open with the sun’s light and to pull down the energy of the planets and heavens. As an herb of the Sun, it can be used to banish darkness transmuting the negative energies into light, connecting with the sun’s power of regeneration, well-being, healing, happiness, purification, and protection. Sprinkle around your home, use in the ritual bath, burn in incense, use the flowers to create herbal amulets and as an ingredient in dream pillows. As a protection plant, its oil may be used to form a magical barrier around doors and windows. Plant in the garden as a guardian herb. To attract love, add chamomile tea to your bath, and wear the flowers in your hair to find a lover.
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs states: “Chamomile is used to attract money and a hand wash of the infusion is sometimes used by gamblers to ensure winnings.” Carry some in your pocket for general good fortune and luck. Burn some of it’s flowers to increase your income, and to enable you to find more ways to gain money.
Enjoy! Many Blessings!
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