Table of contents:
Chamomile is a medicinal plant of the Matricaria recutita species, rich in phenolic compounds, glycosides and essential oils, which give it calming, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, healing and antimicrobial properties, being, therefore, popularly used as home remedy for anxiety, insomnia, poor digestion, menstrual cramps or wound healing.
The commonly used part of chamomile is its dried flowers, usually for the preparation of tea, however, it can also be used to make inhalations, sitz baths, compresses or ointments. In addition, chamomile can be used in cooking as a seasoning in the preparation of dishes such as pasta or chicken, or to flavor sweets such as brigadeiro or cakes.
Chamomile can be found in herbalists, he alth food stores, compounding pharmacies, markets and some street markets, in the form of dried flowers or tea bags, and should be used with the guidance of a doctor or other professional he alth professionals who have experience with the use of medicinal plants.
What is it for
Due to its medicinal properties, chamomile is usually indicated for:
- Anxiety, nervousness or stress;
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping;
- Poor digestion;
- Gastritis or gastric ulcer;
- Excessive intestinal gas;
- Intestinal or menstrual cramps;
- Rheumatic pain;
- Wounds, ulcers, burns or skin irritation;
- Colds or sinusitis.
Furthermore, chamomile can also be used to heal mouth sores or soothe inflamed gums, due to its healing and anti-inflammatory properties.
The medicinal properties of chamomile are mainly due to phenolic compounds such as the flavonoids apigenin, luteolin, patuletin and quercetin, as well as essential oils and azulenes, present in its composition.
How to use chamomile
Chamomile can be used in the form of tea, inhalations, sitz baths, compresses or ointment, prepared with the dried flowers of this plant.
1. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea helps to relax, treat insomnia, anxiety and nervousness, as well as relieve gastrointestinal problems such as poor digestion, colic, diarrhea, gastritis or ulcers, for example.
- 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers.
- 250 mL of boiling water.
Add the dried chamomile flowers to a cup of boiling water, cover, let stand for about 5 to 10 minutes and strain before drinking.
This tea can be drunk 3 times a day, and if necessary it can be sweetened with a teaspoon of honey.
In addition, chamomile tea can be prepared with other ingredients such as fennel, peppermint or dried catnip, to increase its calming and antispasmodic effect. Check out other ways to prepare chamomile tea.
2. Chamomile inhalation
Chamomile inhalation is an excellent home remedy for colds or sinusitis due to its calming properties. In addition, the steam from inhalation helps to warm and moisten the upper respiratory tract, relieving the symptoms of a stuffy or runny nose, and can be done on adults or children.
However, inhalation in children should always be done under adult supervision, even if the child has had previous inhalations, as there is a serious risk of burns.
- 6 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers;
- 1, 5 to 2 liters of water.
Boil the water and add the chamomile flowers. Wait 5 to 10 minutes, then place your face over the bowl and cover your head with a towel to inhale the steam. It is important to breathe in the steam as deeply as possible for up to 10 minutes, repeating 2-3 times a day.
3. Sitz bath with chamomile
Chamomile has antibacterial action due to the substances present in its composition, such as flavonoids and alpha-bisabolol, and can be used as a sitz bath for candidiasis, as it helps to eliminate Candida albicans and relieve itching symptoms, swelling, irritation, pain or discomfort caused by candidiasis.
Also, sitz bath can be used to help treat hemorrhoids, due to the anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile.
- 3 tablespoons of dried chamomile;
- 1 liter of water.
Boil the water with the chamomile. Strain the infusion, let it cool and make a sitz bath, placing the mixture in a basin or bathtub, for 5 minutes, at least once a day.
4. Chamomile compresses
Chamomile can also be used in the form of compresses applied to the skin, for the treatment of wounds, ulcers, burns or skin irritation, due to its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.
- 20 to 30 g of fresh or dried chamomile flowers;
- 500 mL of boiling water.
Add fresh or dried chamomile flowers to boiling water and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Then, strain, wet the gauze, cotton or clean cloth and pass the affected skin area at least 2 times a day.
5. Chamomile ointment
Chamomile ointment has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, and can be used for skin irritation or itching, rashes, diaper rash or sunburn, for example.
- 5 g of beeswax;
- 45 mL of olive oil, coconut oil or sweet almond oil;
- 4 spoons of chopped dried chamomile flowers.
Place the beeswax and oil in a pan over a bain-marie until the mixture is completely liquid. Then turn off the heat and add the dried chamomile flowers.Leave the ingredients in the pan for about 2 hours to release the active substances from the chamomile. Before cooling, strain and store the liquid part in a clean, dry glass container with a lid. Always keep the glass in a dry, dark and ventilated place. This ointment is valid for up to 1 year and can be applied to the skin 2 to 3 times a day.
Possible side effects
The side effects that can arise from using chamomile are nausea and skin irritation, especially when this plant is used in larger amounts than recommended.
Although it is rare, chamomile can also cause severe allergic reactions that require immediate medical attention. Therefore, you should stop treatment and seek the nearest emergency department if you experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing or wheezing, cold sweat, severe dizziness, feeling of a closed throat, swelling in the mouth, tongue or face, or intense itching.Know how to identify the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction.
Who should not use
Chamomile should not be used by people who are allergic to chamomile or other medicinal plants of the same family as chamomile, such as chrysanthemum, daisy, marigold or ragweed, for example.
Also, chamomile should not be used by people who have blood clotting disorders or who are being treated with anticoagulants such as warfarin or heparin, as it may increase the risk of bleeding or hemorrhage. In cases of need for surgery, the use of chamomile should be stopped two weeks before and after surgery.
Chamomile should only be used by children, pregnant or breastfeeding women under medical supervision.