Chamomile

Chamomile Potatoes On Chamomile Day ~ Herbs For Kids ~

Chamomile is a super friendly herb for kids.  Chamomile is gentle while being powerful at the same time for helping kids with tummy upset especially when related to nervousness, general nervous tension, headaches and colds.

chamomile

What Does It Taste Like?

We started our day at preschool with a tea tasting which is a great way to introduce kids to a new plant.  Most children love the apple like taste of the tea made from happy sunshiny little flowers.  The kids at the school really enjoyed the tea and it seemed to help calm them down a bit… we were having another late Spring snow storm and the kids were all kinda crazy with the sudden change in the weather.

To make your own tea simple steep up to 1 tablespoon of flowers per cup in hot water for 2 to 5 minutes max.  If you steep for any longer than that chamomile tea becomes very bitter.  Of course children are very sensitive to any bitter taste.  You can add a bit of honey or agave to taste if you wish.

The Tale Of Peter Rabbit

Old Mrs. Rabbit Brings Peter Chamomile

After indulging in our tea we sat down for a cozy reading of this classic tale by Beatrix Potter.  The kids were still a bit antsy and yet were really involved with the book.  Many of them having read Peter Rabbit before, knew what was to come on each and every page.  Except when we got to this little bit on the last page where they noticed one little detail which was overlooked before ~

“Peter was not very well during the evening. His mother put him to bed, and made some chamomile tea: “One table-spoonful to be taken at bedtime.”
― Beatrix PotterThe Tale of Peter Rabbit

Smiles and giggles came when the kids heard that Peter had chamomile tea, just like they did!  We talked about how scared and tired and sick Peter must have felt after has intense adventure in Mr. McGregor’s garden.  It was a perfect little example from a familiar story about using herbs.

Chamomile Potatoes

I bet you are wondering what about chamomile potatoes, and so we come to the part of our day when we made these together…

These are not something yummy to eat, though I think creating some kind of recipe with these two ingredients might be interesting.  Nope, chamomile potatoes are for growing!  Potatoes make great little pots for sprouting plants, just like sprouting plants inside egg shells.

planting tiny chamomile seeds

When the seeds have sprouted and are ready to be planted outside you can simply plant the whole potato in the ground.  In the past we have given created Potato Heads by using markers and googly eyes to create faces.   Then we planted grass inside the potatoes which grew into hair!  It is lots of fun to for kids to cut their Potato Head’s hair with scissors.  Today we simply planted chamomile seeds into our potatoes, gave them a little drink and are eagerly waiting for them to sprout!

Materials ~

  • Potatoes, 1 for each child
  • A Melon Baller
  • Chamomile Seeds
  • Dirt

If prepping the potatoes ahead of time you will need: 

  • Citric Acid or Lemon Juice
  • Water
  • A Big Bowl 

Instructions ~

Prep the potatoes by cutting the a thin slice off of the top of the potato or the side if the potato is long and skinny.  Then using the melon baller remove the center of the potato to make a place for the dirt to go.  Test to see if the potato will stand straight by setting it down on a flat surface.  If it wobbles or rolls around cut a flat surface on the bottom of the potato so it will stand sturdy and straight.  I did this the day before class and I wanted to keep the potatoes fresh.  So, I place the potatoes in a big bowl filled with water and a generous sprinkle of citric acid.  The potatoes came through the night beautifully!

potato prep

Have the children fill their potato with dirt and then gently press the tiny chamomile seeds into the top.  Help the children give their chamomile potato a small amount of water to help the seeds sprout.  

Keep the soil moist and place the potato in a sunny spot.  You should have tiny sprouts within about three days, almost instant gratification!  When my girls saw these wee little sprouts they instantly exclaimed, “Aw, how cute!”

day  three

Tiny little chamomile sprouts 3 days after planting!

Within one week the sprouts are much bigger and follow the sun during the day, turning their leaves to soak up nourishing sunlight.

day seven

Lots of healthy sprouts one week after planting!

Here are some other wonderful activities for Chamomile Day ~

Spring Time Blessings!

Shared On:  It’s Playtime!, Eco-Kid’s Tuesday, The Kid’s Co-Op, Kid’s Get Crafty,  Friday’s Nature Table

 

 

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Categories: Chamomile, Herbal Crafts And Projects, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Playing With Herbs | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

After School Teas

Yesterday…

Outside a light drizzling haze of rain has begun which promises to give way soon into a steady downpour.  Walking home from the bus will likely be a wet adventure in worm hunting with rain drip dropping on each of our umbrellas.  When my kids get off the bus they are worn out, ready to relax and let down their guard.  Ready to be home.  I love to support and help them relax with nourishing snacks and a hug.

With the chilly rainy day I am looking forward to making a delicious tea to warm their bodies, ease their minds and gently stimulate their immune systems.  Today it will be Sunshine Tea.  This is a family favorite made with chamomile and St. John’s wort flowers.   It soothes a sadden heart and quells a worried mind, like a hug that let’s you know everything will be okay.  Some other day  homemade herbal chai with warming herbs and  antioxidant rich roobios could hit the spot.   Another afternoon could call for peppermint and lemon balm to refresh yet relax the brain and body.

chamomile blossoms

My children enjoy tea in a few ways.  We have a small lovely tea set complete with cups and saucers.  They love to sit at the table for a quaint tea party resplendent with pinkies in the air and a bit of practicing our English accents.  It is great fun and a lovely way to spend a bit of time together.  We also have some wonderful personal sized tea pots, one for each of us, each with it’s own brewing basket.  The kids were gifted these from grandma one Christmas.  The pots are very cheery and feature the kid’s favorite colors.  They feel very big indeed to have their own pot to pour from into their favorite cup, a kitty cup for one cutie and a puppy cup for the other.

Here are a few of our favorite recipes.  Herbal teas offer a great way to provide healthful vitamins and minerals, boost a stressed out immune system and ease a tense mind.  Just the aromatic fragrance when sipping tea is good medicine.

Sunshine Tea ~

Combine equal parts of chamomile and St. John’s Wort with the lavender, about 1 tablespoon of each herb per cup of water.  Cover with boiling water and a lid to keep in all the yummy therapeutic essential oils.  Steep for 3 to 6 minutes, no longer.  Strain and add honey to taste.  My kids love it with Lemon Balm Honey!

Herbal Chai ~

  • 12 to 18 Cloves
  • 14 to 18 Cardamom Pods
  • 2 sticks of Cinnamon or a palmful of Cinnamon Chips
  • 4 nice size slices of Ginger Root
  • 2 teaspoon Fennel Seeds (opt.)
  • 2 tablespoons Roobios
  • 5 cups of water
  • 2 cups of milk
  • Honey

Smash all the herbs in a mortar and pestle until they are busted open.  Give ’em some love while you grind.  This is a great time to put love into your tea.  Then put the herbs in the water and slowly simmer for at least 20 minutes, I like to do more if I can.  Add the milk and warm then take off the heat and add the roobios.  Steep for 10 minutes and strain.  Add honey to taste!  Delicious healthy tummy loving!!

Peppermint Lemon Balm Tea~

Combine equal parts of peppermint and lemon balm, about 1 tablespoon of each herb per cup of water.  Cover with boiling water and the a lid to keep in all the yummy therapeutic essential oils.  Steep for 15 minutes or longer.  Strain and enjoy!

How do you welcome your kids home from school?

Shared on: The Kid’s Co-op, Sunday Parenting Party, Afterschool Party

Categories: Back to School, Chamomile, Herbal Medicines, Herbal Tips And Tricks, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Ingredients And Herbs, Lemon Balm, Natural Family Care, Parenting, Peppermint, St John's Wort | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Back To School Tea

Lucky am I, my kids love school.  We have a wonderful local school for them to attend with caring attentive teachers, excellent technical resources and lots of friends.  One of my kids loves school so much that she bounced into the car as we headed home from the last day of school and immediately asked, “Can we go back to school shopping?”

Even so, about two weeks before school is set to start I can feel it creeping in… anticipation and unrest.  My kids are ready for and looking forward to school but nervous.  And let’s face it, waiting for anything can be tough.   We have had everything from nervous upset tummies to sleep disturbances to the daytime crazies.  This year to help ease the transition we are all drinking a calming infusion of wonderful herbs and it seems to be keeping things in check.  Everyone is a bit calmer and sleeping well at the moment.  And Mommy is also keeping her cool.

This infusion (strong tea) nourishes the nervous system, calms digestion, encourages restful sleep and eases stress.  It is simple and easy to make with a bit of forethought.  Really any combination of these herbs would work great.  I use dried herbs but fresh would work fine though you may wish to increase the amount you infuse as dried herbs are more potent than fresh.

Ingredients:

  • Oat Straw
  • Oat Seed
  • Chamomile Blossoms
  • St. John’s Wort Flowers

I make this infusion in 2 parts because oat straw and oat seed need to be infused for a long time to bring out their nourishing properties, vitamins and minerals.  While the chamomile becomes bitter when steeped to long and the St John can become a bit strong in my opinion.

Instructions:  Place a  palmful each of oat straw and oat seed to a quart jar.  Fill the jar half way with hot water.  Let sit for 4 to 8 hours.  I start this in the morning when I am making breakfast.  Then strain the resulting liquid into another jar or tea pot and add a palmful each of chamomile and St. John’s wort to the quart jar.  Fill again half way with hot water and put a lid on top to keep the chamomile’s essential oil from escaping.  Let sit for 3 to 6 minutes, no more as it will get bitter.  Strain into the container holding your oat straw/seed infusion.  I add a little bit of honey, maybe a 1/2 teaspoon (more or less to taste), to the infusion and serve it at the dinner table in fancy tea cups.

The result is a mild flowery tasting tea calming to the nerves that my kids love!

About the herbs in your tea:

  • Oat Straw and Oat Straw~  Often used as a long-term nervous system tonic, oats are extremely nourishing to frazzled nervous.  They ease stress, irritability and anxiety.
  • Chamomile Blossoms ~ Chamomile is soothing for the nerves and supports healthy digestion easing that nervous tummy some kids get.  It is high in vitamins and minerals which strengthen the nervous system.
  • St. John’s Wort Flowers ~  St. John’s Wort is most commonly known for its usefulness in easing depression.  I find it is also useful in easing acute stress when drunk as an infusion and something about combining it with Chamomile enhances its sunshiny properties.  My kids have responded time and again to St. John’s and Chamomile combined for nightmares and night terrors.  Please note that there are some contradictions when combining St. John’s Wort with pharmaceuticals, consult your doctor.  St. John’s Wort is also reported to increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

Enjoy and best wishes for a beautiful school year.

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Categories: Back to School, Chamomile, Herbal Medicines, Herbal Tips And Tricks, Oatstraw, St John's Wort | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Herbal Infusions for Children

Herbal infusions are great for all people and are especially wonderful for
children because infusions are high in vitamins and minerals which growing bodies need.
The best herbs to use for infusions are like healthy foods and each have their own set of characteristics.  To appease children many herbs can be made into very yummy beverages.  You can serve infusions warm, at room temperature or iced.  Feel free to add lemon, agave nectar, honey or even juice to taste.  Below is a quick reference list of a few favorite herbs for children’s infusions.  For further information about these herbs please visit the Materia Medica section of Mama Rosemary.
Chamomile ~ Tastes appley, bittersweet… kids say: great!
  • calming, relaxing
  • good for digestive stuff (tummy aches especially related to nervousness)
  • promotes rest
  • useful for complaining and whininess.
Contraindications ~ A very few people are allergic to chamomile and other plants in the Asteracea (daisy) familyImportant ~ Only steep chamomile for 3 to 8 minutes as it gets very bitter if left to steep any longer, my kids won’t drink chamomile if I infuse it for longer than 4 minutes.
Lemon Balm ~ Tastes lemony, yummy …. kids say: delicious!
  • refreshing and cooling so great during hot weather
  • calming for hyperactive children
  • helps relieve nervousness and crying
  • good for digestive stuff
  • antiviral and bacterial so great during cold and flu season
Lycium Berry ~  Tastes fruity, super yum… my kids love them soaked in apple juice!
  • high in bioflavonoids and polysaccarides
  • tonic for blood, eyes, kidneys and immune system.
  • Can use as a substitute for raisins.
Mints (Spearmint/Peppermint) ~ Tastes yummy, classic mint taste… kids say: great!
  • centering
  • helpful for digestive stuff, eases gas and cramping
  • antiviral
Nettle ~ Tastes green, milky, kinda like soup… kids say: not bad
  • extremely high in vitamins and mineral
  • whole body tonic especially for  mucus membranes and blood         
Oatstraw ~ Tastes bland… kids say: great
  • soothing to nervous system
  • high in vitamins and minerals

Rose Hips ~ Tastes yummy, kinda sour… kids say: great!

  • high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids
  • tones and nourishes mucus membranes
  • Soak the hips in juice or water to make a super yummy “jam”.

Note:  Taste ratings are mostly taken from Kids, Herbs & Health, this is a great reference book for parents!

 Yummy Combinations ~
 Equal parts spearmint, peppermint & lemon balm, add nettle or oatstraw for even more nutrients.
 Equal parts lemon balm, oatstraw and rose hips
  Equal parts lemon balm and chamomile
  Equal parts rose hips and lycium
  Equal parts nettle and oatstraw
Another Fun Drink for Kids: 
Almond Milk ~ high in calcium and protein, hypoallergenic (most kids do great with almonds)  To make fresh, simply soak 1 cup of  raw almonds overnight in water in the refridge.  Drain and rinse the almonds . Place in a blender with 1 quart of water and blend for 1 to 5 minutes.  Strain thru a jelly bag and enjoy!  Almond milk will keep for 2 days in the refridge.  Use the left over nut meat in baked goods, casseroles etc…
 A Couple Great Books for further study:
  • A Kid’s Herb Book by Lesley Tierra 
  • Kids, Herbs, and Health by Linda B. White and Sunny Mavor
Categories: Chamomile, Herbal Tips And Tricks, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Ingredients And Herbs, Kitchen Creations, Lemon Balm, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Oatstraw, Peppermint, Roses | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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