Chamomile

Matricaria spp.
The sweet little white gold blossoms of chamomile are soothing and relaxing and contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B-2, and flavinoids.   Chamomile promotes rest and is useful for easing complaining and whining.  It helps relieve anxiety and stress as well as pain and irritation in the belly, being particularly useful for flatulence and indigestion as well as stomach upset associated with nervousness and stress.  Chamomile is also helpful for restlessness and insomnia.  It steadies those suffering from nervous debility.  Drinking chamomile infusion before nursing will impart these wonderful qualities to the breast milk and can help sooth an irritated child and alleviate some of the stress of colic.   Being antibacterial, chamomile is great to add to teas or bathes during cold and flu season for prevention and gentle relief of symptoms.
If you are making an infusion of chamomile, only steep for 3 – 8 minutes as it gets very bitter if left to steep any longer.
Chamomile tastes appley, and bittersweet, most kids like the taste a lot.

Contraindications ~

A very few people are allergic to chamomile and other plants in the Asteracea (daisy/ragweed) family.  If this is a concern for you, do a scratch test before taking any new medicinals or seek the advise of a qualified herbalist.  To do a scratch test, take a small bit of the medicinal and rub it on the roof of your mouth.  Wait 24 hours.  If there is no sign of an allergic reaction, proceed with taking the herb(s).   If you are unsure, please consult a qualified herbalist and as always listen to your body.

More Chamomile ~

References:  (these make for excellent reading!)
Gladstar, Rosemary, Herbal Healing for Women, New York, Fireside, 1993.
Mars, Brigitte, The Herbal Pharmacy, CD-ROM, Hale Software, Inc., 1998.
Weed, Susan, Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, New York, Ash Tree Publishing, 1986.
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