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Herbal Remedies: The Chamomile Flower

Updated on April 8, 2018
CrescentSkies profile image

My knowledge of herbal remedies comes from self-testing and research. I have poisoned myself so you don't have to, in other words.

A close-up picture of a German Chamomile flower. It's beauty makes it a common staple in many homes and gardens. You've probably seen it as a set piece.
A close-up picture of a German Chamomile flower. It's beauty makes it a common staple in many homes and gardens. You've probably seen it as a set piece.

A Brief Description of the Complex Chamomile Herb

Chamomile refers to a group of flowers that are similar but don't all have medicinal uses. If you're going with herbalism, make sure you have either Roman Chamomile or German/Wild Chamomile. The other variants do look gorgeous in a lawn but don't contain what you need for medicine.

Now I don't recommend picking Chamomile yourself as the flower isn't unique. Chamomile looks like a common daisy with a yellow bulb and thin, white petals surrounding it. If you try picking it yourself I'll give you a 50% chance that you're picking daisies. Romantic? Indeed. Medicinal? Probably not. There are some argued medical benefits to Daisy Tea, but none of them have much backing.

If you're game for picking weeds it's your time. But otherwise, I recommend stopping by your pharmacy and picking up some tea or capsules. You can sometimes buy the flower raw but rarely.

The Chamomile Tea Poll!

Have you ever consumed Chamomile Tea?

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A field of Chamomile flowers with the common daisy and others. Can you tell the difference between the daisy and the Chamomile? There's no reward if you guess right, except a good night's sleep.
A field of Chamomile flowers with the common daisy and others. Can you tell the difference between the daisy and the Chamomile? There's no reward if you guess right, except a good night's sleep.

Chamomile Medicinal Uses

The main use of the Chamomile flower is for sleep. The plant has a mild sedative that can calm down stress and anxiety which helps promote sleep. Unfortunately, it probably won't work if you have chronic insomnia as the sedative effect isn't very strong. Still, though, it's something to keep in mind if work or school is driving you up the wall and you need to go to bed. Both flowers seem to be used for this though German Chamomile seems to work better.

On top of that, German Chamomile has been used to treat mild anxiety disorders. Taking it orally over a period of weeks can slowly reduce anxiety. The herb can take a while to start showing effects though, upwards of 8 to 10 weeks. If you need more immediate relief I'd talk to a doctor or psychiatrist instead.

You can also use German Chamomile for a whole host of gut issues. Taking it daily can help reduce the severity of diarrhea over a couple days for instance. It can ease an upset stomach and even manage acid reflux! It sounds like a wonder drug but it's tied to the plant's anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties. In other words, it reduces swelling and spasms in the gut. Apparently, these symptoms are closely linked to swelling and spasms.

Now I'm only adding this for completeness but you can use both flowers as an abortifacient. In other words an herbal abortion drug. I don't recommend it as the flowers don't have a high success chance but it is technically a remedy you can use. The reason this happens is that the flowers can cause the uterine walls to contract. If you're pregnant this can damage the fetus and induce a miscarriage. I suppose in this case you'd call it an abortion, not a miscarriage though.

Either way, I don't quite recommend it for that purpose. The success chance isn't very high. So if you want an abortion go to a clinic or try a mixture of herbs. This one by itself may or may not do anything.

On an odd note, The only medicinal benefit I've seen Roman Chamomile used for is sleep. Nobody I know has ever gotten it to do anything else, despite its wide use as an alternative medicine. Try it at your own risk but I don't know what benefits it has. There are good odds the rest of the alleged benefits only apply to German Chamomile.

This is a lady bug pollinating a common daisy. Bet you thought this was a Chamomile flower, didn't you? Daisies and Chamomile can look almost identical.
This is a lady bug pollinating a common daisy. Bet you thought this was a Chamomile flower, didn't you? Daisies and Chamomile can look almost identical.

Preparing the Chamomile Flower

Again, I'd recommend buying this from a pharmacy which means it's already prepared. But I'll keep this in for those hard-headed individuals. You may now imagine my exasperated sigh and downing of a few cups of Chamomile tea.

Okay, dry the flower petals and bulb. No matter what use you intend you'll need to dry the flower out for it. I'd recommend carefully using an oven. Chamomile isn't an antibiotic so it's the most practical method. You can try sun drying but you'll likely find it covered in stuff you don't want to put in your mouth.

Now, for anxiety sufferers, take about 1 gram of the dried herb and stuff it into a capsule. Take this capsule once per day to help manage your anxiety. It could take a few weeks to start showing effects but that's common with mind-altering drugs.

If you want to use the herb for its intestinal benefits you'll only need about 500 mg of the Chamomile flower. Take it orally once or twice per day. You should start noticing some effects within a couple days, but it could take a week. If you don't notice your symptoms improving after a week, nothing is going to happen.

I guess I have to include this. As an herbal abortifacient try taking about 5 grams of the drug daily. This isn't an exact science as not much study has been done on this use. It has such a low success chance that we probably wouldn't be able to find the exact dosage necessary to induce it. Again, I strongly recommend visiting a women's health clinic.

On a less controversial note, you can also brew Chamomile into a tea! Just double the dosage I listed above and mix it with some boiling water for a couple minutes. Add a bit of honey, lemon or both for a tasty night-time drink. Chamomile has an earthy and calming aroma making the tea very popular. Again, it's not too late to just go to your pharmacy and buy some tea bags. Seriously, you probably won't be able to tell what you're drying and putting in your mouth.

Chamomile Abortifacient Poll

Did you know that German Chamomile was used in herbal abortions?

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A cluster of Chamomile flowers growing up a fence. Sometimes they can intertwine with the fence wiring, making them look kind of creepy.
A cluster of Chamomile flowers growing up a fence. Sometimes they can intertwine with the fence wiring, making them look kind of creepy.

Toxicity of Chamomile

Surprisingly, this flower doesn't have many registered toxic effects. There has been no record of anyone overdosing on Chamomile. The worst this plant can do is interfere with a few drugs. Speaking of which don't take this two weeks before surgery!

Anyway, some drug interactions include birth control pills, estrogen, and sedatives. Chamomile can decrease the effects of birth control pills and estrogen. However, the herb can enhance other sedatives causing you to go out for longer than intended. In a worst-case scenario, mixing Chamomile with sedatives may never allow you to wake up. You see why I said to avoid this two weeks before surgery?

Now I probably don't need to mention this, but a miscarriage. As I mentioned earlier the flower has a chance of causing a miscarriage if you're pregnant. So unless that's your intention, don't take it.

Chamomile Toxicity Poll!

Did you know all of these side effects of Chamomile?

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As the season ends, the German Chamomile loses its leaves and starts to bear fruit if pollinated. Some people rip it out of their gardens as this happens.
As the season ends, the German Chamomile loses its leaves and starts to bear fruit if pollinated. Some people rip it out of their gardens as this happens.

© 2018 Michael Ward

Comments

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  • jennzie profile image

    Jenn 

    20 months ago from Pennsylvania

    Very informative! I'll sip a cup of hot chamomile tea with honey when I am sick or just to relax.

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