The many benefits of chamomile

CHAMOMILE reminds me of my childhood. My mom would make me German chamomile tea when I was sick, and in Ibiza, Spain, where we spent countless summers, we used to buy our "manzanilla" from a knowledgeable herbalist whose shop smelled heavenly.

Actually, a lot of my childhood memories are packed with the scents of this extraordinary island: Lavender, rosemary, thyme, sage, fennel and wild chamomile, enhanced by the heat of the sun, left an indelible impression in my olfactory memory. 

Chamomile is often called the physician’s plant, as it assists neighboring ailing plants. Planting it next to onions for example will improve their health, growth and flavor. Chamomile also attracts pollinators and beneficial insects. If you are thinking of adding it to your garden, chamomile is also drought tolerant and once established, only needs to be watered in times of prolonged drought.

Roman chamomile essential oil is highly aromatic and has a therapeutic, calming effect on the skin, mind, and body. It is said to help support a healthy immune system. I have been using it a lot lately and am loving its herbaceous, apple-like fragrance ("manzanilla", the Spanish name for it, means "little apple").

Roman chamomile has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, and can be used to alleviate hay fever symptoms, as it relieves mucus congestion, irritations, swelling and skin conditions associated with seasonal allergies. 

Spiritually, it is said to support one seeking purpose. It can help overcome feelings of hopelessness, to find clarity and focus. It is thought to soften one's Ego in order to tune into one’s own intuitive center for inner guidance, rather than one's fears or negative patterns.

Emotionally, it brings a sense of calm and peacefulness, and promotes serenity in all areas of life. 

If you are using it in a diffuser, or with other essential oils, it blends well with lavender, rose, geranium, and clary sage.

And remember, a cup of chamomile tea is great when you feel under the weather, or to heal a sore throat . You can add some honey to speed up the healing process even more, or help with a cough. You can even squeeze in some lemon juice for added vitamin C. But for a simple cup of comfort and for a good night's sleep, I enjoy just chamomile and a touch of honey, nothing else. It tastes truly wonderful!