Chamomile (or camomile) is a common name for several daisy-like plants. The greeks named them “earth-apple-on the ground” for their apple-like scent. There are several varieties of Chamomile - each one used for slightly different purposes or intensities of properties. German or blue chamomile and Roman (English) chamomile, or the “garden” chamomile are the most commonly used.
These two types of chamomile are used for health conditions and are most commonly found in skin care or beauty products. While the two kinds are thought to have similar effects on the body, the German variety is more commonly used in the United States. Chamomile, is one of the oldest of all herbs, dating back to ancient Egyptians. It’s both a pretty flower and an ancient healer. Chamomile has been widely used for children and adults for thousands of years for a variety of health conditions.
Chamomile is an essential addition to the herbal first aid kit. It is a useful herb in many situations. It can relieve anxiety and calm someone down in the event of stress. It can also relieve gastrointestinal upset - after a big meal, or when stress doesn’t mix well with your meal. Chamomile is even an excellent herb to use as compresses for eye problems. Warm two tea bags with chamomile flowers to ease itchy eyes, especially when traveling to different parts of the country and you are not immune to the allergens in that area. It is also used topically for skin conditions and for mouth ulcers resulting from cancer treatment.
How It Is Used
The flowering tops of the chamomile plant are used to make teas, liquid extracts, capsules, or tablets. The herb can also be applied to the skin as a cream or an ointment, or used as a mouth rinse.
Chamomile in Skin Care Products
This versatile herb is also recognized as a natural healing treatment that helps rejuvenate the skin. There are many wonderful natural facial treatments on the market today that incorporate Chamomile as a key ingredient.
To make a quick and easy tea facial, simply apply a paste made from one teaspoon of fine cornmeal mixed with cooled tea to the face, let dry, then gently rub off.
This very gentle skin tonic is ideal to replenish and enrich dry or sensitive skin. Its bactericidal, anti-itching, and antiseptic properties help to refresh the skin and reduce swelling.
Making paste with extra-strong brew and using it as an external wash or part of a hot compress can also help soothe burns, skin rashes, and sores.
Chamomile has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Chamomile contains an anti-inflammatory compound called alpha bisabolol which helps to soothe itchy, red skin. For this reason, Chamomile along with some other herbs and natural treatments has shown promise as skin treatments for eczema.
According to family physician Dr. Kristie Leong, “Chamomile has been used throughout history to treat various skin conditions and some studies have shown it works as effectively as low dose steroid creams without the side effects. Chamomile oil can be purchased at some health food stores. It needs to be diluted with a carrier oil such as almond oil or jojoba and can then be applied as a skin treatment for eczema. Bathing in warm water containing chamomile flowers may also help to soothe inflammation and itching. Simply make a bath bag using chamomile flowers and float it in a tub of warm bath water.”
For easing skin inflammations and acne, make a strong chamomile tea, and wipe the cooled liquid over your face each morning. This effective daily rinse tones and cleanses.
Essential Oil Usage
Both Roman and German chamomile have excellent calming properties, but Roman chamomile is more effective for irritation, impatience and feeling disagreeable, and has great value in treating PMS and other menstrual and menopausal problems, while German chamomile is superbly effective on the skin, not only to sooth and calm, but to heal and for tissue regeneration.
Side Effects and Cautions
* There are reports of rare allergic reactions in people who have eaten or come into contact with chamomile products. Reactions include skin rashes, throat swelling, shortness of breath, and anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction).
* People are more likely to experience allergic reactions to chamomile if they are allergic to related plants in the daisy family, which includes ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies.
* Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This helps to ensure coordinated and safe care.