Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday What Herb IS This - Chamomile

Also called Roman chamomile, English chamomile, Perennial Chamomile, Wild Chamomile, Camomyle, Chamaimelon, Maythen (Saxon), Whig plant, Heermannchen (German), Manzanilla (Spanish), and Ground Apple. This herb derives its name from the Greek "kamai melon", which means "ground apples". Chamomile is an annual fragrant herb, the flowers of which make a wonderful, soothing tea. It originates in southern and eastern Europe, but has "migrated to almost every continent, and can now be found growing along fence rows, roadsides, and in sunny open fields from Southern Canada to Northern U.S. west to Minnesota.

As early as the ancient Egyptians there are notes of use of Chamomile for medicinal and other purposes. As far back as ancient Egyptian days, noblewomen would use chamomile as a medicinal herb, an aromatic herb and a good luck charm. It is said that the Egyptians dedicated Chamomile to their sun god (it was associated with the god Ra for its healing powers) and valued it over all other herbs for its healing qualities. They used chamomile as a cure for a condition called ‘agu, which is a form of malaria.When the body of King Ramesses II was displayed in Paris, permission was obtained to take skin tissue for analysis. One of the findings was that the body and abdominal cavity of the king had been anointed with chamomile oil. It is believed that the chamomile oil was used in the mummification process of the King for its insect repelling qualities. The Romans also dedicated chamomile to their gods and chamomile was used by India’s ancient Ayurvedic physicians. The Vikings added chamomile to hair shampoos to aid the lightening of blond hair, and it was one of the Saxons' nine sacred herbs, which they called ‘Maythen.’The Anglo-Saxons believed chamomile was one of the sacred herbs given to the earth by the god Woden. Chamomile was taken to the Americas by the Pilgrim Fathers of both British and German descent. The herb is so popular to the Germans that they have given it the exaggerated label of herb ‘alles zutraut’, meaning ‘capable of anything.’ In Victorian times, chamomile symbolized patience in adversity; Chamomile is believed by some to possess the power to attract money, gamblers soak their hands in a chamomile infusion in order to increase their chances of winning.  Historically, chamomile plants have been used as a natural insecticide and good luck charm for almost every garden. Due to its sedative and relaxing properties Chamomile was an ingredient in some love potions in the middle ages.

Chamomile is a versatile herb medicinally that treats a plethora of common ailments.  Generally, there are three categories of use - as an anti-inflammatory for the skin, as an anti-infective for many common ailments, and as an anti-spasmodic for such problems as stomach cramps and indigestion. Used in a Tea, or in Capsule form, Chamomile flowers are used internally for many common physical symptoms, including menstrual cramps, stomach cramps, indigestion, flatulence, diarrhea, fever, colds, congestion, headaches, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, stress, nervousness, appetite loss. It fights bacteria and aids poor digestion.  For babies, it is helpful with symptoms of colic and teething pain. Externally, Chamomile flowers can be ground into a paste (grind with mortar & pestle and add some water or unsweetened tea - add oatmeal slowly as needed for consistency) and used to treat skin irritations such as ulcers, infections, rashes, and burns.  The flowers can also be used in a bath to ease the pain of hemorrhoids and cystitis, and the essential oil can be applied to combat neuralgia and eczema.  To prepare a bath, put a handful of flowers in a mesh bag, hang it on the tap using string or whatever, and run the bath water over it. (Use the same bath water, or an unsweetened tea, on brown hair to create golden highlights.)  Lastly, Chamomile flowers can be used in a steam inhaler for respiratory and allergic problems such as asthma, hay fever, and sinusitis. Chamomile tea is a great relaxer - use in dream pillows and as meditation incense. It is said to help prepare the body and mind for magic.

Magically, Chamomile is used in money spells, love spells, purification, meditation and as a sleep aid. You should sprinkle it around the home to remove and repel curses. When doing prosperity spells or amulets use to attract money. Bathe children in chamomile tea to protect from the evil eye, and it is said to be useful in breaking curses cast against you. To attract a lover, run a bath with a bag of Chamomile under the tap water, and wash body, face, and hair with the water.  Also, use it in a bath for peace and tranquility when you are angry or hurt. Wash your hands or bathe in Chamomile if you are a gambler - it is said to increase your chances of winning. Place Chamomile in your pillow for peaceful sleep. Use Chamomile to attract money by carrying with you in charms or burning in rituals. 



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