Benefits of Roman Chamomile

A native of Europe, Roman chamomile grows wild in some parts of this country. It is largely cultivated for medicinal purposes.

The whole HERB is used. However, the double flowers have been used chiefly in medicine, much of it being imported from Germany and England. Although the double flowers are preferred, the yellow flower discs contain the valuable medicinal  properties and not being fully developed in the double flowers, the single are the most powerful. The radial florets contain the aromatic flavor: the whitest (when dried) are preferred. The FLOWERS only are official.

The Roman chamomile is considered the true chamomile, although the German chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilia), belonging to the same family, is closely allied in medicinal properties.

The whole HERB has a peculiar odor and a bitter aromatic taste. The flowers impart their odor and taste to both water and alcohol. They are known to contain an essential oil, probably one of their active ingredients. It may be obtained by distilling the flowers with water.

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Chamomile is a mild tonic and in small doses strengthens the stomach. In cold infusion, it is advantageously used in enfeebled digestion and indigestion. It is especially applicable to cases of general debility with languid appetite, which often at- tends convalescence from idiopathic fevers. For digestive troubles, infuse 5 or 6 of the flowers in 1/2 C. boiling water, allow to stand a few minutes, then drink the whole.

Chamomile has acquired a reputation as a febrifuge, especially in remittants when the subsidence of action between the paroxysms is so considerable as to demand the use of tonics but not sufficiently complete to resort to Peruvian Bark.

Chamomile, in substance, has, in some instances, proved effectual in the treatment of intermittents.

The tepid infusion is often given to promote emetic medicines or to assist the stomach in relieving itself when oppressed by its contents. Large and frequent doses will cause an emesis, but this will be an advantage rather than a detriment.

The flowers are sometimes applied as fomentations in irritation or inflammation of the abdominal viscera and as gentle incitants in flabby, ill-conditioned ulcers.

The infusion is usually preferred. The decoction and extract cannot exert the full influence of the medicine, as the essential oil, upon which its virtues partly depend, is drawn off – at the boiling temperature.

The hot infusion will produce a good flow of blood to the surface. It acts promptly upon the circulation, stomach, nerves,  mucous membrane, and uterus. It is useful in colds, bilious fevers, puerperal fever, and bilious headache.

The cold infusion will be useful in amenorrhoea and dysemenorrhoea when the menstrual flow is slow and painful causing nervous irritation, it acting upon the uterus in relieving congestion and stimulating the flow. In colds, the warm or hot infusion with the addition of a little ginger will be found effective. In coughs, where a soothing expectorant is needed, add spikenard.

A poultice of the FLOWERS is excellent in the reduction of swellings where it is not desirable to bring them to a head.

The following has been widely used in the treatment of painful bruises, swellings, neuralgia and toothache: chamomiles flowers 1 oz. and 3 poppy heads. Break the poppy heads and mix together. Pour on sufficient boiling water to make into a poultice and apply as hot as possible.

It was once thought if consumptives breathed in the odor of the chamomile, it would have a purifying effect on the lungs.

Hairdressers use the flowers to rinse the hair, to preserve the golden tints, and to add to its fragrance. Oil is used in hair lotions. To make the hair rinse, simmer the flowers for 1 hr. then strain and bottle for use.

As a tonic, the powdered flowers may be used in doses of 1/2 to 1 Dr., 3 times daily. The infusion of 1 oz. to 1 pint boiling water is taken in doses of 1 T. to 1 wine-glassful.

The flowers should NEVER be boiled as the volatile oil will escape in the steam.

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