By Patricia Kyritsi Howell, RH (AHG)
Sometimes simple things result in dramatic changes. One of my favorite examples of this is chamomile. One of the most popular herbs in the world, it is found in almost every tea blend sold in the US. It is cultivated in just about every country in the northern hemisphere, and has been used for hundreds of years and for good reason.
With its pleasant aromatic flavor, slightly reminiscent of dried apples, chamomile flowers are full of chemical compounds responsible for a wide range of healing actions. In fact, chamomile is my first herb of choice for just about any situation. Why? Because it gently relaxes the nervous system, something we can all use as we ride the waves of overstimulation in our daily lives. Think of chamomile tea as a way to turn down the volume on stress and it’s damaging effects.
When you experience stress, whether it is generated by positive or negative events, your endocrine system generates a cascade of chemicals designed to help you react quickly. In response you stop digesting, your immune system becomes less vigilant, the muscles of chest and stomach contract to restrict breathing and, well… you get the idea. In time, the over production of stress-generated chemicals, such as adrenaline and cortisol, will have a damaging effect on just about every aspect of your health.
This is where chamomile comes in. By simply stopping in the course of your busy day to sit down and drink a cup or two of chamomile tea, you can counteract the damaging effects of stress.
Specifically, chamomile gently simulates digestion while it relaxes any tendency towards spasms or cramping in the stomach and intestines. It exerts this same soothing activity on almost every muscle in the body to relieve tightness in the neck and shoulders, low back pain, menstrual cramps, and tension headaches. The volatile oils found in chamomile are anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. Pain and inflammation caused by stomach flu, respiratory infection, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, food allergies, gastritis, gastric reflux and ulcerative colitis, are reduced when you sip a cup or two of warm chamomile tea.
And chamomile is extremely safe for children and babies, pregnant or nursing women, and the elderly. So the next time you feel that life is moving just a bit too fast, sit down with a cup of chamomile tea and savor the simple pleasures of this gentle, calming herb.
Photo Source: Proverbs 31 Woman
Patricia Kyritsi Howell, RH (AHG) is a clinical herbalist with more than 20 years experience and the author of Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians. A member of the Governing Council of the American Herbalists Guild, she is founder and director of the BotanoLogos School of Herbal Studies, located in the mountains of northeast Georgia.
Learn more at www.wildhealingherbs.com.