Chamomile medicinal: description
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is the most famous wild herb found today in most of Europe, Asia, North America and even Australia in the wild.
An annual herbaceous plant with a bare, strongly branched stem, up to 50 cm high. The leaves are alternate, very thin and slightly similar in appearance to dill leaves. 4 to 7 cm long.
It grows in fields and along roads, in forest clearings, meadows and pastures, while Roman chamomile almost does not grow in the wild. Afraid of stagnant water: from stagnant water, it rots! In addition, too humid air and frequent rains can spoil its flowering.
Note! Many plants of the Aster family have inflorescences very similar to the pharmacy chamomile, but differ from it in the shape and size of the leaves. To recognize it in the wild, just look at the leaves of the plant.
The flowers are collected in inflorescences-baskets on the tops of the stems, and have long petioles. The size of the inflorescences is usually 2-2.5 cm, has a cone-shaped bulge and a cavity. Chamomile officinalis blooms throughout the summer.
How to grow medicinal chamomile in the garden?
Sowing chamomile can be carried out in open ground. It grows best in full sun or partial shade. It is fairly easy to grow and does not require much water or fertilizer. The plant is undemanding to the soil: it grows well both on heavy clay and on sandy and arid soils.
Chamomile seeds are sown on the prepared bed. They should not be buried, but only rolled on the surface. It requires regular removal of weeds and is more demanding in tillage, especially in weeding.
You can sow for a long time during the season. Chamomile seeds germinate in the presence of moisture in the soil, so in summer or late spring it is regularly watered after sowing. When the plants reach 5 cm in height, the weaker ones are eliminated, the rest should be at a distance of about 20 cm from each other.
Collection and drying of chamomile
Chamomile is harvested from the beginning to the end of flowering (from May to September), but it is better in July and August, when they are more fragrant. It would be better if they were only open for a few hours. Harvesting should be done in the morning when the days are dry and without dew.
Only inflorescences are used as medicinal raw materials, and the leaves themselves have no pharmacological value.
Please note: Common chamomile is easily confused with Roman chamomile, given their completely different properties. The structure of flower heads in Matricaria recutita is always hollow inside. The fragrant flowers of both plants are harvested and dried for use as teas and extracts.
Flower heads for use are harvested during the full flowering period. They at this time have the maximum concentration of active ingredients, and their aroma is intense. You can harvest multiple times. Peduncles are cut off no more than 2 cm long, the stem is not torn. Choose a sunny, dry day for picking.
Flowers are dried at temperatures up to 40 ° C in thin layers in the shade. Useful components are destroyed in direct sunlight and at higher temperatures. When dried, the volume is reduced to five times. Dried flowers crumble easily. Store them in a well-closed container, protected from moisture.
Chamomile pharmacy: application
Chamomile flowers have anti-inflammatory, disinfectant and anti-allergic effects. Chamomile medicinal contains essential oil, flavonoids, coumarins, polysaccharides, mineral salts, carotene, ascorbic acid, choline, organic acids and other components.
Raw materials are used internally and externally in the form of tea, decoction, tincture, oil, ointment, compresses, baths, inhalations and rinses.
Internal use :
- reduces fever and promotes sweating;
- relieves spasms, reduces bloating;
- treats inflammation of the digestive tract and urinary tract;
- soothes and helps with insomnia;
- soothes sore throat and headache;
- treats cough, runny nose, colds, intestinal disorders and stomach problems;
- laxative effect;
- strengthens the immune system.
Herbal tea can also be used to prepare external compresses in the treatment of rheumatic diseases, minor wounds, hemorrhoids, skin rashes, eye diseases such as burning and redness.
- skin rashes, eczema, minor abrasions and wounds;
- eye inflammation, such as conjunctivitis;
- rheumatic edema;
- poorly healing wounds;
- gynecological problems.
You can use the beneficial vapors of chamomile to relieve the symptoms of colds, asthma and coughs. Chamomile baths have a calming effect.
Chamomile in cosmetology
Included in a number of ointments, creams, herbal water, etc.
Preparation of preparations from chamomile
The medicinal properties of chamomile are mainly used in the form of herbal tea, which is prepared by steeping a teaspoon of flower heads in 250 ml of hot water for 3 minutes.
For inhalation: 1 tablespoon pour a liter of boiling water.
Bath decoction: boil 4 tablespoons of dried chamomile in hot water, let it brew and strain into bath water.
Herbal pillow: linen bag, stuffed with dried flowers and sewn up. Heat up and apply to sore spots.
Chamomile Oil: The flower heads contain an essential oil. Pour fresh flowers to the edge of the container, and pour in any cold-pressed oil so that the flowers are completely immersed in it. Close tightly and let stand for 2-3 weeks. Then strain through a cloth and store in the refrigerator.
Chamomile ointment: Melt 250 g of fat and mix with 4 tablespoons of fresh flowers. Heat to a boil and set aside. The next day, heat, filter through a cloth. The finished ointment is poured into a jar and stored in the refrigerator.
After rinsing blond hair with a decoction of chamomile, they brighten even more, gain strength and shine.
Chamomile, in any form, should be used as an addition to, and not a substitute for, your regular medication regimen. When taking any medication, it is always advisable to consult with your doctor before using chamomile.