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Chamomile: The Healer

Author: Solstice Moon

Copyright © 2001 by Echoed Voices. All rights reserved.
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Chamomile is one of the oldest favorites amongst garden herbs and its reputation as a medicinal plant shows little signs of abatement. The Egyptians reverenced it for its virtues, and from their belief in its power to cure ague, dedicated it to their gods. No plant was better known to the country folk of old, it having been grown for centuries in English gardens for its use as a common domestic medicine to such an extent that the old herbals agree that 'it is but lost time and labor to describe it.'


Chamomile with disks of gold,
Cover the ground oh so bold.
As these seeds of life we sow,
We ask for blessings as you grow.

With the Sun's westering ray,
May you spread, may you stray.
'Til called upon for all our needs,
Of your many properties.

Mother, bless thee in the ground,
For chamomile's gifts unbound.
Bring forth Earth?s magickal fee,
As I will, so mote it be.
-M.L. Benton © copyright 2002

Chamomile
Anthemis Noblis
Annual

Folk Names: Garden Healer, Maythen, Manzanilla,
Chamamelon, Camomile, Camomyle, Ground Apple,
Earth Apple, Melon Apple and Whig Plant.

Gender: Masculine
Planet: Sun
Element: Water
God: Amun Ra, Apollo, Buddha, Janus, Jupiter,
Herackles, Pluto, Woden, Angus
Goddess: Cerridwen, Iris, Ops, Vasudhara, Venus,
Astarte, Hathor, Ishtar
Tarot: The Empress
Color: Gold
Day: Wednesday
Magickal: Money, Love, Purification, New Life
{New Endeavors}, Meditations
Medicinal: Sleep, Analgesic, Antidepressant, Antirheumatic,
Dry Skin, Pink-eye, Kidney & Bladder Infections, Fever, Colitis,
Headaches, Indigestion, Menstruation, Vomiting, Warts, Eyestrain or Tired Eyes.
Culinary: Preservative, Meat Jams, and Teas
Cosmetic: Hair Rinse, Skin Creams, Skin Toners
Other Uses: Mildew Remover, Dye, Garden Healing
Parts Used: Flowers and herb


Legend



From Deborah Harding; According to legend, chamomile was one of the sacred herbs brought to the world by the God Woden. Another legend tells that ancient Egyptians dedicated chamomile to the sun, because of its gold centered disk and because it was well known for its power to cure chills and fevers, much like the rays of the sun.

Chamomile was used as a strewing herb in Medieval England. The flowers were spread on the floor to freshen the air. Before the invention of refrigeration, meat was immersed in a chamomile infusion to prevent spoilage.

Magickal



You can burn Chamomile as an incense, when meditating. You can also burn at night before bedtime. It induces sleep and wards off nightmares. Scatter Chamomile around your property for use in protections. Wear the chamomile oil or place the flowers in your wallet to attract money.

History


From Mrs. Grieves; The fresh plant is strongly and agreeably aromatic, with a distinct scent of apples - a characteristic noted by the Greeks, on account of which they named it 'ground-apple' - kamai (on the ground) and melon (an apple) - the origin of the name Chamomile. The Spaniards call it 'Manzanilla,' which signifies 'a little apple,' and give the same name to one of their lightest sherries, flavored with this plant.

When walked on, its strong, fragrant scent will often reveal its presence before it is seen. For this reason it was employed as one of the aromatic strewing herbs in the Middle Ages, and used often to be purposely-planted in green walks in gardens. Indeed walking over the plant seems especially beneficial to it.


'Like a chamomile bed -
The more it is trodden
The more it will spread,'


The aromatic fragrance gives no hint of its bitterness of taste. The Chamomile used in olden days to be looked upon as the 'Plant's Physician,' and it has been stated that nothing contributes so much to the health of a garden as a number of Chamomile herbs dispersed about it, and that if another plant is drooping and sickly, in nine cases out of ten, it will recover if you place a herb of Chamomile near it.

Description


The true or Common Chamomile is a low-growing plant, creeping or trailing, its tufts of leaves and flowers a foot high. The root jointed and fibrous, the stems, hairy and freely branching, are covered with leaves which are divided into thread-like segments, the fineness of which gives the whole plant a feathery appearance. The blooms appear in the later days of summer, from the end of July to September, and are borne solitary on long, erect stalks, drooping when in bud. With their outer fringe of white ray-florets and yellow centers, they are remarkably like the daisy.

Cultivation and Preparation


Chamomile requires a sunny situation. The single variety, being the wild type, flourishes in a rather dry, sandy soil, the conditions of its natural habits on wild, open common-land, but the double-flowered Chamomile needs a richer soil and gives the heaviest crop of blooms in moist, stiff black loam.

Medicinal


From Mrs. Grieves; Chamomile flowers are recommended as a tonic in dropsical complaints for their diuretic and tonic properties, and are also combined with diaphoretic and other stimulants with advantage. An official tincture is employed to correct summer diarrhea in children. Chamomile is used with purgatives to prevent griping, carminative pills being made from the essential essence of the flowers. The extract, in doses of 10 to 15 grains, combined with myrrh and preparations of iron, also affords a powerful and convenient tonic in the form of a pill. The fluid extract of flowers is taken in doses of from 1/2 to 1 drachma; the oil, B. P. dose, 1/2 to 3 drops.

Apart from their employment internally, Chamomile flowers are also extensively used by themselves, or combined with an equal quantity of crushed poppy-heads, as a poultice and fomentation for external swelling, inflammatory pain or congested neuralgia, and will relieve where other remedies have failed, proving invaluable for reducing swellings of the face caused through abscesses. Bags may be loosely stuffed with flowers and steeped well in boiling water before being applied as a fomentation. The antiseptic powers of Chamomile are stated to be 120 times stronger than seawater. A decoction of Chamomile flowers and poppy heads is used hot as fomentation to abscesses - 10 parts of Chamomile flowers to 5 of poppy capsules, to 100 of distilled water.

The whole herb is used chiefly for making herb beers, but also for a lotion, for external application in toothache, earache, neuralgia, etc. One ounce of the dried herb is infused in 1 pint of boiling water and allowed to cool. The herb has also been employed in hot fomentation's in cases of local and intestinal inflammation.

Culpepper gives a long list of complaints for which Chamomile is 'profitable,' from agues and sprains to jaundice and dropsy, stating that 'the flowers boiled in lye are good to wash the head,' and tells us that bathing with a decoction of Chamomile removes weariness and eases pain to whatever part of the body it is employed. Parkinson, in his Earthly Paradise (1656), writes:
'Chamomile is put to divers and sundry users, both for pleasure and profit, both for the sick and the sound, in bathing to comfort and strengthen the sound and to ease pains in the diseased.'

Turner says:
'It hath floures wonderfully shynynge yellow and resemblynge the appell of an eye . . . the herbe may be called in English, golden floure. It will restore a man to hys color shortly yf a man after the longe use of the bathe drynke of it after he is come forthe oute of the bathe. This herbe is scarce in Germany but in England it is so plenteous that it groweth not only in gardynes but also VIII mile above London, it groweth in the wylde felde, in Rychmonde grene, in Brantfurde grene.... Thys herbe was consecrated by the wyse men of Egypt unto the Sonne and was rekened to be the only remedy of all agues.'

The dried flowers of A. nobilis are used for blond dyeing, and a variety of Chamomile known as Lemon Chamomile yields a very fine essential oil.



Bibliography


M.L. Benton's Herbal Blessings


Mrs. Grieve's Modern Herbal


The Craft by Dorothy Morrison Llewellyn Worldwide


The Green Guide to Herb Gardening by Deborah C. Harding Llewellyn Worldwide


Solstice Moon's Book of Shadows


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