A Cup of Cozy
Happy New Year! I am certainly glad the temperature has warmed back up to normal. Those cold and cloudy days left me lazy. I only wanted to snuggle up by the fireplace with a cup of tea.
Do you have a bedtime ritual? I do. My husband and I settle in and watch an episode of Cheers or Frasier every single evening. We do this, because I don’t like surprises before bedtime. No cops and robbers for me.
I also make myself a cup of chamomile tea. It’s like coziness in a canister. Well, actually a bag. I purchase it in bulk online. One-pound bags, to be exact. Yes, I said one pound. And, yes, that is a lot of chamomile.
The Ohio State University College of Medicine has an herbal remedy section on their website. Under chamomile, the benefits they list include: boosting the immune system, soothing sore throats, calming anxiety and nervousness, relaxing sore muscles, and providing asthma relief. They state chamomile also has anti-cancer properties and is an anti-inflammatory for rashes and skin irritants. And to think, I only thought it was for promoting sleep at bedtime: u.osu.edu/engr2367pwww/top-herbal-remedies/chamomile
Using chamomile as a natural remedy is a treasured tradition dating back to Egypt, Greece and Rome. The health benefits stem from the plant’s flowers. Volatile oils in the flowers are extracted either through crushing them in order to produce a powder or by heating them in water.
You can reap the benefits of chamomile in the form of a salve for skin care, a vapor for breathing issues, or a cup of tea for calming. The latter is my preferred method.
You can also purchase chamomile essential oil. Dr. Josh Axe shares on his website that Roman chamomile essential oil has been shown to fight anxiety and depression, relieve allergies, and much more: draxe.com/roman-chamomile-essential-oil
Gardening Know How has a short and sweet article on growing chamomile. There are two types. The first is Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). The second is German chamomile (Matricaria recutita). Roman chamomile is considered a true chamomile, but the German variety is used for similar purposes.
Roman chamomile is a perennial plant that grows low to the ground, while German chamomile grows upright and is an annual with the potential to reseed itself. Both are hardy to zone three. You can plant either of these varieties in the spring from seeds or transplants. Chamomile prefers dry soil and a little shade: gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/chamomile/growing-chamomile.htm
I do grow German chamomile simply because I like the look of the plant with its tiny daisy like flowers. I do not, however, attempt to harvest the flowers. I consume a therapeutic dose of chamomile tea every night. This would require a lot of plants, and more time and patience than I could possibly muster.
A word of caution. If you are allergic to some flowers or weeds, then you may need to skip the chamomile. A small number of individuals have experienced an allergic reaction to it.
Kelley Rawlsky has an M.S. in horticulture and is the director of Bringing People and Plants Together, an organization dedicated to bringing horticulture education and therapy to the community. For more information: PeopleAndPlantsTogether @gmail.com or follow us on Facebook.