Herbs-Treat and Taste is about herbs and spices and their uses in medicine and cookery.We give recipes and information which enable people to have a healthier diet which can prevent certain illnesses and alleviate symptoms such as a cough, sore throat etc.There is information on different herbs,their history ,what other people think or thought about them and what we think.
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CHAMOMILE: HOW TO MAKE CHAMOMILE TISANE
Chamomile was revered by the ancient Egyptians because they believed it could cure fevers. They also used the crushed flowers on the skin as cosmetics. It has been used by people in most cultures for its healing properties, notably as an aid to digestion, to relieve stomach cramps, as a mild sedative to cure insomnia and to ward off nightmares. There are many different types of chamomile, including Chamaemelum nobile, the one most commonly found in English gardens, Scotch Chamomile and German chamomile as well as the Stinking Mayweed or Stinking Chamomile, which Gerard wrote of as having a ‘naughty smell’.
The name chamomile comes from the Greek, kamai (on the ground) and melo (apple). Pliny wrote that it smells like apple blossom, so that may be how it got its name.
In Mediaeval times chamomile leaves and flowers were strewn on floors in much the same way as juniper leaves and thyme were, to mask odours.
It has been grown in gardens for centuries, and there is a verse which explains its resilience:-
‘Like a chamomile bed-
The more it is trodden
The more it will spread.’
Culpeper wrote that it was ‘profitable’ for almost everything, from sprains to fevers, and recommended bathing with a decoction of chamomile in a hot bath.
Peter Rabbit’s mother (in the Beatrix Potter book) gave Peter chamomile tea for a bad stomach, and it has been effective in helping digestion, and for reducing fevers. It is good for the skin and can help get rid of eczema; it can also be used in an eye bath for conjunctivitis. It is used in many toiletries, and recent research has shown that it does indeed have the properties ascribed to it by the ancient peoples who used it. The dried flowers can also be used as a natural yellow dye.
If you steep 10 parts of chamomile flowers with 5 of crushed poppy heads in a muslin bag, in boiling water for 20 mins, then apply the bag to the affected area, it will help reduce swelling. As an antiseptic, chamomile tisane is said to be 120 times stronger than sea water, which contains iodine
In the garden it is useful too. If you have a sickly-looking plant, and you plant chamomile beside it, 9 times out of 10 the plant will recover. Chamomile is known as “the plants physician”.
It is sacred to Druids, for its healing qualities, and is believed to bring luck, purification, love, rest, justice and fortune.
Below is a recipe which can be used externally and drunk as a tisane.
30 gr chamomile flowers
1 pint water
In a covered pan, boil water and flowers for 10 mins. Leave to steep for 20 minutes without removing the lid. Strain and take a small cup at a time.
This can be used on sunburn other minor burns, rashes and eczema too, just smooth onto the affected area with cotton wool.