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Chamomile, the Wonder Flower

Once, while living in Germany, I had a horrific pain on my tail bone. There’s no neater way to couch this: it was an abscess. A boil, if you will. And it was so painful that I couldn’t walk, couldn’t sit, and could hardly sleep. I’ll spare you the gory and frankly disgusting details, but after I was finally taken care of at the hospital and asked for something to help heal the area, the doctor told me to take a sitzbad (sitz bath in English) in Chamomile.

Chamomile? I had visions of sitting in a bath with a hundred chamomile tea bags. But no, the pharmacy in Germany actually sells Chamomile powder specifically designed for healing sitz baths. The baths that I took twice a day for a week were heavenly and miraculous. I’ve been a believer in the healing powers of chamomile ever since. Healing plants are fascinating, and I wanted to learn more about this spectacular flower/plant.

As it turns out, Chamomile is not a specific flower, but refers to a range of different daisy-like plants of which there are many different species. Chamomile are native in many countries throughout Europe, and are cultivated in such countries as Germany, Egypt, France, Spain, Italy, Morocco, and parts of Eastern Europe. The various different Chamomile plants are very distinct and require their own set of conditions to grow.

Chamomile’s active ingredients contain sedative, calming and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to have antispasmodic effects (I love the word antispasmodic, meaning something to soothe muscle contractions, which is why it’s recommended to ease stomach aches). Among Chamomile’s many uses and benefits, it can combat colic and stimulate appetite, both by ingesting and by putting infused compresses directly to the abdomen.

Many ointments and creams use Chamomile as a key ingredient to promote skin healing, reduce inflammation, and it can even be as an antiviral. Applied to the skin, it can help lighten spots, even out skin tone and help with acne. In shampoos it can prevent and eliminate dandruff.

Finally, and perhaps my favorite aspect of this magnificent plant is that it removes free radicals which causes skin to age rapidly.

So drink it, sit in it, rub it on, sprinkle it, compress it. Either way you use it, you benefit.

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