Day 166/365 - On Chamomile

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6/15/17

Today I’m continuing the stress-busting herb brief ‘monographs.’ Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is probably one of the most well-known and used herbs for the purpose of calming down the mind and the gut, and can be found in almost everyone’s pantry around the world. The most commonly used is ‘Roman’ chamomile, whereas the “German chamomile” is a bit stronger and is not considered safe in pregnancy. The name in Latin means “apple” - because of its odor reminiscent of apples. It’s known as a gentle sedative, calming agent, and digestive aid. It speaks to the ‘gut-mind’ - i.e. the enteric nervous system, a.k.a. ‘The second brain.’ Our gut houses the second greatest amount of neurons as our central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), and plays a role in making neurotransmitters. Chamomile can help mind IBS and stress related stomach upset, but caution to those with reflux or hyperchlorydia because it can increase stomach acid. Chamomile is also antiinflammatory and can help treat tension headaches. It’s indicated for “people who need a hug” or people who outwardly complain - “cry on outside.” (Unlike catnip, which I’ll talk about in the next blog.) Chamomile is often used for babies - for teething pain, colic, fevers, night terrors, and ADHD. As a tincture it is uplifting and brings joy; as a tea it’s a bitter and carminative, helping soothe the gut.