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Monday, June 11, 2007

The Soothing Chamomiles

Matricaria recutita © 2000 Joseph Dougherty/ecology.org.

There are two kinds of chamomile commonly used in aromatic treatment. German chamomile, matricaria recutita pictured above - and Roman Chamomile, anthemis nobilis. The flowers look almost identical, but you can tell the oils apart as they are different. As you can see, they belong to the Daisy family
Asteraceae, whose bright-faced flowers like bellis perennis dot English lawns and are ruthlessly eradicated by lawn purists; or dandelions, which are even tougher to get rid of.

Both Chamomiles are cooling and soothing. They calm and induce sleep. They help with pain in the nerves and muscles. They are supportive to the liver, encouraging its detoxification function and regulating the Qi. Both relax the diaphragm and the abdomen, helping with shallow, anxious breaths and nervous cramps. Both ease the frustration held in the solar plexus when we have fixed expectations which are difficult for the unpredictable world to fulfill.

German Chamomile is a thick blue colour, pungent and viscous. It is rich in Azulene, a monoterpene chemical which only turns blue in the distillation process and bisabolol, an anti-inflammatory agent. Its smell is sweet and earthy with a bitter tone. I reach for German Chamomile in creams and gels to heal the skin: to cool red eruptive rashes, or inflamed edges of wounds and grazes (not on the open wound itself, it would sting!). It has both sedated my toothache - and my anxiety in the dentist chair from having two wisdom teeth out this year - and aided in swift healing after. German Chamomile helped to cool the inflammation of the lining of my lung after my bad bout with the viral flu. It eased the pain of the torn muscles in my ribs from the coughing!

Roman Chamomile is lighter, more appley, still with a bittersweet bite. I use this with children, to sooth their nights, calm their tummies, wash their stings, stop the itching for chicken pox, in their ears for ear infections. As for the rest of us, massage into tense muscles, apply to the abdomen for pms and period pains, stress and insomnia. Lovely in the bath after prolonged exposure to relatives during the holiday season.

The chamomiles blend well with lavender and geranium, also jasmine and rose. For a first aid blend, mix with helichrysum (for bruises) and ravensara (anti-infectious).

These are two oils I always carry with me in my tool box.

16 comments:

Lee Ping said...

Dear Msiagirl,

I can tell that you are a very detailed person, you make your own first aid kit! I am so glad that Kenny introduced you to all of his readers in his blog.

msiagirl said...

Hi lee ping! When I am not wandering around dreaming, I am very into the details of things :) In mommyland, I am always scrambling to be organised, but that is always because I have to come back from dreamworld!

Kenny Mah said...

Lee Ping,
I'm sure you'd love Msiagirl in person, as all of us here in KL did when she came down last month. She's just one of those people whose natural bubbliness and cheer of spirit spill over from her real self into her "blogger" self. If that makes any sense at all.

And Msiagirl dear, I'm still so loving "Kenny B Good" though I use it very sparingly. You have a way with the oils, I tell ya... ;)

msiagirl said...

Kenny luv, who is my sweet PR person then?! ;)

Potions are my passion, you know and I'm learning more everyday. Use up your potion Kenny, there is abundance in the universe and there's usually a way to get you more.

lyn said...

Hey there, sorry have not replied your e-mail...so many things to say, so little time. Didn't know got different types of chamomile. Good to know you had a blast with Kenny and gang, must make sure we get to meet up next time you're back here!

msiagirl said...

Hey Lyn! Good to see you here and definitely try to see you when I am back next...dunno when...but will let you know. Hmm...do you always use this name? I think you have been stalking Unkaleong's abs, eh? Shh I won't tell muahahahaha...

Lee Ping said...

Dear Msiagirl,
I think we will get along just fine because my friends say I am bubbly too.

Kenny,
I want a personal reading as well, when I visit KL. My 3 kids enjoy being read to. :)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I shall memorise this information and use it at the next cocktail party I go to...ppl are gonna think I'm extremely intelligent. hehe.

Like Kenny, I've been using my precious Lyrical Lemongrass oil sparingly. But I just realised I can get top-ups when I visit u in September, eh? ;-)

msiagirl said...

lee ping, I am sure you will have a lovely time when you go home, if you meet up with everyone. :) The nice thing about blogland is that when we do meet up, we already have something and some people in common.

Lovely Lyrical, at cocktail parties when ppl hear what I do I get to hear about warts, aches and pains! So be careful, you might get too much info if you mention it! Yes, when you come you can get big top-up for Kenny and you ;) See Kenny, your fairies are at work.

Kenny Mah said...

Everyone,
What a lovely conversation we've got going here, with top-up of oil (not the sort you get at the petrol station, thankfully) to personal readings. Consider it done. Ahh, the most fragrant and relaxing blog in the blogosphere be this realm... ;)

Lee Ping said...

Kenny, you are really the master of bringing people together. Let's meet at Msiagirl's blog again.

Lee Ping said...

My allergies is really bad. The red wine is not helping either.

msiagirl said...

Chamomiles are good for allergies too :) and acupuncture...

Kathryn said...

Can I use the essential oil directly on my now wounded knee after surgery or would you dilute with a little olive oil or the Weleda oil? I feel like I should bath in a big vat of it!

I also read somewhere that chamomile tea can help clear your head when you are trying to get over a coffee addiction. Do you think that is true?

msiagirl said...

Kathryn, It's best to dilute it - 5 drops to a teaspoon. Can you get comfrey oil or paste? I think Potters used to do a comfrey balm thing - comfrey's folk name is knitbone. Mix the german chamomile in that if you can get it.

Chamomile is a liver oil - it assists liver function, so when we are overloaded with caffeine, it helps to purify the blood. probably good for hangovers and allergies for that reason!

Kathryn said...

Thanks Msiagirl. I will see. I think Kerry will have that. This whole thing has me weaned off the caffeine not just have to get better so can get off pain meds. The chamomile is going to be needed.

I also want to give some in the tea form to Ellie to help her liver function considering all the drugs she is on. Hmmm.

Great post. Such a pretty little flower with so much impact!