The Calming Chamomile

chamomile

Words: Usha Gajapati RAJU

Question: I have heard that chamomile is good and it has useful benefits. Could you please specify them for my information?

— K P, Pune

Answer: Think of chamomile as a mild, light and useful ‘adjuvant.’

Chamomile is a calming, also useful anti-inflammatory herb. It is helpful in the treatment of mild forms of inflammatory pain — but, not in progressive inflammatory states. Chamomile has a soothing action on the nerves [nervine], thanks to its calming [tranquillising] effect.

The herb has a reputation too in tummy problems. As a matter of fact, mothers, in some societies, drink chamomile tea, and pass on the calming effect to their idiosyncratic babies through milk.

The flowers, the main part of the plant used, contain calcium, glycoside, tannin, and anti-worm acids. So, they are good for you.

Chamomile is also reputed to enhance menstrual flow and reduce pain during menses. While herbalists suggest that chamomile is generally useful in mild inflammation, it may also be used just as effectively in the form of a tea, or poultice.

In addition, chamomile is supposed to help repel insects, when you dab the tea [unsweetened] over your body, and let it dry.

Beauticians commend chamomile to be an excellent hair wash — it ushers in softness and glow to your hair.

Dosage

Since the essential oil in chamomile is unstable, it should be allowed to steep for 8-10 minutes, in a covered container — to retain the essence. One teaspoon of the flowers may be used per cup of tea. Drink 2-3 times a day, and you would sure be ‘bowled’ over by its real yummy flavour.

You may also love to drink chamomile tea with honey — it makes a delightful beverage.

USHA GAJAPATI RAJU, MSc, a specialist nutritionist and dietician, has over 27 years of clinical and corporate consulting experience. She holds a Bachelor’s in Home Science, a Master’s in Nutrition & Dietetics, and an MBA [Marketing]. Apart from being a Certified Diabetes Educator, Raju has a World Health Organisation [WHO] Membership in Diabetes Prevention and Management Programme. A Member of enteral nutrition with the Indian Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition [IAPEN] and an ardent believer in sustainable lifestyle and home-based solid waste management practices, kitchen gardening and organic farming, Raju’s efforts have earned her the ‘Best Achiever in Solid Waste Management’ National Award, Mumbai, 2018, and ‘Agent of Change’ from Prajapitha Brahma Kumaris [International Women’s Day 2020]. She lives in Visakhapatnam, India.

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