It’s not just a flower. Native to Europe, this flower has a rich history as a treatment for many different conditions. It is related to flowers in the daisy family. For people that have allergies to Daisies, they need to proceed with caution when taking chamomile. It may cause an allergic reaction.
Common chamomile was spoken about in ancient texts. It grows low to the ground spreading out runners. The leaves have a feathery appearance. The flowers themselves look remarkably like the common daisy, but there is a world of difference. Daisies are not known to have the number of uses as chamomile does. Another relative, echinacea, is also member of the daisy family. Herbalists believe that echinacea improves the immune system. It is possible that chamomile has a positive effect on the immune system as well.
Most people would agree that the aromatic scent given off by chamomile plants is similar to that of apples. In Spain, they refer to it as Manzanilla, or little apples. The Greeks gave the plant the name kamai melon, meaning ground apple. Because the plant is a low growing fruit that has the distinctive smell of apples, the old Greek name became the basis for our modern word chamomile. While apples and chamomile are completely different types of plants, they do share one characteristic in addition to smell — they help promote improved and healthy functioning of the body.
Chamomile has a calming, soothing effect. When taken as a tea, it helps calm the stomach and intestinal linings. As a relaxant, it helps soothe muscle spasms, uterine cramps, bowel spasms. Scientific studies have shown the plant has anti-inflammatory properties, which may explain why people experience pain relief. The substance responsible for this effect is coumarin. Coumadin shares a similar name and is prescribed as a blood thinner.
To make a decoction of tea, simply steep the leaves in boiling water for 20 minutes. The pleasing aroma and calming effect of this herb make it especially beneficial to drink before going to sleep.
Cosmetic companies love natural ingredients these days. Chamomile can now be found in a variety of skin and hair care preparations. It calms and softens skin, leaving behind a fresh glow.
As with skin, chamomile softens the hair and scalp, soothing conditions like dandruff. Some speculate it fights DHT, but there is no real proof. As for hair loss, there is no evidence supporting allegations this ingredient fights hair loss. However, it is not harmful, and it will probably make hair look soft.