Chamomile has a very long history of medicinal use. It is used to soothe not only the nervous system making it idea for stress, particularly for kids given its mild nature, but also the following:
Aches & pains
Cold & Flu
Does this sound like something that could benefit your child? I suspect so. It is rare these days that a child doesn’t experience and least one of these symptoms at least regularly, if not more than one frequently.
Fortunately, chamomile is mild enough to be used in infancy, can be grown easily in your own garden, making it very economical, can be prepared very easily and therefore can be used regularly which provides therapeutic results.
Chamomile is a member of the daisy family and its healing components (volatile oils, flavonoids and other therapeutic substances) are found primarily in the flowers. You won’t have any issues getting your children to help you harvest these pretty little flowers which will add to the holistic benefit of use.
Chamomile has been the subject of extensive scientific research over the decades which has confirmed the myriad traditional uses actually do have established including the following pharmacological mechanisms:
Specifically, chamomile may be used:
As a tea, be used for lumbago, rheumatic problems and rashes.
As a salve, be used for haemorrhoids and wounds.
As a vapor, be used to alleviate cold symptoms or asthma.
Relieve restlessness, teething problems, and colic in children.
Relieve allergies, much as an antihistamine would.
Aid in digestion when taken as a tea after meals.
Relieve morning sickness during pregnancy.
Speed healing of skin ulcers, wounds, or burns.
Treat gastritis and ulcerative colitis.
Reduce inflammation and facilitate bowel movement without acting directly as a purgative.
Be used as a wash or compress for skin problems and inflammations, including inflammations of mucous tissue.
Promote general relaxation and relieve stress. Animal studies show that chamomile contains substances that act on the same parts of the brain and nervous system as anti-anxiety drugs. Never stop taking prescription medications, however, without consulting your doctor.
Control insomnia. Chamomile’s mildly sedating and muscle-relaxing effects may help those who suffer from insomnia to fall asleep more easily.
Treat diverticular disease, irritable bowel problems and various gastrointestinal complaints. Chamomile’s reported anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic actions relax the smooth muscles lining the stomach and intestine. The herb may therefore help to relieve nausea, heartburn, and stress-related flatulence. It may also be useful in the treatment of diverticular disorders and inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease.
Soothe skin rashes (including eczema), minor burns and sunburn. Used as a lotion or added in oil form to a cool bath, chamomile may ease the itching of eczema and other rashes and reduces skin inflammation. It may also speed healing and prevent bacterial infection.
Treat eye inflammation and infection. Cooled chamomile tea can be used in a compress to help soothe tired, irritated eyes and it may even help treat conjunctivitis.
Heal mouth sores and prevent gum disease. A chamomile mouthwash may help soothe mouth inflammations and keep gums healthy.
Reduce menstrual cramps. Chamomile’s believed ability to relax the smooth muscles of the uterus helps ease the discomfort of menstrual cramping.
Thousands of years of use simply cannot be wrong and I encourage the use of this wonderful herb with kids who suffer more today than ever before from a range of influences but particularly stress. Consider heading down to your local garden center and picking up a pot of chamomile today, get it growing and start harvesting the flowers in no time to make a wide range of medicinal concoctions from infusions to fermented drinks. A huge range of home-made medicine is described in my “Managing Your Child’s Health Naturally” Workbook (now available through the shop tab above) but the one described below is a real kid favourite and tastes just delicious.
This “Calming Chamomile Kefir” provides the therapeutic benefit of chamomile, amplified through the process of fermentation, along side everything that fermented drinks have to offer from enzymes to beneficial microbes. This is a profoundly health supportive beverage you can give your kids every day for ongoing health benefits. Of course there are many variations to make to address specific and general issues, refer to the workbook above for more ideas.
All you need is:
1/4 cup fresh chamomile flowers, pick these just before use
1 tbsp water kefir grains
1/4 cup rapadura or coconut sugar
250ml boiled water
750ml cool pure water
3 thick strips lemon peel
1 inch piece of ginger very thinly sliced
Optional: 2-3 fresh lavender flowers to enhance the therapeutic effect of this preparation and provide true synergistic power
Dissolve the sugar in the boiled water, add the chamomile flowers and steep until cooled to room temperature. Combine with the remaining ingredients in a 1 litre vessel, I use a glass jug, and cover with muslin secured with an elastic band. Leave this brew at room temperature for 48 hours, then strain, reuse the kefir grains to make another batch of your choosing. The kefir liquid can be consumed from now or pour into a bottle that has a tight fitting lid and store at room temperature sealed for a further 24 hours which will create carbonation, so you have a therapeutic fizzy drink the kids will love. You can add some fresh lemon peel or some more flowers for the second ferment and this gives a real flavour punch and contributes to elevating the therapeutic potential.