What is Herbal Medicine
Herbal medicine has been part of our ancient and more modern history for thousands of years. Unfortunately there is no money to be made by the pharmaceutical companies when only a plant is processed. Therefore in the last twenty years particularly there has been a focused effort, at a very high level, to downgrade all alternative therapies including herbal remedies to quackery. We can only now suggest that an alternative therapy MAY help you.
A commonsense warning about herbal medicines.
Herbal medicines should be treated with respect and should only be used if you have read all the contraindications, possible side effects and never with any prescribed medication unless you have cleared with your doctor first.
This is particularly important if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant as taking specific herbal medicines can cause harm.
Go to a qualified herbalist or if you buy over the counter on online read all the instructions beforehand or enclosed in the packet. I always buy the more expensive and professionally prepared tinctures and have stayed with that brand for the last twenty years.
Having established that; I want to introduce you to herbs that can be taken as a prepared tincture but also those that you can include in your diet which may improve and maintain your health. Today a look at another common herb that has been used for thousands of years by many cultures.
The botanical name for Chamomile (Camomile) is Anthemis Nobilis and we are more familiar with it in tea form which is usually available on our supermarket shelves.
Chamomile has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy for a number of common ailments including fevers and joint pain and is also very calming for rashes and other skin inflammations.
The use of the herb goes back to ancient Egypt and its use filtered across the world over the next thousand years or so and by the time of the middle ages it was being used by herbalists in Europe. The flowers of the plant were soaked in white wine as a cure for water retention, then knows as dropsy and also for liver conditions such as jaundice. It was also found to have a calming effect on patients, relieved inflammation and could also relieve chest infections and asthma.
And if you were looking to avoid bleach in your hair dye… the women of the past would make a dye from the flowers to lighten their hair naturally.
Research is extensive into this herb and there are a number of varieties that have both a different physical appearance and growth pattern as well as varying health benefits.
Here is just a brief list of the health issues that the oil, tea and lotion can be applied to.
- If you drink chamomile tea (infusions) regularly then you may find that it ease muscle and rheumatic conditions, skin rashes and help you sleep better at night. It has anti-spasmodic action that helps digestion and is great to drink after a meal. It may also help alleviate morning sickness when drunk first thing.
- For anyone who suffers gastrointestinal problems such as diverticulitis, IBS or ulcerative colitis drinking the tea daily may help relieve the symptoms and heal the gut to prevent leaky gut syndrome. There is some research that indicates that it may relieve the inflammation associated with Crohn’s Disease but I do advise that you talk to a herbalist before using.
- It certainly appears to have a relaxing effect on both adults and young children and is one herb that can be used for babies. But, do always ask the advice of a qualified herbalists before you do so to make sure you are using correct dosages of infusions before using to help with teething problems and stomach upsets in babies. Essential oil should not be used on children under the age of five years.
- As an anti-spasmodic you can use to ease cramping during a period and to help relieve the symptoms of the menopause.
- It may relieve hay fever and other allergies particularly when used as a lotion on skin rashes or inflammation. It can also stimulate healing of wounds or burns but again follow directions when used for this purpose. If you use some drops in your bath water it is soothing for a number of skin conditions such as eczema and also act as an anti-bacterial agent to prevent the spread of any infections.
- Use a drop of oil in some warm water for an effective mouthwash and to help heal soft tissue in the mouth including gum disease.
I tend to use A. Vogel for my herbal remedies and they do a very good lotion. Bioforce Chamomile ointment
I use Celestial Seasonings or Numi herbal teas but check out your local health food shop as they usually carry good quality tea and lotions.
Do remember not to discontinue any prescribed medication without first discussing with your doctor.
Contraindications for the use of Chamomile oils and infusions.
- Because of the anti-spasmodic effect of chamomile and because it could cause contractions, pregnant women should not use the essential oil.
- Essential oils should not be used on children under the age of five.
- Both the tea and essential oil can increase the effect of certain prescribed sedatives or anti-depressants.
- Both the tea and essential oil must not be taken with anti-coagulants such as Warfarin.
I hope you have found this useful. I drink chamomile on a regular basis and find it particularly beneficial last thing at night to help me sleep through.
©Sally Cronin – Just Food for Health – 1998 – 2020
I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.
If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020
Your feedback is always welcome and if you do find that following any of the posts that I have shared are beneficial then it would be great to hear about it.. you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.