May 2017
The Herb Lady

Chamomile

When the rambunctious, young Peter Rabbit escaped from the irate Mr. McGregor’s garden, he was one very shook-up little bunny. That’s the way the story goes. He was very glad to be safely in his mother’s arms. Also, according to the story, Mother Rabbit quickly served the little fellow a strong cup of soothing chamomile tea and gave him a loving hug. I suspect she also spanked his little, fat fanny.

Because chamomile (sometimes spelled camomile) has been declared the 2017 Herb of the Year, this seems to be a good time to write about it.

My herb library lists two chamomiles: German chamomile (Matricaria) and Roman or English chamomile (Anthemis). (Publications differ. This holds true with all herbs.)

Here is what one source has to say about chamomile. "Chamomile is an annual plant that grows to approximately 16 inches high. It will grow in most soils. The white, daisy-like flowers are the beneficial part of the plant."

Another source has this to say about this delightful herb. "Chamomile has been used very successfully as a cleanser for those who have used drugs over a long period of time. The tea is good for digestive disorders and tones the complete digestive tract. It is used for expelling worms in children and also as a hair rinse to add luster to the hair. Large doses act as an emetic without depressing the system. When used externally as a poultice, it has a drawing and soothing affect. It is often used for preventing migraine headaches."

Yes, this is a favorite herb for blonds. It makes gorgeous blond hair more beautiful. Here is one blonde’s simple method for its use. "Put a tea bag in a container (not metallic). Pour boiling water over it. Let it steep for at least 10 minutes. Pour over your hair as a final rinse after shampooing."

You’ll find many shampoos and rinses on the market for the use of blonds containing chamomile.

I have a personal story to share about chamomile. I was a teenager in the 1940s. In those years (in my part of the world), a girl who dyed her hair was considered BAD, or maybe BAD-BAD-BAD.

My hair was almost black. Not a blond hair could be seen. If I had no shampoo, I washed it with Octagon soap that was always available in our country home. The rolling store came by once a week. I met it to purchase whatever Mother needed. Eggs were the most common currency. Sometimes there were enough eggs so I could purchase a bottle of shampoo. There were two choices: Halo and Drene. Sometimes I bought one and sometimes I bought the other. Some of my readers will remember a little advertising ditty on the radio, "Halo. Halo, Halo. Halo is the shampoo that glorifies you hair. So Halo Shampoo, Halo." Even Frank Sinatra sang it. It’s my understanding that both of these shampoos contained chamomile. At the time, I had no idea that chamomile existed.

After washing my hair with one of these shampoos and getting into the sun (I practically lived in the sun in those days), my hair was much lighter than usual. Soon I walked across the field and through the woods to visit my Aunt Rochell. As soon as she saw me she exclaimed, "Nadie, you have dyed your hair!" She was about to label me BAD. I quickly explained to her the shampoo had caused it and thankfully she forgave me. It was definitely a situation to remember.

I keep chamomile tea bags on hand all the time and often enjoy a cup at bedtime.

 

Consult with your physician before using herbs medicinally.

 

Nadine Johnson can be reached at PO Box 7425, Spanish Fort, AL 36577, by calling 251-644-5473, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..