For someone who loves chamomile tea, this has been a positive. Sure chamomile tea is lovely dried and prepackaged for our convenience. Trust me, fresh leaves and flowers are much more flavorful than dried. Those little white flowers add a touch that is sweet, tantilizing which satisfies the need we have for aesthetically pleasing things.
So just exactly what is in chamomile that calms and soothes us? My handy dandy favorite herbal book of all times, The Complete Illustrated Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies by David Hoffman, Barnes and Noble Books, 1999 has this to say on page 75:
"Constituents: Volatile oil which includes chamazulene and isadol; mucilage, coumarin, falvone glycosides
Actions: Anti-spasmodic, carminative, anti-inflammatory, anaglesic, antiseptic, vulnerary, aromatic, bitter, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine, sedative, tonic"
Chamazulene is basically blue oil (azulene) found in Chamomile which helps with inflammation.
I don't know what Isadol is and couldn't find information on it. Perhaps one of you do and can educate me.
Mucilage is the thick, guey paste that is a part of plants and is anti-inflammatory.
I had to look up Coumarin and this is what I found: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-chamomile It is mentioned in the risks section. Coumarin is a blood thinner. In Chamomile this effect is very mild. But nice to be aware of.
Flavone Glycosides - What I know are flavones are anti-oxidants and glycosides are a sugar. Hmmm. Topic look up yields little enlightening information. But I did find an interesting article about one person's understanding of this constituent: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-flavonoid-glycosides.htm#didyouknowout
Anti-spasmotic/Carminative Pretty much the same thing that tells the body "Relax, chill and stop spazzing out". Nice when you are having cramps of various sorts.
Anti-inflammatory Need I explain further?
Anagelsic Pain killer
Antiseptic Kills infections
Vulnerary Heals wounds and cuts
Aromatic Truly lovely smell that is oh so soothing
Bitters have been used through the ages to aid in digestion, cleansing the blood and detoxing
Diaphoeretic Causes sweating. And you thought that happened because the tea was hot. ;)
Emmenagogue Hoffman says on page 38 "Emmenagogues both stimulate and normalize menstrual flow. The term is often employed in the wider context of remedies that act as tonics to the female reproductive system". Ladies, chamomile is our friend. Yea. We can use these. Brings to mind then that like raspberry leaf and other lovely herbs, you might want to use sparingly during the first trimester or two of pregnancy. But I am not a doctor or herbalist yet. So definitely check with your health care provider to be sure.
Nervine Strengthens the nerves
Sedative Hence we drink chamomile tea to help us relax.
Tonic Strengthens the body. I know it is good for skin and the digestive tract. Anyone else know what else it tones up?
And there you go. Fresh or dried. Pretty bouquet. Tea or shampoo or whatever other use. Enjoy. Chamomile is definitely a favorite here - even if it is rapidly taking over my yard.