This month we would like to focus on the versatile herb Chamomile. There are two varieties of this popular herb – German (Matricaria chamomilla) which grows to 60 cm high, and the lower growing and spreading Roman variety (Chamaemelum nobile). The flowers of both varieties have a similar action and are used medicinally.
Chamomile is sold in shops all over the world, but Homa Chamomile is so much stronger than anything you will find on the shelves. It is an easy plant to grow from seed in the garden or in pots, and by performing Agnihotra regularly, if possible nearby, we are able to have both – potent Homa herbs and Agnihotra ash – to make Homa Herb Remedies.
Chamomile is a carminative and demulcent herb, which means it relaxes and soothes the stomach, aids digestion, and also reduces gas. This is why it is a popular herb to drink after meals. To make the tea, just add 1-2 teaspoons dried Chamomile flowers per cup, add boiling water plus a pinch of Agnihotra ash powder. If using fresh Chamomile, then use a tablespoon of the herb per cup. Chamomile only needs to be steeped for 3-5 minutes, after which it can be strained and drunk.
Stress and Anxiety
Drinking Chamomile tea in times of stress or anxiety is the perfect way to gently unwind and calm the nerves. Homa Chamomile tea, being more powerful than usual, is a good herb to try first if you have difficulty sleeping. Drink this tea if you suffer from tension headaches.
You can also make a relaxing massage oil by infusing Chamomile flowers in organic, cold pressed oils such as Olive, Sesame, Sunflower or Almond.
To make infused oil, simply fill a glass jar to the top with fresh Chamomile flowers and pour in enough oil to cover. Try to fill the jar as much as possible so as to reduce the amount of air inside.
Add a teaspoon of Agnihotra ash powder, screw the top on tightly, shake the contents, and leave in the sun or a warm place for 2-3 weeks. During this period continue to shake the contents daily. Then strain through a muslin cloth into sterilized bottles and store in a cool place out of sunlight. There may be a layer of water at the bottom that should be separated out. This method of infusing oils can also be used with other herbs such as Calendula and Thyme, for example.
If you suffer from insomnia, you can try massaging the oil into your feet and neck before going to bed for greater relaxation. Chamomile infused oil can be applied to skin complaints, eczema, stings and bites. It can also be rubbed into the sinus areas above the eyes when there is infection.
Babies and Children
Chamomile is an indispensable herb for babies and children as it has such a gentle action. Its calming and soothing properties help to induce sleep and alleviate teething and colic.
An infusion added to bath water, used as a wash or compress, soothes and heals rashes and dry skin. It helps with fever and relieves nausea in all age groups.
Because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory action, a cooled Chamomile infusion makes an effective wash for cuts and skin complaints.
You can add Chamomile flowers and Agnihotra ash powder to steam inhalations for catarrh, sinusitis and asthma.
For conjunctivitis, Chamomile compresses can be applied to the eyes. Just dip some cotton wool or cloth in cooled Chamomile tea and place over the eyes and leave on for 15-30 minutes. Some people may be allergic to Chamomile, in which case you can use Fennel seed tea instead.
All in all, Chamomile is an indispensable herb to grow, especially in a Homa atmosphere!