A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.
This variety of the chamomile is an aromatic perennial herb which can reach up to 20 in or 50 cm tall. The herb possesses feathery leaves and has flower heads which resemble daisies.
This herb is used in the manufacture of a herbal remedy which is treating problems affecting the digestive system, and the Roman chamomile is very often interchanged with the German chamomile as both herbs possess similar properties. Compared to the German chamomile, however, the herbal infusion made from the Roman chamomile has a much more pronounced and bitter action on the human body. The herbal remedies made using the Roman chamomile is an effective and excellent cure for cases of nausea, vomiting, it is extensively used as a herbal remedy against indigestion, and it is also effective in reviving the loss of appetite in affected patients. In addition, the sedative and antispasmodic action of the Roman chamomile and its mildly analgesic property are also valued, and the herb can relieve colic, it can alleviate muscular cramps in patients and for this reason, it is used in the treatment of all other cramping pains in the body.
The Roman chamomile is also useful in that it helps in stimulating the digestive secretions and aids in relaxing the muscles along the gut, by such actions, the Roman chamomile normalizes the malfunctioning digestive system function. As an herbal remedy, the Roman chamomile can also be used in the treatment of persistent headaches and long term migraine, and its use is safe even on children affected by various symptoms. The Roman chamomile also possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties, it is effective and helpful in the treatment of irritated skin and aids in relieving various other symptoms.
The consumption of the essential oil derived from the Roman chamomile is not advised, except when carried out under the supervision of a professional doctor or experienced herbalist. Some countries have legal restrictions on the use of the essential oil.
Other medical uses
A delicious and delectable herbal tea can be prepared from the fresh or dried flowers of the German chamomile or the Roman chamomile - this herbal tea can help relieve a variety of conditions in the body. At the same time, personal taste will help you decide which particular chamomile species to use in the preparation of the tea. For example, herbal teas made from the German chamomile flowers tend to be sweeter than those prepared from the flowers of the Roman chamomile, which may be slightly bitter and may also have a bite to it. The choice of flowers to use is largely based on the person who is going to drink the tea, as both the flowers make excellent herbal teas and have similar potent actions on the body.
Prepare the herbal chamomile tea by slowly infusing 15 ml - a tablespoon of the fresh flowers or 10 ml - 2 teaspoons of dried flowers in 250 ml - a single cup - of boiling water. Let the herb steep into the water for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the fire and strain the concoction for use whenever necessary. Adding a few petals of the Roman chamomile flowers on a tossed green salad can add to taste and serve as a garnish, in addition, the flower can be used to season certain cream sauces, it can be added to butter, and ordinary sour cream can be flavored by adding a few small sprigs of either the German or Roman chamomile.
Many different commercial processes makes use of both the German and the Roman chamomile as a flavoring agent in the preparation of certain types of alcoholic beverages, for example, the Benedictine and vermouth drinks are flavored using this flower. The herb is also used as a flavor in many confectioneries, it is used to flavor candy, to flavor ice cream, other baked goods and desserts, and to flavor certain brands of chewing gum.
For extra effect, include a lot of fragrant chamomile flowers to different potpourris and dried floral sachets.
Habitat and cultivation
The variety is native to areas in Western Europe, even though, the Roman chamomile is presently cultivated all across continental Europe as well as in other temperate regions of the world. The type of soil that is suited to growing the Roman chamomile includes well-drained, slightly acidic and moderately fertile soil. The Roman chamomile tolerates a pH range in between a minimum of 5.5 to a maximum of 8.0. The growth of the Roman chamomile is not good in very hot, and in areas with predominantly dry weather all around the year. The German as well as the Roman chamomiles seem to thrive best in open and sunny locations, however, both these herbs will also grow in areas with light shade. Grow both types from seed, which should be sown in the garden in spring. Both the herbs can be grown from stocked seeds; these should ideally be sown in the well watered gardens during the spring. The seeds must be sown in shallow plots, which should have an ideal depth of 6 mm - 1/4 inch - or less, as the herbs grow best in such circumstances. The ground must be kept moist and free of weeds or other plants at all times. The first seedlings of the herb will normally appear in about 5 to 10 days following germination. The propagation of the Roman chamomile can also be easily carried out by separating the runners and replanting them in shallow soil. Ideally, growing plants must be spaced about 45 cm-18 inches-from each other. The two varieties of chamomile are mostly pest resistant and free of diseases.
Doses of the Roman chamomile when consumed in the form of an herbal tea can be a cup of tea, taken three to four times every day, in between the daily meals. Instead of the herbal tea, patients are commonly given alternatives such as herbal tablets, herbal capsules, or the chamomile tincture. Doses for these alternatives can be about 2-3 grams of the capsules or tablets every day or about 4-6 ml of the herbal tincture thrice every day in between the daily meals.
Side effects and cautions
While not common in occurrence, it is known that some patients develop allergic reactions to chamomile and such cases have been reported now and then. Some of the typical allergic reactions which have been reported include bronchial constriction with ingested remedies and even allergic skin reactions with the topical cream. Though rare in occurrence, these types of side effects can happen and all individuals already with developed allergies to plants of the Asteraceae family - which includes herbs such as the ragweed, the aster, and the chrysanthemum should try to avoid the use of herbal remedies made from the chamomile. It is also advised, that teething babies not be given any herbal preparations made from the chamomile. The Roman chamomile is often taken in very large doses for certain medicinal purposes under advice from professional herbalist.
Collection and harvesting
The herb is perennial in nature and grows well. Both types of flowers are harvested for purposes of drying and for fresh use as soon as they are fully open and come into season. The harvesting of Roman chamomile flowers must not be delayed, the flavor and potency of the flowers is lost once they start to darken. The chamomile flowers can be prepared for the drying process by snipping the flowers off with scissors at the base; the collected flowers must then be rinsed and patted dry or stored. The flower heads must then be placed on a rack or mesh screen and allowed to dry slowly inside a warm room or area which is airy and exposed to the sun. The flowers can be stored in the jars in the dark, when they become completely dry. The leaves of the chamomile can be harvested fresh as and when needed for the preparation of various herbal remedies.
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