This is the first post in a series on simple kitchen remedies. No need to run to the pharmacy for every ache and pain. In fact, you can treat most common ailments at home with ingredients you probably have in your cupboards already!
Now let’s just be clear. Kitchen remedies don’t replace professional medical advice! But for hundreds of years our ancestors have been using kitchen remedies safely and effectively for common problems. And for me personally, it feels good to know I can help myself feel better with some simple, natural, inexpensive remedies.
Chamomile. That’s Grandma’s tea, right?
You’ve probably tasted chamomile tea before at your Grandmother’s house. It’s commonly used for relaxation and also calming an upset tummy. Why? Because it really works.
Chamomile is anti-inflammatory, relaxing, relieves spasms, soothes digestion and heals wounds. It’s used for:
- Digestive and inflammatory conditions – take internally as a tea for mouth ulcers, stomach ache, cramps, gastritis, colitis, and externally on sore & itchy skin.
- Skin soothing – Soak a cloth in chamomile tea and use as a compress on sore & itchy skin, irritated eyes etc.
- Menstrual pains and cramps – taken internally as a tea to relax and reduce cramping
- Nervous tension – taken internally as a tea it’s a mild sedative and relaxant to ease anxiety and stress (much moreso than another cup of coffee!!)
- Children’s remedy – extremely gentle, chamomile is a common remedy for children. Used as a tea for colic, teething, stress and anxiety.
- Hair rinse for blondes – If you’re blonde, try rinsing your hair in strong chamomile tea. I’m very NOT blonde so haven’t tried this myself, but it’s supposed to bring out lovely blonde highlights.
So how do I use Chamomile?
Making a tea (or, technically, an herbal infusion) is one of the most effective ways to use herbs for health. You can make tea from the fresh plant, dried loose herbs (my choice) or store-bought tea bags. Here is some loose dried chamomile. It looks a lot more flowery and smells better than the stuff in store-bought tea-bags.
Simply put a couple teaspoons of dried herbs into a teapot of just-boiled water, cover, and let it steep for 5 minutes. You want to cover the teapot to keep in the steam, which contains a lot of the active elements of the herb. I make my teas in a French press pot (which is used only for tea! Otherwise it makes my coffee taste like chamomile, which is not good…)
If you’ve never used herbal tea for health before, you need to realize that the effects aren’t as instantaneous as popping a pill. Although personally I’ve found chamomile tea to be effective even after one cup, especially when trying to calm an upset stomach or just to relax.
But keep in mind that herbal teas are best when taken in small does over an extended period of time. In practice this means drinking 3-4 cups of tea throughout the day. You can make a big container of tea in the morning and store it in the refrigerator, you can even drink it iced!
While I prefer loose tea at home, I always have some store-bought chamomile tea bags (as well as peppermint tea bags) with me when I travel.
Have you tried chamomile tea as a kitchen remedy? How did it work for you?