When a gentle yet powerful remedy to soothe the stomach or nerves is needed, Chamomile is ready to do the job. Modern Herbalists have been rediscovering this sunny member of the daisy family and falling in love all over again. Chamomile helps settle the nerves, easing anxiety and depression as well as soothing the digestive system. Chronic digestive complaints and those related to flu, food poisoning, temporary illnesses, and anxiety- or depression-provoked upset stomach are all potential candidates for Chamomile’s soothing care. Today, we reach almost exclusively for Matricaria recutita, or German Chamomile, when we speak of Chamomile as an herbal remedy. Roman Chamomile has become primarily a gardener’s friend and an aromatherapists’s go-to; it’s used almost exclusively topically or in inhaled blends but rarely internally. You can swap Germam Chamomile with Roman Chamomile in many formulas, but not always and not quite as cleanly as you might imagine. In this article, we’re referring to German Chamomile or M. recutita.
Formula 1: Anxiety
Whether you feel it in your stomach or not, Anxiety is one of Chamomile’s specialties. Keep this blend in your pantry if you or your friends and family tend to become ungrounded when life throws you a curve ball or you’re living through challenging times.
- 1 part Chamomile flowers
- 1 part Wood Betony tops
- 1 part Lemon Balm or Lemon Verbena
- 1/2 part Skullcap tops (more if racing thoughts plague you)
- A pinch of sea salt (optional, but helpful if you’re feeling quite ungrounded)
Formula 2: Depression
Depression that’s situational often responds well to Chamomile’s influence. If you’re working through grief or loss, Chamomile’s a classic remedy. For folks who experience seasonal depression, boost the Lemon Balm in this formula. Folks who are experiencing chronic depression may or may not find this formula useful. Chamomile helps, but it is not a substitute for a good therapist or other professional help.
- 1 part Chamomile flowers
- 1 part Lemon Balm tops
- 1/2 part Mullein tops
- 1/2 part Tulsi tops
- 1/2 part Rosemary tops (optional, useful if stress or illness is the primary cause)
Formula 3: Good Digestion
Diarrhea, constipation, and chronic digestive complaints are all on Chamomile’s list of stuff to fix. If the digestive complaints you’re aiming to heal are temporary, as with the flu, a mild case of food poisoning, or even a shock to the system that’ll pass once you re-orient, increase the mint in this formula. If you’re working with a long-term problem, plan to take this formula daily for a longer period.
- 2 parts Chamomile
- 1 part Wood Betony
- 1 part Lemon Verbena
- 1/2 part Damiana (optional, helpful if you need a little energy boost, too)
- 1/4 part Licorice root powder
Formula 4: Tummy Ache and Tender Care for Sensitive People
Chamomile is gentle yet firm in tending to the digestive system, which is particularly useful for folks who are more sensitive. That includes kids, elders, and those who are recovering from a weakened condition of any sort. All the herbs in this formula are safe to use for most everyone (check with your pharmacist or doctor if you’re taking prescription medications and check on potential allergies to related plants, like ragweed or the Daisy family).
Formula 5: Bitters for Digestion
Folks with compromised digestion, as well as the rest of us, often benefit from a little bitters roughly half an hour before eating or as an after-dinner treat to support the digestive system as it works to break down and absorb our meal. This blend can be made from glycerites, although tinctures are my personal favorite because bitters tinctures are so easy to make. Consider taking a dropper or two straight-up, in a mixed drink, or even in a glass of mineral water or still water as you prepare for dinner or as you clear the table and close your kitchen. Experiment to see when your digestive system feels most supported by this blend, then go for it as often as you can. Your whole body will thank you.
- 1 part Chamomile bitters
- 1 part Artichoke bitters
- 1/2 part fresh Ginger root bitters (optional, though quite helpful if you find your digestive fire isn’t as strong as you’d like)
- 1/2 part Haw bitters or Orange Peel bitters