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Chamomile (Babounej)

Contributed by This Week In Palestine on 25.02.2006:

This Week in Palestine

June 2005

The ancient Greeks called this plant the “earth’s apple” due to its pungent smell whereas the Anglo-Saxons knew it as “maythen,” one of the nine sacred herbs that the god Wooden donated to the world. The two types that are used medicinally – chamaemelum nobile and camomilla recutita – have similar properties and uses. Chamomile’s common name, matricaria, refers to its role in treating gynaecological problems.

The dried flowers are infused in boiling water and the liquid is taken to treat upset stomachs and weak appetites. Drink a cup of the infusion at night in cases of stress and insomnia. Add 200 – 400 ml of the infusion to a baby’s bathwater to help it sleep. The ointment made from chamomile flowers is indicated for insect bites, wounds and itch-causing eczema. The infusion can also be used as a gargle for inflammations of the mouth. Dilute five to ten drops of the infusion in warm water to use as an eyewash for tired eyes. Add two teaspoons of the dried flowers to a bowl of boiling water and inhale the vapours to treat inflammations of the respiratory tract and to get rid of sputum.

The oil extracted from fresh chamomile flowers is used to treat eczema. Mix five drops of the oil with 50 ml of distilled water and rub over the affected area. Add 2 – 3 drops of the oil to a small bowl of warm water and place in the bedroom at night for inhalation purposes.

Do not use chamomile oil during pregnancy as it acts as a stimulant for the vagina. Chamomile could also cause a skin rash for some persons.

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