Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is the English name for several daisy-like plants that grow, sometimes wild, in gardens across the prairies.  The lovely little plants have a soft fragrance, but since ancient times, chamomile has been used for its medicinal and therapeutic qualities.  Some people use dried chamomile flowerets made into a tea, which is commonly used to help with sleep.  Serving it with honey or lemon is delightful. 

There are other uses for chamomile too.  Treating indigestion, insomnia and cholic are common uses, but did you know my grandmother had a folk-medicine approach to chamomile use?  Of course, she would. 

When "stomach issues" plagued me as a young teenage girl, my grandmother would regularly brew up a pot of chamomile tea.  Serving tea in fancy tea-cups, I wonder whether tea was served for its medicinal qualities (calming cramps), or for the wonderful, soft social aspect of grandmotherly attention.  We would sit and talk, after which it was usually time to take the spent chamomile tea, dilute with rain water, and rinse my blonde hair.  She said the chamomile would make my hair bright and shiney.  Since then, of course, I have found chamomile used in a huge variety of cosmetological products - shampoo, soaps, etc.  Baba was actually pretty savvy with regards to chamomile.

Did you know that chamomile is a general "healer" plant?  It seems that if you have ailing plants in your garden, planting chamomile beside them restores their general health!  Didn't know that!

Chamomile appears in Ukrainian folklore, folk songs and folk art too. "Roman", "romashka", "romianok",  these are all names for the daisy variants.  "Romianok"- the littlest ones, seed themselves generously through gardens, unfortunately we usually weed them away.  Too bad, they are a great little sparkle of joy! 
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