Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and relaxant properties, the camomile flower has been used for hundreds of years in both medicine and cosmetics (according to the Herbal Encyclopedia, Egyptian women used to dab crushed petals on their skin to soothe cuts and rashes).
Today its flowers and essence are used in everything from face cleansers to teas, but why should we use camomile over other beneficial herbs?
Margo Marrone, Co Founder The Organic Pharmacy, explains. "Camomile is the number one extract for soothing irritated skin and to calm allergies. It's one of the few extracts that can be used internally and externally and is particularly good to reduce inflammation, spasms and even pain".
Clearly, there's more to this white flower than we might think. To treat problems inside the body, Marrone recommends using the medical herbal tincture (a concentrated extract of the plant). "This can aid stomach spasms and allergies such as hay fever, dermatitis, insomnia and stress".
As for the essential oil, this is excellent for curing external irritations such as eczema, dermatitis, cuts, sores and insect bites. "It is best to dilute 10 drops in 5 ml base oil before applying to the skin, but if you're using the tincture, 15 drops 3 times a day is the recommended dosage whilst symptoms last", says Marrone.
The benefits don't stop there. When it comes to day-to-day skincare, Suzanne Colston-Lynch from Neal's Yard suggests trying blue camomile, a key ingredient in the brand's products. "It contains azuline which gives it its intense blue colour and it's highly anti-inflammatory, making it perfect in creams and lotions".
And if you're prone to those pesky mouth ulcers? "It can really help to soothe mouth inflammations and it can also be gargled for a sore throat". A cure for mouth ulcers? That's got to be worth a try.
Here's a few more camomile products to benefit the body and mind:
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