Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Relaxation Is Always a Good Thing

It's time to (nasal voice) talk about flowers (/nasal voice) once again. This time I'm going to discuss another flower which is technically in the "herb" category and a personal favorite of mine, chamomile.

Chamomile is a very non-descript, mild-mannered sort of flower. It doesn't offer a whole lot to the imagination. Actually, there are two very different varieties, each of which looks like a daisy with the petals pointing the wrong direction. However, as they say, good things often come in very plain packages.

This not-so-decorative plant is actually the first herb in recorded history to have been used for aromatherapy. Specifically, its oil was employed by the ancient Egyptians as a relaxant much the same way as essential oils are used today. Its flowers have been a standard in potpourri for centuries. Its delicate, apple-like fragrance also lends itself well to the culinary world. The so-called Roman chamomile is often used as a very mild spice in such things as dressings or on potatoes. German chamomile is the sort most often used in herbal tea. In fact, it is a favorite and a veritable standard in the herb tea world; it seems like half the blends on the market include it together with mint and/or hibiscus. Any tea or fragrance that includes (German) chamomile is said to be relaxing, even pain-killing. In fact, ointments containing chamomile are even used as a sort of topical anesthetic, albeit a very mild one.

The Roman and German varieties of chamomile are quite different and thus require different treatment, but both are quite easy to grow. They prefer dry, sandy soil to moist. They are fairly hardy plants that grow thickly in the area where they are planted but don't interfere with neighboring plants. This makes them ideal for demarcating areas of gardens or providing a simple, decorative border fringe. As the Roman variety is low, it also makes a good ground cover.

Yes, when it comes to flowers or herbs, chamomile definitely qualifies as one of the simple pleasures in life, but it is one that I definitely enjoy. I hope you will, too.

(nasal voice) Isn't talking about flowers so much nicer than talking about politics? (/nasal voice)

(Snabby is going to kill me...)


DewKid said...

The only thing I know about this flower, is that Chamomile tea (I assume its related?) is good for helping newborns deal with gas trouble. All our children drank a cup of chamomile tea with a bit of sugar nearly every day of their early life. Definitely a lifesaver!


The Moody Minstrel said...

I was not aware of it having that quality. That would definitely come in handy! As the whore said to the leper, "Thanks for the tip."

Don Snabulus said...

In Canada, they are called Chamokilometers slash Chamomile. You always must include both.