I love chamomile. The whimsy softness of it. The flirty innocense. The long, dancing body and perky, sweet head. She is my friend; the one I soak in when I ache or get burned. The one I feed my chidren when their fire is a bit too strong. She is who eases my headaches, puts me to sleep, and keeps the wrinkles around my eyes under somewhat control.
She is where I go when I just want to feel happy. I know, call me silly simple, but sitting by chamomile, smelling that apply-scent, the scent of peace and ease, watching these flowers swing and dance in the breeze, just makes me happy. Fine, I will admit it. I talk to chamomile. SOme folks talk to God, I talk to herbs. Call me crazy. I talk to chamomile like she is a wise little fairy, a party girl with a good head on her shoulders, taking her job as healer and wind dancer very seriously. She is fragile in looks yet big in spirit. Wild at heart, but peace at the center. I tell chamomile how lovely she really it. Splendid. How much she means in my little human life, so British and refined yet fulfilling me in the gritty Southwest USA. I into her energy field and remember to tell her how thankful I am for the perfection of it all, and I try to envision there being chamomile growing forever on this earth, thriving, spreading.
My garden is bursting with chamomile and I can’t even express how grateful I am. A few seeds thrown in the dirt of our raised beds 3 seasons ago produced a crop so large, I would drown with the amount of tea it could all yield. I just savored it’s blossoming existence for a few weeks, laughing when Mia would run out to grab a handful of flowers and pop them in her mouth and tell me, "I need to mellow out, Mama. I think it’s too much sugar," taking joy when Sula would stand on tippy-toes just to get a better glance at it’s roots and say, "Mint. Sula wanna Mint" (this week she has learned that it is indeed chamomile and the mint is the one that tastes like gum). I let the flowers just do there thing, not wanting to disrupt the perfect little life they were creating for themselves and the eco-system; the dirt, the sun, the bugs, me. But the other day I couldn’t hold myself back. I had to utilize this herbal allie that it indeed is. So we made a batch of tincture.
First the girls and I had a blast playing in the mini-field of wildness and yellow spirits. Mia saw some fairies buzz around I hear her singing some songs to them, something about little fairy doors that open and shit, open and shut, and our favorite hummingbird was close by amused at my 1/2 naked girls stomping about in the deserts way of growing greenery; 3 feet above the earths surface in very large wooden boxes. I showed the girls how to carefully pop off the flower tops and gather them in our basket, while I used scissors to sever the plant in the right place so they will continue to bloom. I swear the girls ate a cup of flowers each (Mia passed out at 6pm last night. Sula not until 9. That second girl needs a stronger opiate for slumber) while we gathered enough to make ourselves plus some friends a great supply of tincture. A drop of that stuff here and there and many a tantrum be gone. I swear. It works.
My man found me a couple bottles of high-end, high proof vodka back in the cabinet from the days when I thought Lemon Drops would be a good way to get through a Phoenix Summer. At first I hesitated to make it with booze, since I would be giving it to the girls, but Billy assured me that small drops would not hurt them, Bach’s did it with Rescue Remedy. Still, I felt like I was making mini-chamo-cocktails. We put all our chamomile in a canning jar, filled it up with the vodka, put the lid back on Mia sent it lots of love and thanks and we said, "goodnight chamomile, thank you for turning into good medicine for us!" and we put it in the cupboard. 6-8 weeks from now we’ll have a nice little relaxant/sedative that cost us pretty much nothing. Beats buying jars of it every couple months from the market at ten dollars a pop.
Fabulous gifts that chamomile gives us admirers in need…
-Gentle enough to give any child to calm nerves, sedate, ease belly aches and to see fairies:-)
-Helps ease period cramps
-helps diminish depression
-Lighten and brightens hair -Reduces puffy eyes
-Reduces risk of cranky mama who throws dirty socks at her spouse.
-Aids in ridding addictions to caffeine, alcohol, tobacco.
-Gets rid of puffy, bags around eye from late nights staring at a computer screen and/or debauchery.
-Bring a silly sense of joy into ones lives; a wild, free-spirited joy.
It’s really easy to grow, and fresh herbs work best for tinctures, otherwise you can make tinctures, infused oils, teas, rubs, and poultices out of the dried flower which can be found at most natural markets or even online (mountainroseherbs.com is my favorite).
Some more shots of us making friends with our chamomile…
(Next we’ll infuse a ton in oil, probably almond which we’ll apply straight on the skin and then maybe whip up some in a base of shea butter for a thicker spread. Then dry a bunch for tea. Or maybe we’ll just let them dance in the dirt. Who knows.)