Saturday, January 17, 2009

Three Plants to Promote Peaceful Slumber

German Chamomile – (Matricaria recutita)

You can find bags of chamomile on almost every supermarket shelf [at People’s, we offer chamomile in teabag and loose form], and we have probably all used it at one time or another. According to leading herbalist David Hoffman, chamomile is probably the most widely used relaxing nervine herb in the world. Although the attractive flowers of this herb can have a wide range of health uses, it is primarily used for rest and relaxation. There are several types of herb called ‘chamomile,’ but it is the German variety that is used for tea. The other kind, called Roman chamomile, has similar properties but is bitter and is used primarily for digestive upsets.

The mildly flavored, pleasant-tasting German chamomile tea combines easily with other relaxing herbs. Chamomile is wonderful to have late at night, but it can also be safely used in the day to ease stress and tension. Since chamomile is gentle and effective, it is the first herb to try for sleep disturbances.

How to Use: One teabag steeped for about 15 minutes in 8oz (one cup) of just-boiled water. Or, two teaspoons of loose dried tea. Chamomile is an easy kitchen herb to grow, so for fresh tea, use a good tablespoon. No matter whether the herb is fresh or dried, always remember to cover your tea so that the medicinal volatile oils do not evaporate with the steam. Sweeten with honey if desired.

If you prefer, a liquid extract, also known as a tincture, or capsules can be used instead. Use approximately 1-1 and ½ teaspoons of the extract or
two to three