We are all familiar with chamomile as a bedtime tea to relax you so you can fall asleep faster. This same property of camomile as a sleeping aid is also beneficial in children and/or adult with ADHD. It not only helps with the sleep problem frequently seen in children with ADHD, but the anxiety as well.
As it turns out camomile has been used thousands of years by many different cultures as medicine. Its use can be dated back to the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. It has been used, both orally and topically, to treat many conditions, such as anxiety, insomnia, colds, sore throats, abscesses, gum inflammation (gingivitis), psoriasis, acne, eczema, minor burns, stomach ulcers, diaper rash, colic, and chickenpox. However, chamomile today is more well-known for its calming effects.
There are two common types of camomile – German chamomile and Roman (or English) camomile. German camomile is the more commonly used type. Although they belong to different species, they are used to treat the same health problems. They are both used to calm the nerves, soothe gastrointestinal problems, relieve muscle spasms, and soothe skin irritation and mild skin infections.
There are not many studies on camomile whether it works to treat these conditions. Therefore, many of the uses and benefits of camomile were passed down by generations of uses. Animal studies have shown that German camomile reduces inflammation, speeds wound healing, reduces muscle spasms, and serves as a mild sedative to help with sleep.
Camomile contains a flavonoid called chrysin, the same active substance found in passion flower that provides its calming effects. Chrysin has been shown to reduce anxiety and is believed to be a good sleeping aid. There is some evidence that suggests camomile is an effective treatment for anxiety. Chamomile capsules have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety in people with mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
HOW TO USE CHAMOMILE
Camomile is a very versatile herbs, that you can use in any form, not just for drinking. The while and yellow flower may be dried and made into teas or capsules or extracts or even topical ointment.
* Tea: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 – 3 heaping Tbs. (2 – 4 g) of dried herb, steep 10 – 15 minutes. Drink 3 – 4 times a day between meals.
* Tincture (1:5, 45% alcohol): 30 – 60 drops of tincture 3 times per day in hot water.
* Capsules: 300 – 400 mg taken 3 times per day.
Children under 5 should not take more than half a cup of tea per day. When using camomile in young children under 18, I suggest using half of the adult dose. To relieve colic: 1 – 2 oz. of tea per day. Your doctor may recommend other preparations.
As some of you maybe thinking – sounds good but my child would not drink the tea. My experience is make lemonade. Kids love lemonade. Make it with honey and fresh squeezed lemon. Have your child help with the lemon squeezing. They’ll love it.
Capsules are good options too. However, I prefer the more natural approach with camomile as it is readily available as a beverage. We need to teach our children the joy of wholesome food and beverage. Not everything should come in a processed form.
German camomile is considered generally safe. However, camomile may make asthma worse, so people with asthma should not take it. If you are allergic to asters, daisies, chrysanthemums, or ragweed, you may also be allergic to camomile.
Pregnant women should avoid chamomile because of the risk of miscarriage. Camomile may have estrogen-like effects in the body, so women with a history of hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast or uterine cancer, should ask their doctors before taking chamomile.
Too much camomile may cause vomiting. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery after taking or drinking chamomile as it may also cause drowsiness.
Stop taking camomile at least 2 weeks before any surgical or dental procedures due to increased risk of bleeding.
* Add 1/4 lb of dried flowers or add 5 – 10 drops of essential oil to a tub of water for a soothing bath for hemorrhoids, cuts, eczema, or insect bites.
* Add a few drops of essential oil of camomile to hot water (or use tea) and breathe in the steam as breathing treatment to calm a cough. * Gargle with cooled camomile tea as often as desire to sooth sore throat. You may also add 10 – 15 drops of German camomile liquid extract in about 3 ounces of warm water.