Thursday, February 15, 2007

Chamomile and Calendula

When I was first reading and learning about the herb Calendula, I was reading it the way I read most herbs for the first time, reading them the way I read most foreign words, as phonetically as posible and that is most likely with using Spanish sounds. That could possibly be because my first language was Spanish or it could be because I was always a terrible reader and speller even though I do love to read. Who in their right mind would think there was a "g" or "j" sound in there? As my oldest daughter's kindy teacher is always saying, "English is a funny language" Then again, Calendula isn't English, Pot Marigold, as it is also know as, is orinially from Egypt. I have never actually seen the flower before it is dried but, I have seen pictures. Once the petals are dried, the petals are infused in oil or made out of a tea and are great for mature skin but also skin sores, inflamations, diaper rash and sunburn. I guess that is why calendula is always found in natural ointments for babies tushies.

Chamomile, on the other hand, is an herb most have heard about often. You've probably had a cup of Chamomile tea or two in your life. It is soothing and relaxing. There are lots of types of Chamomile, Egyptian, Roman, German, Hungarian. You can grow it in the states very readily, well, not too readily in Pennsylvania (or perhaps it is just me that does not really have a green thumb). It is a type of ragweed, so some people might be allergic to it so be careful if you have those type of allergies.

To me, when I first take a huge whiff of a freshly aquired bag of the dried herb it actually smells a bit like apples. (not the tea bags you get at the store They have been sitting on the shelf for too long but will do in a pinch if necessary for a project). Chamomile has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties and it works well against inflammation, muscle spasms, irritated skin, eczema, and psoriasis. Camomile infused oils are also found in alot of ointments.

I actually use a lot of both Chamomile and Calendula oils and teas in my soaps, lotions and salves. I love both herbs for their healing properties and they have done wonders for my eczema let alone my girls tushies when they were younger. What made me think of these herbs and to write about them? The cold, actually. Although you might not be able to find Calendula, you can definitely find Chamomile in your local supermarket although it goes back to thefact that you don't know how long it has been sitting on the shelf, it will work in a pinch. I know that after I have been outside for extended periods of time in this cold clearing the ice or my hands get overly dried and cracked because of this heat, I love rubbing some Chamomile infused oil on them.

Olive or Sunflower Oil
Dried Chamomile (if you are using tea, make sure it is JUST chamomile tea and leave it in the tea bags)
Mason jar

Place several tea bags at the bottom of jar
put enough oil to cover bags
Put jar on shelf in a cabinent for two - four weeks, shake every two days
After two - four weeks remove bags and the oil is ready to use

You can use other herbs in this process as well and the fresher DRIED the better (DO NOT use fresh herbs they will mold.

Obviously, this will be oily but will help in a pinch.

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