HERBS FOR CATS: CHAMOMILE (Matricaria chamomilla, Anthemia nobilis)

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DRIED OR FRESH CHAMOMILE (Matricaria chamomilla, Anthemia nobilis)
Also spelled camomile, camomile is one of the most widely used herbs in the world. Even those who know little about its medicinal properties enjoy its fresh apple fragrance and relaxing influence. Chamomile is a nervine, carminative, tonic, sedative, emmenagogue, antispasmodic, aromatic, stimulant and anthelmintic herb. In short, it soothes mind and body, helps prevent infection, heals wounds, relieves indigestion and ulcers, relaxes nerves, alleviates inflammation and skin irritations, prevents insomnia and relieves both headaches and muscle cramps. Chamomile is so safe that it is recommended for newborn babies.

Only the blossoms are used in chamomile tea, which makes its harvesting slow but fragrant work. If you grow your own, try planting both tall annual German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and the prostate perennial Roman or English Chamomile (Anthemia nobilis) to see which you prefer. Both can be used for tea and are said to have similar properties, but the sweet apple fragrance that is the plant’s signature is stronger and more pleasant in the taller-growing annual.

Research shows that chamomile tea can calm nervousness, relieve pain, promote deep sleep and lift the spirit. Fresh or dried flowers can be fed directly or brewed as an infusion or tinctured. The liquid preparations are appropriate additions to food or water.

Chamomile tea strained through a paper coffee filter makes a soothing wash for the eyes and is well known as a hair rinse. Unless your pet’s coat is extremely light in colour, try a final rinse of chamomile tea after shampooing; even dark-coated pets smell wonderful and are dander free after a thorough soaking. A strong infusion of chamomile tea may temporarily darken white fur, so test a sample before applying.

To Be Continued…

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