I have just ﬁnished pressing a fresh batch of Chamomile Glycerite, or what I like to call ‘Baby Drops’. Chamomile’s quiet, faithful service over many years has caused it to be regarded as generally prosaic and kind of a bore, as far as herbs go. There are ﬂashier and trendier herbs, straight out of the rainforest, with drug-like speciﬁcity. But as a tireless advocate for common herbs, I must spring to its defense. When used appropriately, Chamomile demonstrates powerful medicinal effects, especially on the very young and very old. In these more delicate populations, predictability and subtlety in herbal therapy are virtues. For babies and young children, it is an essential herb to have on hand. The effects of Chamomile in children and babies is four fold: as a carminative for colic and gas pains, as a digestive bitter to alleviate constipation and indigestion, as a relaxant for fussiness, insomnia and hysteria, and as an anti-inﬂammatory for teething pains. And sometimes, as we know, these four miseries gang up on your kid all at once.
I have used Chamomile baby drops successfully for all of the childhood woes listed above. When baby’s incessant crying has been diagnosed a ‘colic’ and the nursing mother has tried various dietary modiﬁcations, Cham drops work wonders to soothe and comfort when the parent’s heroic efforts are proving futile. A few drops can be put directly on the baby’s tongue (perhaps as it arches it back, and wails loudly with its mouth wide open, inconsolable). Or it can be painted on the nipple before nursing. My Chamomile Baby Drops are made with fresh chamomile ﬂowers and pure vegetable glycerin and are alcohol-free, resulting in a product that is safe for even very young babies. (And it tastes lovely and sweet).
The same goes for irritable, fussy and tired babes and kids. Cham drops will calm the nervous system and settle the tummy, allowing them to mellow out enough to rest and regain their infant composure. (I believe Chamomile to be the herbal equivalent of a soft hand rubbing circles on your back and a soothing voice saying “There, there now, shhhh.”) And for the painful business
of cutting teeth, Cham’s anti-inﬂammatory effect soothes swollen tissues and heals abrasions in the gum tissue. (Teething tip: make a strong infusion of Chamomile blossoms, freeze in an ice cube tray and give it to baby in a soft cloth to suck on- Amazing!) For constipation try a little Chamomile to stimulate the ﬂow of bile (our endogenous stool softener) and some baby probiotics. Sometimes it just takes a bit for babies to master the complicated task of digestion and elimination. Cham can help.
You may be wondering “Can grown-ups use this?” The answer is yes, just take more. A strong cup or tea or few dropperfuls of the glycerite ought to do. Just don’t expect a powerful sedative effect, as this property doesn’t seem to translate from babies to adults. What does translate are the gas relieving, anti-spasmodic and digestive qualities. Chamomile also exerts a powerful protective effect on the stomach lining, and can really help with healing ulcers (usually as a tea combined with marshmallow, calendula, and licorice). I highly recommend it for those taking nsaids as a prophylactic against developing ulcers. (Again, better as a tea, here.)
Once again, the common herb we’ve overlooked has got our back. Mercifully, I have found ﬂora to be very forgiving.