Monday, March 21, 2022

History of chamomile plant

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.), commonly known as German chamomile, is an important medicinal and aromatic plant. Chamomile is a native of the old World and is a member of the daisy family (Asteraceae or Compositae).

Today chamomile has be used in cookery, cosmetics, teas and skincare products. It’s especially well known for calming the nerves and soothing the skin.

The name Chamomile is derived from two Greek words: Khamai meaning “on the ground” and melon meaning “apple.” Pliny the Elder mentioned that the plant has an apple-like smell, and the name is attributed to the Roman chamomile, the flowers of which have an apple-like aroma.

Chamomile originated in Europe and West Asia and since ancient times, it has been highly valued by the Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks for its medicinal properties. The ancient Egyptians dedicated chamomile to their sun God Ra because they believed it to help cure “the fever”. According to the Eber’s Papyrus, dated to 1550 BC, ancient Egyptians used the herb to honor the gods, embalm the dead and cure the sick.

Both the Egyptians and the ancient Romans used chamomile in tea, salves, creams, incenses and other beverages. In the 10th century, chamomile was recorded as one of the nine sacred herbs of the Lacnunga, an ancient Anglo-Saxon herbal manuscript.

It has been used since the time of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, in 500 BC. The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans regularly used the chamomile flowers to treat erythema and xerosis caused because of dry weather.

In Europe, medicinal use of chamomile has been recorded since the 1st century AD. The Spanish used chamomile as a flavoring agent in sherry making. The Romans sipped chamomile as a healing beverage and used it as incense. English brewers used chamomile flowers throughout the Middle Ages as a bittering agent in beer making. In fact, the bitter hops flowers we associate with beer making.

It was extensively prescribed by the doctors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries for intermittent fevers. In 1488, Saladin von Asculum described the blue oil of chamomile for the first time. In 1500, Heironimus Brunschwig described the distillation of chamomile oil.

There are two chamomile plant varieties: Roman and German. Roman chamomile was not actually cultivated by the Romans; it was discovered by a British botanist and cultivated in the 16th century and was first listed in the pharmacopoeia of Würtenberg as a carminative, painkiller, diuretic and digestive aid.
History of chamomile plant