Chamomile Herbal Tea in two sized packets

Health benefits of chamomile explained by medical herbalist

Health benefits of chamomile explained by medical herbalist

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Chamomile is one of the most versatile herbs I have in my medicine cabinet. It has particular value when used to aid digestive issues, anxiety, sleep problems and skin conditions. I adore the smell of fresh chamomile and fresh chamomile tea always tastes more vibrant that the store bought versions. Sadly, I don’t have the space in my garden to grow the amount of chamomile I’d like, so most of my time with the plant involves dried flowers in my medicine cupboard.

Chamomile is a calming herb, one that is especially good for poor sleep and anxiety in children. Since it’s so gentle, it’s very safe to use in young people, while still being potent enough to have a marked effect on adults.

Chamomile flowers can be used in a similar way to lavender, sewn into small pillows and placed near the head at bedtime. Unlike lavender, chamomile is more sweet than fragrant and not quite as over powering, so it’s ideal for those with sensitive noses.

The flowers can also be sewn into pouches and used in the bath to make a calming soak. This is another great way of helping children that can be a little hyperactive at bedtime. It contains mucilage and anti-inflammatory compounds, giving it a soothing action on the skin when used either in the bath or applied in creams. For any dry, red or itchy skin condition, adding chamomile to bathwater can help take the worst of the itch from conditions like eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis, promoting a calmer nights sleep with less scratching.

The flowers can also be ground up and used as a powder, as a soothing liner to the digestive tract. The same anti inflammatory action it has on the skin occurs within the digestive tract, making chamomile powder a great remedy for acid reflux. When mixed with a little water to form a paste, chamomile power can be swallowed after meals to provide a protective barrier on the gullet.

If acid should rise, escaping from the stomach, it comes into contact with the chamomile rather than the delicate tissues, helping to prevent the burning pain associated with heartburn.

For this reason, I also use chamomile for gastritis (stomach inflammation) and to assist with the healing of ulcers in the stomach. As chamomile works it’s way through the digestive tract, these healing properties start to take effect on the bowel. Gentle oils help to open up and relax the muscles of the digestive passageways, letting gas move through more easily, reducing pain associated with IBS and belly cramps. Regular bouts of diarrhoea can be a sign that the bowel is upset and inflamed but chamomile can calm this down, soothing the inside of the body, much in the same way that it heals red, inflamed skin.

Struggling to sleep? 5 herbal teas to help you catch some shuteye

Struggling to sleep? 5 herbal teas to help you catch some shuteye

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Stick the kettle on.

We’re a fan of our late-night hot drink, however, it can cause difficulties when it comes to catching some shuteye.

And while most people know to stay away from coffee for the few hours before bedtime, many people still think tea is a safe bet.

Yes, even a cup of Lyons (or Barrys) gold blend before bed has enough caffeine in it to mess with your ability to get to sleep, so swapping it for some herbal alternatives is always a good idea.

Here are five herbal teas to drink before bedtime.


1. Lavender

Not only is the smell super soothing, lavender tea has medicinal properties that act as a great sleep aid.

A hot cup will help calm your mind and body before bed and help you fall into a deeper, more rewarding sleep.


2. Chamomile

Known for being calming, chamomile is full of antioxidants and antimicrobial properties that benefit your overall health.

It’s also great for those suffering from cholesterol and diabetes.

3. Valerian Root

A lesser known herbal tea, but valerian acts as a mild sedative with phytochemicals sending a message to our brains to tell us to sleep – hello, black magic!

Valerian tea is often recommended for those suffering from anxiety, mood swings and insomnia.


4. Peppermint

It’s a classic and for good reason. Peppermint tea is known for helping with our digestion, however, this, in turn, helps the body relax and prepare for sleep.

The mint flavour calms and relaxes the body and mind and can even help encourage pleasant dreams – win!


5. Ginger and Turmeric

Ginger and turmeric make for the perfect combination when it comes to tea as it helps aid digestive problems, which again helps us sleep.

Packed with antibiotic and anti-viral agents, it works wonders for our overall health.

Cup of Thyme Tea

Impressive Health Benefits Of Drinking Thyme Tea

Cup of Thyme Tea

Impressive Health Benefits Of Drinking Thyme Tea

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Drinking thyme tea can offer you some amazing health benefits. This herbs has properties beneficial for your health in several ways. Read on to know some surprising health benefits of drinking this tea.

Thyme is a herb from the mint family which is loaded with several health benefits. It can be used for various health conditions. This herb can be used in different ways. Thyme essential oil is also commonly used for skin. This oil has anti-bacterial properties which can help prevent acne. Another effective method to use it is preparation of thyme tea with this herb. Sipping this tea has potential benefits that you cannot afford to miss. If you love drinking tea, you must try thyme tea and enjoy the multiple health benefits it offers.

Health benefits of thyme tea

1. May help control blood pressure

Diet plays a significant role in controlling high blood pressure. According to studies, drinking thyme tea can help control high blood pressure. Even Ayurveda suggests drinking thyme tea to fight high blood pressure. Not just blood pressure, thyme tea can help control cholesterol levels too.

2. Help fight menstrual discomfort

It is advised to drink herbal teas to fight menstrual discomforts. Ladies, you can try thyme tea during your monthly cycle for some relief. Thyme tea has anti-spasmodic properties which help reduce pain and discomfort.

3. Can help fight cough

This tea is a natural cough remedy for cough. Not just cough, this tea is good for different types of respiratory problems. It helps in killing bacterial infections which can give some relief in cold, cough and sore throat. Drink a hot cup of thyme tea when you experience symptoms of cough.

4. Boosts immunity

Your immune system helps you fight against several diseases. Vitamin C plays a major role in boosting immunity. Thyme contains vitamin C which can boost immunity. This herb also contains copper, iron and magnesium.

Bowl of anti-viral herbs

Gardening: Which are the best antiviral herbs to grow at home?

Bowl of anti-viral herbs

Gardening: Which are the best antiviral herbs to grow at home?

An article from

MEDICINAL herbalist and grower Lucy Jones believes in the powers of antiviral herbs and how they can play a positive role in helping to maintain our wellbeing in lockdown and beyond.

“Herbal medicine has a very long track record in supporting the immune system and helping patients to recover from respiratory infections,” she says.

Jones, author of a new book Self-Sufficient Herbalism, recommends five top antiviral herbs to consider and shares her growing tips for each.

Remember, do talk to your doctor before changing your diet. Some conditions that mean therapeutic doses of a particular herb should be avoided are highlighted below, but do make sure this is safe for you.

1. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris):

“I find it very helpful for patients with various different respiratory weaknesses as well as being wonderful for acute coughs and colds. “Drinking a cup of thyme infusion daily is a great way to strengthen the lungs and support the immune system. Simply use a couple of sprigs of fresh herb per cup and pour on boiling water, cover the cup and leave it to steep for at least 10 minutes until it’s quite strong.”

Growing tips: Thyme is a hardy perennial which thrives in full sun and well drained poor to moderately fertile soil. Plants should be spaced 25cm (10in) apart. Plant in a sheltered place and cut back after flowering to prevent plants from becoming leggy.

Harvesting: “I like to take a small harvest before the plants flower, and then take a second harvest once they’re in flower. Leave the plants enough green growth so that they can recover their strength after harvesting.”

Caution: Avoid therapeutic doses if you’re pregnant.

2. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus):

“I grow nasturtiums in my herb garden and dry the leaves each year to use in herbal tinctures and infusions during the winter months,” she says. When the plant is crushed or chewed, peppery, mustard-like compounds clear the sinuses as well as directly fighting respiratory infections.

“You can make nasturtium vinegar by picking one cup of nasturtium flowers and putting them in a bottle with a peeled garlic clove and a few black peppercorns. Pour over 500ml cider vinegar and ensure that all the herb material is covered by the liquid. Leave for four weeks in a cool dark place and then strain and bottle. A teaspoon of this vinegar twice a day will give you a daily dose of antiviral goodness and help ease catarrh if you’re prone to it.”

Growing tips: Nasturtium is a half hardy annual which enjoys full sun to partial shade and a rich moist soil. Grow from seed in situ once the danger of frost has passed or start seedlings off indoors and plant out later after hardening off. They will ramble about and self-seed exuberantly.

Harvesting: “Harvest when there’s a high proportion of flowers on the plants. As I intend to dry my nasturtium crop, I cut individual leaves and flowers without the fleshy stalks attached.”

3. Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia and E. pallida):

Echinacea is a medicine known and used for generations by native Americans. Initially it was used mostly for rheumatism and snake bites. “I use echinacea tincture for people experiencing active infections, including upper respiratory infections and infected wounds such as dog bites.

“The root is the most effective part of the plant, so if you have a large clump of echinacea now may be the time to divide it and take a harvest of the roots. Wash them and cut them into matchstick shapes of even thickness and dry them on a tray in a cool, dark, airy place.

“You can make your own echinacea tincture by putting the dried root into a small jar and covering it with the strongest vodka you can get hold of, preferably at least 60 per cent proof. Leave your jar in the dark for a couple of weeks and then strain and bottle. Take 1-3 teaspoons per day in a little hot water at the first sign of an infection.”

Growing tips: “This hardy perennial prefers full sun and fertile free draining soil. Plants should be spaced 30-45cm (12-18in) apart.”

Harvesting: “Dig the roots of third or fourth-year plants in autumn. Wash the roots thoroughly and cut into matchstick shaped pieces for drying. Alternatively harvest fresh flowers to add to your teapot during the flowering season.”

4. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis):

“Research has shown that lemon balm is good for fighting the herpes family of viruses. It’s a great home remedy to relieve cold sores, chickenpox, shingles and mononucleosis. It has a track record of reducing the unpleasant symptoms associated with the early onset of influenza.

“To make a tea from it, pick a sprig of fresh herb and place it into a cup, add boiling water and leave it covered to infuse for 10 minutes before drinking.”

Growing tips: “This hardy perennial likes a moist, rich soil in full sun to partial shade. After flowering, cut the dead stalks down and remove them.

Harvesting: For tea, harvest early on in the season while the stems are still soft and there’s a mass of foliage. Cut stems about 15cm (6in) from the base, or above the lower faded leaves.

Caution: Avoid therapeutic doses if you have an underactive thyroid.

5. Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus, formerly Rosmarinus officinalis):

“As well as being associated with youthfulness and improved memory, rosemary has significant antiviral properties. Among its many constituents, it contains oleanolic acid which has displayed antiviral activity against influenza viruses, along with herpes viruses and HIV in test tube studies.

“Rosemary is also considered to be an excellent herb for recovery after a debilitating viral infection. It gently supports the digestion and the circulatory system, whilst relieving tension and lifting the spirits.

“It’s one of the herbs that I always include in my daily pot of ‘garden tea’, not just because it tastes so good but because it has so many health benefits.”

Growing tips: “Rosemary is an evergreen shrub which prefers full sun and a sandy, dry soil. Plants should be spaced 60-90cm (24-36in) apart.

Harvesting: Combine harvesting with necessary pruning of established plants. Cut stems with secateurs and be conscious of maintaining a good shape to the shrub. Cut individual springs as required for teas.

Caution: Avoid if you have epilepsy.