Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is one of the most well-known and widespread medicinal plants. Because of its variety of uses – both internal and external – in treating nearly any condition, it quickly became an established garden plant. In folk medicine, chamomile was most often utilised as a tea, or in a more potent, distilled preparation known as žgana voda. The tea was drunk to combat infection, the common cold, gastrointestinal disorders, and infections of the kidneys and bladder. Externally, chamomile was used in compresses for rashes and infections of the ears and eyes. It was also gargled to treat mouth infections and toothache. In accordance with the Slovar naravnega zdravilstva (Dictionary of Natural Medicine, 1926), rheumatism, aches and pains, and infection were treated with a warm compress of chamomile: “Cook chamomile, drain, wrap in linen, and lay on the stomach, lower abdomen, and festering areas.” Or: “Fill a small bag with chamomile, warm it, and lay it on the affected limb.” A well-known home recipe is for oil of chamomile, which was rubbed into the joints to alleviate rheumatism. Chamomile blossoms were added to oil and allowed to sit in sunlight for several days. Through long experience, folk medicine confirmed that chamomile tea promotes sweating, eases cramps, soothes, strengthens the stomach and body, disinfects, and decomposes. In addition to tea, chamomile baths were also common, having a beneficial effect on menstrual pains, headaches, all kinds of infection, and various nervous conditions, such as irritability, over-sensitivity, internal unrest, mental exhaustion, fatigue, and insomnia. Chamomile tea was also well-known emetic, which was prepared in the form of a strong decoction. Plant emetics were also boiled in milk or wine, which was reputed to enhance the effect.
More about healing and magical plants in Slovene tradition you can read in book SACRED PLANTS IN FOLK MEDICINE & RITUALS – ETHNOBOTANY OF SLOVENIA by Vlasta Mlakar
© Vlasta Mlakar