After journeying through tropical Costa Rica and Brazil for months, I thoroughly enjoyed the late Winter snow and early Spring sun rays in Holland during the last couple of weeks. The cold Dutch ground and early flowering trees helped me integrate the intense travel experiences and reaffirm my career and life choices.
Medicine for Mind, Body & Spirit
You may have noticed the new tagline for this website: Medicine for Mind, Body and Spirit, because that is what all my work (be it writing, recipes, courses and workshops) aims to be.
I have started to work more intensively with herbs, creating homemade remedies for ailments and cosmetic diy alternatives like rosemary clay shampoo, lavender massage oil, marigold lip balm, and much more.
I also played around with super wholesome breakfast bowl recipes (one deep red, cleansing and warming, with beet, ginger and kurkuma, another bright green, energizing, with banana, spirulina and kale – just to name a few).
Especially impactful has been my recent work with several spiritual plant medicines. The insights and teachings (there really is no better word) that they bring continue to amaze and humble me and strengthen my understanding of how we can responsibly prepare for and integrate any spiritual journey, such as an Ayahuasca ceremony.
And today, I am writing to you from Portugal, the Algarve, which is the most southern part of the country with stunning rocky golden beaches and turquoise ocean views. We are celebrating a holiday with three generations of women in my family.
Nature is abundant here and already in this early Spring time every field is filled with orange and tangerine trees, rosemary, lavender and lots & lots of chamomile plants. Over the last few days, I’ve foraged quite some flowers to use in a wholesome tea for my sore throat and some restless nights.
Chamomile has a special place in my heart, because of its many health benefits (WebMD Chamomile). As you may have heard, it has been known for ages for its anti-inflammatory and nerve calming properties, to name only a few. Yes, medicine can be as simple as drinking a cup of wonderful herbal tea.
In my quest for a natural way to cure my sinusitis, I read about chamomile about a year ago. I remember going into town to find dried chamomile flowers.
Unfortunately, our Western health system doesn’t seem too aware of or keen on natural remedies and they often are pushed over by heavily marketed synthetic products. I remember how I walked into the pharmacy and was faced with a huge image of a Vichy skin ‘care’ ad, the woman’s skin complexion unnaturally airbrushed into something incredibly fake and yet the slogan went like: “Finally I can show my true self again”. What??
At the counter, I asked for chamomile and… they didn’t have it. It really struck me as a deep symptom of an ill healthcare system that yes, they offered over-the-top-marketing skin care rubbish, but not the herb that has been used for ages to soothe both inflammations of skin, mouth, sinuses, throat and intestines and an overactive nervous system. At the pharmacy!
The good news
Luckily, I did find my chamomile at the organic food store, and I also should note that the appreciation of natural remedies is rapidly returning back into our public awareness anyway, even if the pharmacies will be the last to catch up.
That’s really great, and let’s all also keep a healthy, critical mind, a sharp eye and an open heart to all forms of medicine. Don’t get carried away by unrealistic health promises from superfoods marketers either and don’t think all natural remedies are safe. Check your sources. I get my info from trusted sources that live up to scientific and honest information standards such as those set by the Health On the Net Foundation (HON) and I promise not to make false claims or promises.
Back to chamomile
Honestly, I am still double-checking if the chamomile that I found here in the Algarve actually is real (Roman) chamomile. The tea tastes strongly like chamomile but also rather bitter. However I can already confirm its soothing effect on sore throat and nerves, so after this post I’ll take a nice cup of tea with extra honey and go to bed for a well-deserved night’s sleep. It’s already past 2 am…
Some more tips:
- To use chamomile for sinusitis and bronchitis, brew a strong tea and inhale the vapor through your nose.
- To soothe mouth or throat sores, brew tea and flush through the mouth and throat.
- To soothe stomach sores and problems with the intestines, simply drink the tea, a couple of cups per day.
- After brewing the tea, fold the flowers in a paper towel to create an eye mask.
- The tea calms you down when you feel nervous or anxious.
- Rinse your hair with it to highlight blonde hair.
- Also nice just to look at the sunny flower heads dancing in the fields – makes you happy.
See, this little one brightens your day in so many ways.
To brew chamomile tea, simply throw a small handful of fresh flowers or only one or two tablespoons of dried flowers into 1 liter of hot water. I love to drink this with honey.
Enjoy and… be well!