Chamomile: not just for relaxation
Little known properties and characteristics of the plant with graceful white and gold flowers, an effective remedy for adults and children
A sweet cuddle, a reassuring and relief moment when we couldn't sleep. This is what chamomile represents for each of us: it has been in our strings since childhood. And, as with other precious plants such as licorice , it was our predecessors who discovered its virtues and therapeutic uses. Dr. Raffaella Melani , nutrition biologist explains “Its properties were already known in ancient Egypt and its fame spread exponentially during the Middle Ages. Chamomile has numerous beneficial effects related to its composition. In particular, it contains coumarins or some flavonoids, including apigenin which confers the well-known sedative and anti-spastic activity . But at the same time the terpenes, including the azulenes (in fact the extract has a beautiful blue color) with antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects . Its use therefore is not limited to the relaxing action , but can be functional to the treatment of numerous other pathologies ".
As Melani specifies “It was and still is used, such as lavender to combat cooling problems . But alsogastrointestinal spasms, dysmenorrhea, up to the use for eczema . In recent years, the medicinal efficacy has been demonstrated in disorders of the hyperactive intestine and in abdominal colic with an activity mediated through the activation of particular proteins found on the cell membranes, the potassium channels. Its flowers are also used for the antipyretic effect , while its oil is used for rheumatism . Also found a control action on blood sugar in diabetic subjects ".
It is generally taken in the form of herbal tea or infusion. The chamomile infusion , obtained by boiling for about 3 min, 100 g in 1 liter, can be used, once cooled, for cold compresses on allergic conjunctivitis or eczema. The herbal tea , on the other hand, can be used in spasms , trying to take a sip close to the painful contracture, as the muscle relaxant effect is superimposed on the spasm, the intensity of the pain should reduce, until it disappears. Another way to use chamomile is as a cough aid , by boiling it with the peel of a lemon and adding a spoonful of honey .
Even in cosmetics, chamomile is widely used, Dr. Melani specifies "above all for its soothing, emollient, antimicrobial properties , so much so that chamomile extracts often appear in products for children or for the treatment of delicate skin or for soothe solar redness. In this case, for example, the decoction is useful.
Last but not least, chamomile begins to be successful also in the gastronomic field. As Alessandro Gilmozzi , starred chef of the El Molin restaurant in Cavalese points out “when fresh I appreciate the consistency of the floral bulb, when dry its powder, the strong aroma, sweet and mineral at the same time. In the kitchen it is versatile, in addition to desserts and combinations with acid-scented fruit and vegetables, it goes very well with feathered game and especially with hare ". A unique and elegant touch that completes the taste of particularly tasty meats.
Rhubarb and chamomile by Alessandro Gilmozzi
2 kg. of rhubarb
100 gr. of fresh or dried chamomile tea for herbal tea
100 gr. of honey from sulla
800 gr. of water
2 gr. by xsantana
500 gr. of fresh peas to be candied
chamomile and elderberry powder to taste
Wash and peel the rhubarb and then divide it into three parts. Reduce the first part into thin slices and candied, rolling it up and vacuum-packed. Create a juice with the second part of rhubarb, emulsifying it with the xsantana to obtain a mousse to use with the siphon. Create a cream with the third part of juice, tying it with xsantana.
Candle the peas and pass them through a sieve to obtain a candied cream. Candle and dry the rhubarb skins as well.
Serve by preparing some rhubarb mousse tips with the siphon, adding the vacuum-packed rhubarb, the gel, the pea cream and the crunchy parts of the peel, completing with the chamomile and elderberry powders.