Chamomile is an herb made from the dried flowers of the Matricaria recutita plant. It is often used to make an herbal tea, but is also available in oil, ointment or tincture forms for external applications.
Chamomile contains substances that can promote relaxation, soothe the nerves and relieve stress. Its mildly sedative qualities may fend off insomnia. It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and can remedy digestive problems, gas, menstrual cramps and heartburn.
Chamomile is also used as a topical agent for the skin and mucous membranes, soothing rashes, eczema, burns, sunburns and sores. An eyewash of cooled chamomile tea may help redness and irritation of the eyes, and used as a gargle may heal mouth sores and treat gingivitis. Chamomile may also be used as a treatment for hemorrhoids.
To get the most therapeutic effect out of chamomile tea, make sure you steep it for at least ten minutes in a closed teapot.