Tuesday, April 20, 2010



Arabic: Babunaj, Babunij;
Other English: Chamomile
German Chamomile: Matricaria recutita, Matricaria chamomilla
Saudi Chamomile: Matricaria aurea; Asteraceae (Aster Family)

One thing every Bedouin, villager and city dweller can tell you is that camomile tea is relaxing and aids digestion. Along with this fact comes the widespread belief that the best babunaj comes from the north. As a result, packaged herbal teas from Syria and Jordan are popular supermarket items. These medicinal teas feature camomile but may also contain coriander, black seed, anise, rose, lemon balm, hibiscus, thyme or sage.
How to use: Use the flower heads to brew a medicinal tea.
In the kitchen: Many families keep camomile readily available. To make camomile tea, boil water and then pour one cup of the water over four teaspoons of dried flowers. Infuse for five to 10 minutes and then strain. Add honey for a sweeter taste and drink the tea warm.
Remedies across Arabia: Camomile is a valued nervine, carminative and general tonic. Camomile tea is well-known for settling the stomach and aiding digestion after a meal. It is also relaxing and can help promote sleep
Did you know?
  • In 1656, John Parkinson wrote, “Camomill is put to divers and sundry uses, both for pleasure and profit, both for the sick and the sound, in bathing to comfort and strengthen the sound and to ease pains in the diseased.”
  • Al-Kindi used camomile in a strong dressing for the spleen and in an application to relax the liver and stomach.
  • Camomile tea is used in the Levant to strengthen a mother after childbirth.
  • Camomile is used in perfumes, soaps, bath oils, skin-care products and in shampoos to add luster to blonde hair.
  • With a reputation as a mild bleach, camomile has been used to lighten blonde hair by pouring two cups of boiling water over a handful of camomile flowers and infusing for 30 minutes. After shampooing the hair, rinse several times with this camomile infusion while it is still warm. It is a very pleasant hair rinse.

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