According to the CDC (2013) Noroviruses are responsible for more than half of all reported outbreaks of gastroenteritis in the United States. It's unrelated to influenza, but can have such similar symptoms that we often call it the stomach flu. I don't care what you call it. It sucks.
So in between washing all the bedding, delivering bowls and towels to the afflicted, and making simple veggie broth soups for those on the mend; I made tea. Which brings me to my lovely herb of the week.
Ah Chamomile. So simple, so pretty, so delicate. But not really. This herb is actually a hard hitter for any kind of digestion issue. Here's the breakdown:
Scientific Name: Matricaria recutita
Common Names: Chamomile, German Chamomile, Wild Chamomile
Description: Chamomile has a branched, erect and smooth stem, which grows to a height of 15–60 cm. The long and narrow leaves are bipinnate or tripinnate.
The small flowers are borne in paniculate flower heads with white ray florets and disc florets that are yellow. Basically, each flower is yellow in the middle, surrounded by white petals. And it smells oh-so-sweet.
Uses: Carminative, antimicrobial, sedative and tonic. Translation: It's great for gas, bloating, and other digestive issues. It also is a great nerve sedative, and acts as a tonic to the gastro-intestinal canal. Its power is in it's anti-inflammatory effects, which relaxes the smooth muscle, thereby helping relieve nausea.
The infusion of 1/2 oz. of the dried flowers to 1 pint of boiling water may be given freely in teaspoonful doses to children. Adults can double that dose. Be sure to cover the tea while it's steeping to save the precious volatile oils.
Those with ragweed allergies may want to be cautious with this one.
If the stomach bug tries to visit your house, pull out the Chamomile to send him on his way. Just don't send him back to my house.