Vampire’s Garden: Chamomile

vampire's garden chamomile, aspasia s. bissas
Photo via https://nccih.nih.gov

Love Lies Bleeding‘s readers know that main character Mara is both a vampire and a botanist. Trained in botany and herbalism, she still has a garden and studies plants. This post is seventh in a series exploring Mara’s plants. Are you interested in botany, gardening, or plant lore? So are some vampires…

Please note: Medicinal uses are given for informational purposes only. Always consult a medical professional before diagnosing or treating yourself or anyone else.

Botanical Name: Matricaria chamomilla (German chamomile) and Chamaemelum nobile (Roman or English chamomile).

Common Names: chamomile, camomile, German chamomile, Italian chamomile, Hungarian chamomile, wild chamomile, scented mayweed, Matricaria recutita, Roman chamomile, English chamomile, garden chamomile, Water of Youth, ground apple, mother’s daisy, whig plant, Anthemis nobilis, Anthemis, chamomilla, Flores Anthemidis, Grosse Kamille, Romische Kamile, manzanilla, sweet chamomile

History: Found near populated areas throughout temperate parts of the world, chamomile will grow in any disturbed soil, including along roadsides, near landfills, and in cultivated fields. It has been used medicinally since at least Ancient Egypt, and in beer making (and love potions!) since the Middle Ages. Roman chamomile was thought to be the superior form, hence the use of “nobile” (noble) in its botanical name, although research shows that German chamomile is actually the more potent of the two. Chamomile is the national flower of Russia.

Victorian Language of Flowers Meaning: Patience

Cultivation: Zones 3 to 9. German chamomile is an annual that readily self seeds. Roman chamomile is a perennial. Chamomiles like moist but well-drained soil and full sun (or part shade in hotter climates). Start seeds six weeks before last frost. Seeds need light to germinate, so scatter on top of potting mix, press firmly into the mix, and keep moist. Transplant outside after risk of frost has passed. (You can also directly sow seed outdoors in autumn.) Thin plants to 15 to 18 inches (38 to 45 cm) apart. Blooms June and July. After (Roman chamomile) plants flower, cut them back to soil level to ensure strong plants next season.

Uses:

Medicinal: Whichever type of chamomile you use, make a tea from the flowers and drink or apply externally, depending on what you’re treating. German chamomile in particular has been found to be antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory, making it ideal for menstrual and intestinal cramps, as well as coughs and colds. Chamomile is calming and has been traditionally used to help anxiety and insomnia. Cooled tea can be applied to skin to calm irritations and help with swelling (it can also be used as a mouth rinse for sores or inflammation). You can make a pot of strong tea and add it to bath water for a healing bath. Chamomile is a mild laxative, but has also been found to help treat diarrhea in children.

Caution: Chamomile can cause allergic reactions in anyone allergic to pollen or plants in the ragweed family. Chamomile may also negatively interact with other herbs and medicines. Avoid using if you’re taking anti-coagulants, NSAIDS, or sleep aids (including herbal kinds).

Caution 2: Pregnant and nursing women are advised to avoid using Roman chamomile. Infants should not be given chamomile, as (like honey) it may be contaminated with botulism spores, which a baby’s immature immune system can’t handle.

Cosmetics: Chamomile extract or essential oil can be added to skin creams as a soothing ingredient. Cooled chamomile tea can be used as a hair rinse to bring out blond highlights. Chamomile can also be added to homemade bath products, such as bath bombs.

Food: Home brewers can use the entire chamomile plant to add bitterness to beer. Chamomile flowers can be used in drinks (lemonade, smoothies, cocktails), in homemade popsicles, or in baking and other desserts. The flowers have a sweet apple or pineapple scent, and are worth experimenting with.

Crafts: Chamomile makes a nice addition to potpourri. You can also scent your home by gently simmering chamomile (fresh or dried leaves and/or flowers) in a pot of water on the stove (do not leave unattended; keep a close eye on water levels).

Gardening: Prevent damping off in seedlings by watering them with cooled chamomile tea. Planting chamomile near sick plants often results in healthier plants.

Mara’s Uses: Mara orders a cup of chamomile tea in Blood Magic (download your free copy here). Chamomile would also be included in remedies she sells via her apothecary business in Love Lies Bleeding, as well as the ones she used to help her fellow passengers in Tooth & Claw (download your free copy here).

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

 

Further Reading:

Flower meanings

Wikipedia: Chamomile

Wikipedia: Roman Chamomile

Wikipedia: German Chamomile

The Flower Expert

German Chamomile

NIH: Chamomile

What Are the Benefits of Chamomile Tea?

WebMD

23 Ways to Use Chamomile

What Is Chamomile?

How to Grow Chamomile

 

 

Book Tag: Ice Cream Tag

ice cream book tag, aspasia s. bissas
Photo by Key Notez on Pexels.com

My posts for the last while have been all business, so today I thought I’d have some fun with the Ice Cream book tag (snagged from the lovely A.M. Molvik’s Ramblings). Read on to find out about some of my favourite books (or possibly end up with serious ice cream cravings)…

Peanut Butter

A very long book series that you want to read but probably won’t, and why.

discworld books, ice cream book tag, aspasia s. bissas
Just some of the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. Image found here.

The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. When there are so many books in a series that there are multiple charts to help readers navigate it, the chances of finishing are pretty slim. Still, I’m going to try…eventually.

Chocolate

A book series that you would read again and again and again.

harry potter books, aspasia s. bissas

I’ll have to say the Harry Potter series, since I’ve already re-read it multiple times.

Pistachio

A book with a green cover.

Edgar Allan Poe meets Aspasia S. Bissas

The greenest cover on my shelf (even if it isn’t pistachio green).

Strawberry

A book with the cutest romance.

gunmetal magic, ilona andrews, aspasia s. bissas

This is a tough one, as I don’t tend to read “cute” romances. I did enjoy Andrea and Raphael’s story in Gunmetal Magic (they also show up occasionally in a few of the other Kate Daniels books). As hyena shifters, they show interest in potential mates by pranking them, which was amusing, if not exactly cute. I also really like both characters and Raphael is cute in his own way.

Lemon

A book with a sour ending.

her fearful symmetry, audrey niffenegger, aspasia s. bissas

There are so many books like this. I even wrote a post about a series that had an ending so bad, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. But Her Fearful Symmetry stands out because this book would be one of my all-time favourites if it weren’t for the disappointing ending.

Mint

A children’s book that you like.

alice's adventures in wonderland, lewis carroll, arthur rackham, aspasia s. bissas

Going with a classic that’s beautifully written. Arthur Rackam’s illustrations are my favourite, as well.

Vanilla

Your favorite classic.

crime and punishment, dostoevsky, aspasia s. bissas

It’s been a while since I’ve read Crime and Punishment (time for a re-read) but it’s remained my favourite after all these years. There’s something deeply human about it that I think is lacking in the world right now.

Whipped Cream

A very long book that you read very fast.

six wives of henry viii, aspasia s. bissas

I love all of Alison Weir’s (nonfiction) books on the Tudors. If you’re interested in the period, Weir’s work is well researched and fascinating to read.

What do you think? What book “flavours” would you choose? Share in the comments (and let me know if you post this tag on your own blog).

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Happy Labour Day Weekend

Happy Labour Day from Aspasia S. Bissas
Hope you’re spending this long weekend relaxing with friends and family. Don’t forget to thank your local unions for this statutory holiday (not to mention two-day weekends in general) 🙂
And a quick reminder that my new story, Tooth & Claw, will be available free on 7 September!
Tooth & Claw, free short story by Aspasia S. Bissas
Mara, Dominic, and their fellow vampires arrive in Marseille, France in 1909, only to find another predator already on the loose. As the city tries to cope with a killer stalking the streets, Mara struggles to separate memory from delusion. Can she find peace when the past is haunting, the present overwhelming, and the future hopeless? Inspired by real events.
In the meantime, don’t forget to download my other FREE short story Blood Magic, and while you’re at it, pick up Love Lies Bleeding too, available in paperback or e-book. Your support is much appreciated.

Tooth & Claw, a new FREE short story inspired by actual events, available 7 September.

 

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Going Solo

introversion and creativity, Aspasía S. Bissas

According to a BBC article, recent research has confirmed that alone time is good for your concentration, health, and creativity. Is anyone else not remotely surprised? Any introvert can tell you that spending time on your own is a necessity, particularly when it comes to creative pursuits.

introversion and creativity, introvert meme Aspasía S. Bissas

As much as I enjoy spending time with friends, I seem to never be able to get any writing done when I do. Even if it’s only for a couple of hours, socializing drains me, leaving no energy to think, let alone create. I’m not advocating for isolation (unless that’s your thing), but the more time I spend being social, the more appealing the hermit lifestyle starts to look.

introversion and creativity, introvert meme Aspasía S. Bissas

I’m always a little skeptical of people in creative fields who are extroverts. The extroverts I know are constantly on the run, always social, always busy. When do they find time to create? How do they focus? I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s difficult to picture someone coming home from a party and feeling inspired to do anything other than sleep it off.

introversion and creativity, introvert meme Aspasía S. Bissas

I’m still trying to find a balance between spending time with the people I care about and getting the necessary solitude I need to create. Sometimes I wish texting counted as socializing, or that I could carry on a conversation while mentally working on a chapter or two. How about you–are you an introvert or extrovert? What helps or hinders your creativity? Share in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

 

Originally posted on 19 March 2018