Chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.)

There are many forms of chamomile, but what’s covered here is the information on German. If you’re looking for a safe, versatile herb, chamomile fits this description perfectly.

Found: Most varieties grow abundantly throughout U.S. in wastelands, fields, along roadsides, gardens.

Identifying: Daisy-like flowers with an apple scent; approximately 3/4″ across. It flowers from May to October.

Parts Used: Flowers

Harvesting: If you grow your own chamomile, you can harvest the flowers yourself. When the flower petals are beginning to bend back slightly, they are ready. Pick only the flower – not the stem or leaves – and dry them as soon as you’re able. (I prefer food dehydrators.) Store them in a sealed clean glass jar.

Medicinal Uses: Colic, diarrhea, insomnia, indigestion, got sciatica, headaches, fevers, flu, cholds cramps, arthritis. Essential oil is good for allergies, is anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and antifungal. Also anti-anxiety with sedative effect. Also good for sufferers of asthma, conjuncitivitis, hives, psoriasis, attention deficit disorder, insomnia, stress. Chamomile creams are great for cuts, scrapes, abrasions, diaper rash, eczema. Antispasmodic properties are good for IBS sufferers and morning sickness relief. Apigenin, found in chamomile, stops the formation of tissue-destructive hormone in lupus patients. Also helps with endometrial cancer by preventing protein production which allows the cancer cells to anchor onto new areas. Good also for peptic ulcers and PMS. Especially good for children going through the restlessness of teething, or for nervous irritability. Good for false pains and nervousness in pregnancy, delayed menses because of nervousness, cough, flatulence, bedwetting from bladder irritation.

Interesting Facts: Medieval Englanders used chamomile for “strewing”. They would throw the flowers on the floors of their homes so when the flowers were walked upon, a pleasant smell would fill the room.

Allergic Reactions: Sometimes people who have allergies to ragweed will also show allergic reaction to chamomile. (This is more often found with Roman Chamomile as opposed to German. I have been unable to track down any mention of German chamomile producing allergic reaction.)

Note: Always consult a health professional before using any herb or medicinal plant. These posts are not meant to be a medical guide but an overview.

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