Posted: May 20th, 2011
There are two kinds of medicinal chamomile. Matricaria is the German or Hungarian Chamomile. Anthemis is the Roman or English chamomile. German chamomile, a native to Europe and West Asia, is an annual that grows one to two feet high. It can be grown from seed and once established will self sow. Sow early in the spring by scattering the seeds and patting them gently into the soil. The flowers will bloom continuously. German chamomile likes full sun with a moist, loamy, sandy soil and a pH between 6 and 8.5. Roman chamomile is a perennial native to Europe. It is low growing reaching up to one foot in height. It is a creeping rhizome with branched, slightly hairy, drooping stems. English chamomile can be started from seeds, cuttings or root divisions. It likes full sun and slightly acid to neutral soil with good drainage. It does not like hot dry weather.
Once flowering begins, chamomile can be harvested every ten days to two weeks. Harvest both types of chamomile flowers when they are in full bloom. Use them fresh or dry them at low temperatures. Chamomile makes a lovely tea and can also be used as a tincture.
Chamomile is high in magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin, sodium and calcium. The calcium in chamomile is easily assimilated, helping to soothe the nerves. Chamomile is good for irritability, nervousness, restlessness, hypertension, insomnia, and muscle spasms and cramps. It is a nice digestive aid due to its carminative, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory and stomachic properties. It soothes diarrhea, indigestion, gas and protects against ulcers. Due to its diaphoretic properties, chamomile is good for fevers, colds and flus. Chamomile can help bring on a delayed menses and reduce menstrual cramps.
It is a wonderful skin herb. It is hypoallergenic and anti-inflammatory, most likely inhibiting the release of histamine. Chamomile can be used as a poultice, salve or in a bath for burns, cuts, sore muscles, painful joints, ulcers, rashes and burns. It makes a soothing wash for toothache and swollen gums or eyes. The essential oil is anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory and pain relieving . It works well against funguses and candida. A hair rinse for blond hair can be made from an infusion of the flowers. Combine chamomile with mullein and calendula flowers for earache. Because of its gentle action, Chamomile is an excellent herb for children. It can be used for colic, constipation, teething and diaper rash. If one is allergic to ragweed, Chamomile may increase allergic symptoms drastically. In large doses, Roman Chamomile has been known to promote vomiting.
Article Categories: Herbs