Before modern medicine, herbal treatments were popular way to soothe ailments. Some of chamomile’s powers discovered long ago still used effectively. Brewed tea from chamomile flowers is calming. Some say chamomile helps reduce nervousness, minor insomnia and aids digestion and upset stomachs. Essential oil from flowers gives more concentrated dose in a cup of tea. Oil obtained through steam distillation. Usually found at herb shops or some grocery stores. Blue color comes from the phytonutrient azulene, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Oil can be used to reduce skin conditions like rashes or eczema, help aid digestion and PMS symptoms. You may also enjoy the fragrance of dried flowers or soothe skin ailments (sunburn and others) by putting dried flowers in a permeable sack to soak in bath water.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Vitamins – traces of B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), A and B9 (Folate)
Minerals – Manganese and traces of Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium & Zinc
May help soothe symptoms of skin conditions eczema, psoriasis, sunburns and rashes. May also help with indigestion. Often used to help reduce infant crying (colic) from teething pain, anxiety and insomnia.
How to Grow
Different varieties of chamomile available. Some perennial, others annual. Some used as ground cover or bordering. German variety is an annual used to make tea, as is the Roman perennial. Needs well-drained soil. Prefers site with partial shade, but can tolerate full sun. Can be grown in smaller areas, but may need to be kept in check later to keep from spreading. Growing in pots also an option. Work in compost or planting mix rich in organic matter/microbes into the soil of desired location. Start from seed or plant transplants from reputable nursery. In spring or mid-fall (in warmer climates), plant about 1.5 feet apart if growing for herb use or 8 inches apart for ground cover. Once they are a few inches tall, mulch around with fine fertile material that will not disrupt pH or block water absorption. Don’t use pine bark or peat. Water just enough to keep soil moist. Trim off faded or dying flowers/leaves to promote new blooms. Chamomile peaks early through mid-summer with yellow and white flowers. Remove these to make tea. When frost comes, remove annuals and cut back perennials to just a few inches. To over winter perennials, insulate with a layer of mulch.
No pest or disease problems if grown in open position with sun and wind, especially if a number of plants are grown.
Chamomile thrives best in areas where summer temperatures stay below 100˚F. Be careful using chamomile as an herbal remedy. If you are allergic to daisy or ragweed, you may have an allergic reaction to chamomile. Also has blood-thinning action. Discuss with your doctor if you take prescription blood thinner.