Chamomile, or Matricaria recutita is a very familiar herb to many. It is often found in tea blends, body lotions, or even soaps commercially. Also can be known as ground apples, garden chamomile, pin heads, chamomile consists of the fresh or dried flower heads. Some of it’s benefits include:
- nervine (soothing to the neves)
- liver and kidney detoxifier
- anti-biotic (especially against gram positive bacteria)
- sedative qualities
Chamomile has no known interactions, but if you are allergic to ragweed, this is probably best not used, as there have been reports of anaphyltic shock. Actually, there are two types of chamomile, Roman or German. They are botanically unrelated, but both produce the same light blue essential oil. Most of the chamomile grown in North America is German.
Growing chamomile is fairly easy. You can either grow from seeds, or transplanting a chamomile plant. You can find seeds online and simply sow into fertile soil, preferably on the slightly acidic side, in the early Spring for a Summer harvest.
Chamomile does best in full sun. They spread quickly, grow fast and are beautiful when flowering. The best part is that our chickens do not seem to like the flowers, so they have not ever bothered the bed. You will harvest and dry the flowers in the Summer.
Chamomile can be used as a digestive aid, assist in healing ulcers, and for women’s health.
Chamomile was also used traditionally as relaxing tranquilizer by adding flowers to a warm soaking bath, to possibly assist in reducing arthric imflammation and for infection prevention by applying a cooled infusion to cuts in a compress form. Using chamomile tea for sleep may help promote a more restful, peaceful sleep. Some great uses for chamomile at home:
Chamomile Hand Scrub
This is great for dry, garden weary hands. It will help soften and soothe the skin.
Infuse chamomile into 1/4 cup of water to make a “tea”. Strain out the herbs, keeping the water. Gently warm the glycerine in a double boiler, and add the arrowroot powder, stirring slowly to combine. Add the water and ground oats, stir to combine and store in an airtight lid. To use, add a bit and scrub all over hands and rinse. Good for up to 6 weeks.
Chamomile Bath Salts
- 5 grams dried chamomile flowers
- 3 gram dried lavender flowers
- 1 cup coarse salt, such as Redmond Bath Salt
Carefully mix the dried chamomile and lavender herbs with the salt and use 1/4 cup for each soothing bath. Will help to relax and calm, especially before bedtime.
Chamomile Nightime Tea
This is a family favorite. We all drink this at least 3 times a week, especially when we having busy weeks and need to unwind. Can be drunk hot or iced and it’s delicious either way. Chamomile tea is also safe during pregnancy for those times when you have an upset tummy.
Chamomile Skin Soothing Salve
This is also gentle enough to use as a diaper rash cream, and is gentle enough to use on the face area as well. We like to have this for mild sunburns, skin abrasions and even as a lip balm.
Gently melt the coconut oil and add the dried herbs. The oil may not cover the flowers completely, and that’s okay. Place in a 200° oven for 2 hours and allow the herbs to infuse the oil. Strain and place in a double boiler. Melt the beeswax in the infused oil and stir completely. Pour into a leakproof container and cool completely before use. Use within 6 months.