Everything You Need to Know About Chamomile

I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Chamomile

Chamomile is another favorite of mine, as it is for many tea lovers. Like lavender, chamomile is drought tolerant and pretty low maintenance. There are two main types of chamomile, Roman and German. Roman, or ​Chamaemelum nobile, grows lower to the ground, only reaching 3-6 inches in height. German, or ​Matricaria recutita, grows up to two feet tall.

 

Growing and Using Chamomile
Growing and Using Chamomile

Roman chamomile grows best in Zones 4-9. It is beautiful as a ground cover, flowing over rocks in the garden, but it is not as widely used in medicine. German chamomile does better in Zones 2-8. It is the most common chamomile to use for herbal medicine. Luckily for us, German chamomile easily self-seeds once you start it in your garden. You may even have to take measures to prevent it from becoming  invasive!

Growing chamomile

Chamomile appreciates well-drained, nutrient rich soil. The seeds are delicate and need light to germinate, so when sowing, simply put them on top of the soil and water thoroughly. It’s tempting to cover them up, but don’t do it! Germination typically takes 2-3 weeks. You can either start your seeds indoors in a warm, sunny  location 6-8 weeks prior to your last spring frost, or sow the seeds directly in the garden after there is no danger of frost and the soil has warmed. Thin seedlings to 6 inches apart.

Chamomile needs approximately one inch of water per week, and will do best in full  sun. Let the soil dry out a bit between waterings. Mulching is recommended to discourage weed growth and help the soil retain moisture.
The medicine in chamomile is in the flowers and the leaves. You can harvest chamomile pretty much any time during its vigorous growth stage. Typically you want to harvest in the mornings, when the flowers are fully open. Pinch the stalk right below the flower. After harvest, you can use immediately or dry. There are two main ways of drying chamomile. It can be put in a dehydrator for 12 hours, or placed on a screen in a warm, dry area for up to 2 weeks. Make sure it is completely dry before putting it in a airtight jar out of direct sunlight.

Using chamomile

Growing and using chamomile
Chamomile as medicine

Chamomile is another relaxing, stress-relieving herb. It is anti-inflammatory, astringent, anti-microbial, antioxidant, analgesic, antibacterial, sedative, antiseptic, and carminative. Chamomile is great for digestion issues, upset stomach, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and IBS. It can also be helpful for colds and fevers.

Chamomile is a wonderful, soothing skin treatment. It can be used as a hair rinse to combat dandruff, used as a compress to treat abscesses, or put in a salve for diaper rash. A chamomile wash has shown to be helpful for wounds, rosacea, psoriasis,  skin allergies, and insect bites.

This wonderful herb even has pain-relieving (analgesic) properties! It can be made into a tea, soaked into a cotton cloth, and used for teething babies to chew and suck on. Chamomile is excellent for anxiety, insomnia, headaches, migraines, and menstrual cramps.
Chamomile is a GRAS (generally regarded as safe) herb, and is considered safe for pregnant and lactating women. It is even safe for most animals.

Is chamomile on your list of go-to herbs? I hope I’ve inspired you to grow some of your own! Comment below with your favorite ways to use chamomile!

2 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About Chamomile”

  1. I love chamomile tea and I used to have the flowers growing wild around our last home. I think I will need to plant them in my garden here. 🙂

    I found your post on the Simple Homestead Hop and I would love to have you share your talents on Farm Fresh Tuesdays! Hope to see you there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *