What can I say about Chamomile that can gently sedate you, calm your tummy, add aroma to your bath water and beautify your yard?
Egyptians loved chamomile so much that they dedicated this flower to their Sun god, Ra. Chamomile was used by the ancient Romans and Greeks to treat inflammatory conditions and as a sedative. Air Wick even uses it in one of its Relaxation products.
When you’re stressed out or feel like lashing out, it’s amazing what a little chamomile can do. Chamomile has long been known as a relaxing, calming herb and chamomile contains substances that affect the same parts of the brain that anti-anxiety drugs do.
A flavonoid in chamomile, called apigenin, may be responsible for the anti-anxiety and calming effects. Its action on brain receptors is similar to Valium and Xanax, but unlike the drugs, chamomile’s not addictive or harmful.
Chamomile has also been found to increase glycine in the body, which is an amino acid that acts as a nerve and muscle relaxant.
German chamomile is a delicate looking plant that is surprisingly tough. The ferny foliage tends to flop over and the tiny flowers look like miniature daisies.
Chamomile fragrance is reminiscent of apples. It grows readily in less than perfect conditions and can be used as a ground cover. It has silver-white flowers with yellow centers.
Chamomile can be sown in the garden in either fall or spring. Seed viability is increased by freezing and thawing, and therefore planting in fall is preferable.
It appreciates full sun and evenly moist soil, and it will reseed freely if some flower heads are left on the plant.
Chamomile grows well with very little care, there is even a proverb written about it: “like a chamomile bed, the more it is trodden the more it will spread.” As long as there is plenty of sunlight, the plants grow and spread throughout a bed.
Chamomile will flower best if grown in full sun and not too rich organic soil. It will survive in poorer soils, but the stems will be that much floppier. Chamomile is not particular about soil pH, preferring a neutral range of between 5.6 and 7.5.
Grow chamomile near onions, cabbages, and wheat. It is said to repel flying insects and increase crop yield. It is grown with peppermint plants to intensify the oil of the peppermint.
Chamomile is great for herb garden, or in fact any garden. It has been referred to as ‘the plants ‘physician’, due to the fact that it will improve the condition of many ailing plants or shrubs when planted nearby.
Most insects stay clear of chamomile. In fact, it is used as an cucumber pest deterrent.
German Chamomile is most often used for medicinal purposes, and is usually administered as a tea. Chamomile tea is the most popular tea in the world and it’s easily made by brewing the fresh or dried flowers.
Chamomile flowers are used in teas to aid in restful sleep, relieve stress and reduce the facial results of stress around the eyes. They can also be used in a bath to help reduce the pain associated with windburned or sunburned skin.
* Chamomile Tea Recipe
-1 heaped teaspoon German Chamomile flowers (dried or fresh)
-1 teaspoon honey
-slice of lemon (optional)
Put the chamomile flowers into a warm cup. Pour on boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse for 3-5 minutes. Strain and add the honey and lemon , if desired.
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Yours truly, Polly – Organic Gardener