Chamomile is just starting to bloom in my small herb garden. It’s a common bushy garden herb with small daisy type flowers and with a fragrance similar to apples. Considered both a kitchen and medicinal herb it is easy to grow plant. All it needs is full direct sun and average soil conditions.
Chamomile will readily volunteer new plants every year and can be treated like a perennial. There are a few different types of chamomile. The type that I have growing in my garden is ordinary German chamomile.
Chamomile is easily started in the garden by simply sprinkling the seed onto prepared ground and gently raking it into the soil. It’s okay if the seed isn’t completely covered or is just covered ever so lightly.
Stamp the seed firmly so that it makes good soil contact and water well.
And before too long, you’ll have more then you’ll know what to do with. But be careful – after a few years it can take over your garden or lawn and become invasive if you don’t weed out some of the plants regularly.
USES FOR CHAMOMILE
It’s the yellow and white daisy like flowers that are primarily dried and infused in water to make a tea. The tea is most often sweeten with honey or sometimes lemon and cane sugar.
Chamomile has been used for centuries to calm fretful and colicky babies and is a well-known and very safe sleep aid for adults.
It is often useful for soothing heartburn, nausea and the miserable after effects of vomiting.
Some people will use it as a soothing wash for hemorrhoids and it is sometimes used to treat minor skin irritations. It is also used as a mouthwash or hair rinse for blondes.
HOW TO HARVEST AND DRY CHAMOMILE
To collect the flowers for drying, pick a hot, sunny dry day. Make sure the morning dew is off the plants.
You can pick the flowers individually or you can use a rat-tail comb with a double row of teeth and “comb” the flower heads off the plant.
Once collected the flowers can be dried on a screen, in a basket, in a paper bag; or in a lined food dehydrator. A slightly warm oven or any other drying method that you prefer is also a good way to dry it. But do take care because chamomile will dry very quickly and it is easy to over dry it.
When the flowers are completely dried store them in a tightly covered container and in dark dry location.