How To Grow and Cultivate Chamomile in your Garden
The word chamomile is derived from the Greek “chamaimelon”, meaning “earth apple”, and is the name used to refer to a number of herbs from the Asteraceae family.
The chamomile plant is a delicate-looking shrub with a sweet scent and flowers similar to daisies. It is popular worldwide as an herbal tea, sleep aid, and aromatherapy oil.
Cultivation of Chamomile
The two most commonly used chamomile species are the German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and the Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). The German chamomile grows up to 3 feet while the Roman chamomile only grows about a foot and is best for ground cover. The former is an annual plant while the latter is a perennial. Choose which chamomile species will suit your needs and cultivate them from seeds.
- Prepare the soil for planting. Chamomile needs sandy, slightly acidic soil that drains well but also retains moisture. Add a moderate amount of compost or fertilizer.
- Scatter the seeds onto moistened soil. Do not cover them. You can do this outdoors in the ground or indoors in a pot or tray.
- Let the seeds germinate for a couple of weeks.
- Once seedlings have grown, thin the plants to 18 inches (for ornamental purposes) or to 6 inches (for ground cover).
- Though chamomile plants are resistant to drought, watering them regularly will keep their stems sturdy and upright.
- Add fertilizer or rotted compost regularly for optimum growth.
- Harvest the chamomile once the flowers have opened fully. Use them fresh or dry them for future use.
Tips on Growing Chamomile
- Because you will be leaving the seeds exposed as they germinate, start planting after the last frost.
- Chamomile needs full sun to thrive. However, if you live in an area with extremely hot temperatures, place the plants where they can get some shade in the afternoon.
- Chamomile plants naturally repel insects, but are vulnerable to aphids and thrips. If you plan on using your chamomile for culinary or medicinal purposes, use an organic treatment to get rid of pests.
- Remove dead flowers regularly to keep new ones growing.
Medicinal Uses of Chamomile
Chamomile is one of those herbs that old country folk are always talking about, and if you have a grandparent with an herbal garden, then you’ve probably come across the plant. This wonderful herb has been used for thousands of years as an herbal remedy for a wide range of ailments; even the ancient Egyptians revered chamomile and dedicated it to their gods.
The entire plant is of value, but the medicinal quality is centered in the blossoms.
The disk and the florets that make up the blossoms are used to make tonics, infusions, oils, extracts, teas, compresses, and decoctions for various medicinal purposes.
These are just some of the curative effects and health benefits of this wonderful plant:
Relieves tooth pain – Grind some dried chamomile, mix it with a bit of water to form a paste, and apply it to the aching tooth for instant relief!
Settles an upset stomach – Chamomile is exceptionally effective in treating indigestion, heartburn, flatulence, loss of appetite, and related ailments. Chamomile infusion taken an hour before meals helps relieve most of these problems.
Stops diarrhea – Chamomile extract and chamomile pills made from chamomile blossoms have long been used to treat summer diarrhea in children. The plant has anti-spasmodic, antibacterial, and antiviral qualities.
It’s a sedative – Chamomile is probably best known as a calming agent. Taken as a tea before bedtime, chamomile helps soothe stressed minds and bodies and aids in sleep. It is also used to fight bouts of anxiety and panic attacks.
Kills germs – Chamomile is an antibiotic, an antiseptic, a bactericide, and a disinfectant. Chamomile essential oil has been found effective against the herpes simplex virus type 2 and chamomile compresses have been proven just as effective as 1% hydrocortisone ointment in treating skin lesions.Share with friends!