Growing Sunshine in your Garden
Chamomile is a flowering herbal plant that is easy to grow in the zone 3/4 garden. They look just like little suns in the garden and always bring joy when I see them.
There are two types of chamomile, German and Roman. I grow German chamomile, which is an annual and easy to grow from seed. The plant acts like a perennial because any blooms you do not harvest will spread seeds and that will be your chamomile next spring. Just remember when you find a spot in your garden to plant your chamomile seeds, that it will spread aggressively if you stop harvesting the flowers at any time. I have to admit, when my chamomile spreads over a large area, it sure is beautiful as it flowers but I have to keep space for my other plants as well.
To grow chamomile, obtain seeds from a reputable seed source and plant in a sunny to partly shady spot. While chamomile does not require quality soil, it will grow more vigorous and strong if the soil is enhanced with compost. As of June 9th, I have started harvesting chamomile, so plan on a full summer of picking blooms and drying them for further use.
Since the chamomile flower is small, about 1/2 - 1inch across, it dries down to about 1/4 inch in size so a lot of flower heads are needed to make a tea blend or other recipe. Plant enough to gather this useful herb, but be prepared to spend at least every other morning harvesting flower heads. I try to harvest in the late morning after the flowers have opened completely. When I have a large volume of flower heads, I dry them in a dehydrator, otherwise I let them dry in the sun. They will continue to bloom until frost.
Now, what do you do with the chamomile? The majority I use for tea blends but I also make Chamomile oil for a base in soaps and skin balms. Chamomile is also great to use for a de-stressing herbal bath. I place chamomile blossoms along with lemon balm leaves and rose petals into a muslin bag and attach it to the faucet on the tub so the hot water runs through the herbs as I am filling the tub.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) has no contraindications for use unless you are allergic to plants like goldenrod. If allergic, you will not want to use this Flower.
Chamomile is very supportive of the nervous system with its calming and mild sedative effects. Kanji Naturals Tea Blend “Sunny Soul“, “Mothers Embrace”, “Tranquility” and “Evening Repose” all contain chamomile flowers to help support the nervous system. Chamomile is also supportive of the digestive system, helping to increase the secretion of digestive juices. This is why I use chamomile in Kanji Naturals tea blends like Happy Tummy.
Chamomile has a mild, slightly spicy flavor that I enjoy in my cup of tea. Enjoy putting a little sunshine into your garden and your cup of tea to calm and relax. Just watching them grow and harvesting them makes me happy, they are the cutest of flowers.