Chamomile German (Matricaria recutita)
The tiny daisy-like flowers of German Chamomile have white collars circling raised, cone-shaped, yellow centres and are less than an 25mm wide, growing on long, thin, light green stems. Sometimes Chamomile grows wild and close to the ground, but you can also find it bordering herb gardens.
Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny position. In hot or tropical conditions, an afternoon shade position in summer is recommended.
The medicinal use of Chamomile dates back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. Chamomile has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including: Chest colds, Sore throats, Abscesses, Gum inflammation (gingivitis) Anxiety, Insomnia, Psoriasis, Acne, Eczema, Minor first-degree burns, Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis)Stomach ulcers, Children's conditions such as chickenpox, diaper rash and colic.
While studies in people are few, animal studies have shown that German Chamomile reduces inflammation; speeds wound healing, reduces muscle spasms and serves as a mild sedative to help with sleep. Test tube studies have also shown that Chamomile has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
Anxiety, insomnia: This is the most popular use for Chamomile in the United States. Studies in humans are few, but animal studies indicate that low doses of Chamomile may relieve anxiety, while higher doses promote sleep.
Digestive complaints: Chamomile has antispasmodic properties, meaning it helps relax muscle contractions, particularly in the smooth muscles that make up the intestines. It is sometimes used to treat stomach cramps, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, diarrhea, gas, and colic.
Gingivitis, mouth sores: Chamomile has been suggested as a treatment for these conditions, but studies show conflicting evidence. When used as a mouthwash, Chamomile has been found to prevent mouth sores associated with radiation and chemotherapy.
Skin irritations, eczema: Chamomile is often used topically in a cream or ointment to soothe irritated skin, especially in Europe. Preliminary evidence suggests that it may be moderately effective in treating eczema.
Adult: Tea: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2-3 heaping tblsp. (2-4g) of dried herb, steep 10-15 minutes. Drink 3-4 times per day between meals. Tincture (1:5, 45% alcohol): Take 1-3mL (100-150 drops) of tincture 3 times per day in hot water. Capsules: 300-400 mg taken 3 times per day. Gargle or mouthwash: Make a tea as above, then let it cool. Gargle as often as desired. You may also make an oral rinse with 10-15 drops of German chamomile liquid extract in 100mL warm water, use 3 times per day. Inhalation: Add a few drops of essential oil of chamomile to hot water (or use tea) and inhale the steam to calm a cough. Bath: Use 112grms of dried flowers per bath, or add 5-10 drops of essential oil to a full tub of water to soothe hemorrhoids, cuts, eczema, or insect bites. Poultice: Make a paste by mixing powdered herb with water and apply to inflamed skin. Cream: Apply cream with a 3-10% crude drug chamomile content for psoriasis, eczema, or dry and flaky skin.