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This perennial is also known as Roman chamomile. It can be used as a groundcover since it grows only 4 to 12 inches in height. The foliage is feathery with an apple scent, and it is accented by white, daisy-like flowers with down-turned petals.
The annual form of chamomile is also called German chamomile. It grows to 20 inches and has feathery foliage with daisy-like flowers like it's cousin. The flowers are scented, but the foliage is not.
Roman chamomile is usually propagated by root division, while German chamomile seeds are sown directly in early spring. The soil should be sandy and slightly acid. Full sun is preferred except in hot, dry climates where midday shade is necessary. Chamomile can also be used around the edges of containers with other herbs. After flowering, cut back to the main growth.
Harvesting and Drying
Cut the flowers from the stems with scissors and spread them out on muslin covered racks to dry.
Roman chamomile foliage can be chopped and stirred into butter or sour cream that is used to top baked potatoes.
German Chamomile is most often used for medicinal purposes, and is usually administered as a tea. It can also be administered as a compress for external healing and as a bath for babies. Here are a few uses:
Soothes and relaxes at bedtime.
Relieves restlessness, teething problems, and colic in children.
Relieves allergies, much as an antihistamine would.
Aids digestion when taken as a tea after meals.
Relieves morning sickness during pregnancy.
Speeds healing of skin ulcers, wounds, or burns.
Treats gastritis and ulcerative colitis.
Makes a relaxing bath or footbath.
Lightens fair hair and conditions complexion. Make a rinse by simmering 2 teaspoons dried flowers in 8 ounces of water for 15 minutes.
Potpourri (dry flowers face down.)
Chamomile Cleansing Milk
Must be kept refrigerated.
Good only for 2-4 days.
Place 1 cup of warm milk in a bowl. The milk must be kept warm throughout, however it must never boil and a skin must not form on the milk. The easiest way to accomplish this is by placing the bowl over a saucepan of hot water.
Add 3 tablespoons fresh chamomile flowers. Stir gently from time to time so as not to break up the flowers. Infuse until the milk smells strongly of chamomile. Strain into glass jars.
Excellent for oily skin