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Chamomile - The Gentle Herb

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Chamomile - The Gentle Herb Photo © Flickr user jstark101

Overview:

Chamomile is a fragrant herb known for its apple-like taste and scent. In fact, this relative of the daisy gets its name from the Greek word kamai, meaning melon or ground apple. For thousands of years, people all over the world have been brewing chamomile into teas to aid digestion and calm jangled nerves. Gentle enough for both pregnancy nausea and infant colic, chamomile tea is a wonderful way to soothe. A new to me idea is to use German chamomile tea, double strength, as a preventative to damping off in seedtrays. The gardening guide, shared this great tip. I will be using it from now on.

Latin Name:

Matricaria recutita

Common Name:

Chamomile

USDA Hardiness Zone:

German chamomile is an annual. Roman chamomile is a perennial. Zone 4-9

Exposure:

Full sun to partial shade. Chamomiles like moist soil but not to sit in water. Can be direct seeded.

Harvest:

Snip tiny flowers as they bloom. This is best done in the morning after dew has dried but the hot sun has not forced the delicate oils back towards the roots. Keep harvesting flowers and they will keep coming back.

Uses:

To harvest chamomile can seem a chore. The flowers are very small but abundant. Some have better luck using a chamomile rake, which is a hand held device that combs the plants to remove the flowers. I find that it tends to tear a lot of plants up by the roots when I use it so I stick to the hand approach. Go out every day and you will find more flowers ready to harvest. This keep the flowers coming for an extended period of time. Chamomile is an easy herb to grow and offers a lot of choices for teas, rinses and fragrant additions to crafts. Grow some as a ground cover or in a bed of its own, chamomile offers a gardener so much.
Related Video
How to Plant an Herb Garden
Plants to Use in a No-Work Perennial Garden
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