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Chamaemelum nobile, Lawn / Roman Chamomile (Camomile)


Chamomile is commonly grown in the domestic herb garden, it is also cultivated commercially for its flowers which are used in herb teas and medicinally.

There is some confusion between this plant (which is a perennial) and the annual chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) as to which is the genuine medicinal chamomile. Some reports say that this plant is the most effective herbally, whilst others says that Matricaria is more potent. Both plants seem to have very similar properties and either can probably be used quite successfully.

Camomile is a very good companion plant, promoting the health of plants it is growing close to, it is especially good for growing near cabbages, onions and, in small quantities, wheat.

Camomile is a common herb with a long history of safe and effective medicinal use - it is widely used as a household herbal remedy. It is particularly useful as a remedy for various problems of the digestive system, as a sedative and a nervine, it is especially suited for young children.

An infusion of the flowers is used as a hair shampoo, especially for fair hair. It is also used as a liquid feed and general plant tonic, effective against a number of plant diseases. It has fungicidal properties and its use is said to prevent damping off in seedlings.

The flowers are an ingredient of 'QR' herbal compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost. The whole plant was formerly used as a strewing herb. The whole plant is insect repellent both when growing and when dried. An essential oil from the whole plant is used as a flavouring and in perfumery.

Yellow to gold dyes are obtained from the flowers.

The plant makes a very good ground cover and can also be used as an edging plant. It does tend to become bare in patches.

Tolerates most well-drained soils, preferring a dry sandy soil and a sunny position. Tolerates partial shade. Established plants are drought tolerant. Can be grown in grass.

Sow March in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and do not let the compost dry out. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.

Edible uses:

Young sprigs are used as a seasoning and a flavouring in herb beers.

The fresh or dried flowers are used to make herb teas. This has a strong aromatic odour and a bitter flavour, especially the single-flowered form.

The whole herb is used for making herbal beers.


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