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Matricaria recutita, German Chamomile


Chamomile has a long history as a gentle and effective folk medicine for a wide variety of disorders, being especially effective and safe for children.

There is some confusion between this plant and Chamaemelum nobile as to which is the genuine chamomile. This species is said to be more bitter and inferior to Chamaemelum nobile in some reports and to be more active medicinally in other reports. Both have similar properties and can probably be used interchangeably.

The whole plant has a pungent aroma.

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. The flowers are also an ingredient of 'Quick Return' herbal compost activator.

The whole plant was formerly used as a strewing herb. The whole plant is insect repellent. An essential oil from the whole plant is used as a flavouring and in perfumery.

Yellow to gold dyes are obtained from the flowers.

An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position. It prefers neutral to slightly acid conditions and succeeds in poor soils. It usually self-sows freely when well-sited.

Sow spring or autumn in situ. Germination should take place within 3 weeks.

Edible uses:

The young sprigs are used as a seasoning. The dried flowers are used to make herb teas. It is aromatic but with a very bitter flavour.


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