Chamomile, German (Matricaria recutita)

A flower doesn't think of competing 

with the flower next to it,

It just Blooms.

Chamomile, German 

(Matricaria Recutita)

German Chamomile is an herb rich in volatile oils, used for all ages, and is native to southern and eastern Europe. The herb smells slightly like apple, and is popular throughout the world. It is the best-known and most common form of the Chamomile plant. Do not confuse German Chamomile with Roman Chamomile.

German Chamomile is generally used for diarrhea, indigestion (dyspepsia), anxiety, and excessive crying in infants (colic). Some people also use German Chamomile for insomnia, mouth sores, hemorrhoids, and many other conditions.

The plant is used mostly for its anti-inflammatory properties, but the tea also contains antioxidants, acts as a mild sedative and has a mild astringent affect.


Fun Facts

Chamomile is one of the most well-known herbs that grows. Even nursery rhymes and fairy tales include mentions of this revered herbal brew--remember Peter Rabbit whose mother soothed his aching head with a cup of chamomile tea?

Latin Name: Matricaria Recutita

Family: Asteraceae

Common Names: German Chamomile, Chamomile, Hungarian Chamomile, Wild Chamomile, Blue Chamomile, scented Mayweed

Parts Used: Flowers, Leaves

Plant Type: 

An annual flowering plant with white tiny daisy-like flowers & yellow centers with fern-like light green and feathery leaves that grow on a solitary stem, however, it self-seeds so readily, you might think it's a perennial.

Properties:  Antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, antispasmodic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-ulcer, antiviral, and sedative effects. 

Constituents: Terpenoids α-Bisabolol and its Oxide Azulenes including Chamazulene and Acetylene derivatives ’ (Bisabolol Oxide A, Bisabolene Oxide A, a-Bisabolol and Bisabolol Oxide B) along with Farnesol, Thujanol, Bisabolol, Coumarin and Farnasene.

Medicinal Uses:  There are three primary uses of German Chamomile: as anti-inflammatories for various afflictions of the skin and mucous membranes; as antispasmodics for treating ailments like indigestion and menstrual cramps; and as anti-infectives for numerous minor illnesses. Ointments, lotions, vapor baths, inhalations, and the like can also be made with it's extract. Promotes calming, relaxation & reduces swelling. 

Foraging: Collect flowers for drying in the spring when the petals begin to turn back on the disk.

Flavor: Can be bitter with a slight apple-like flavor.

Preparation Methods: The flowers are used in teas (decoctions) or added to formulas, or tinctured.

Suggestions for Preparation


 Tea Decoction): 

Boil 1 teaspoon of dried or fresh flowers in 1 cup of boiling water, let steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Drink two to three cups a day. 

If you find your tea too bitter either omit the leaves (if used) or steep for less time.

Herbal Oil Infusion :

Fill jar 2/3 to 3/4 full with dried or fresh flowers & cover with a quality oil such as Extra Virgin Olive oil to the very top of the jar ( Cover plants completely).

Place your mixture in the sun. Shake several times a week. Allow the mixture to extract for 6 to 8 weeks.




Tincture:

Fill jar 2/3 to 3/4 full with dried or fresh flowers & cover with 90 proof grain alcohol to the very top of the jar ( Cover plants completely).

Store your tincture in a cool, dark, dry place. Shake several times a week, and check your alcohol levels. Allow the mixture to extract for 6 to 8 weeks.


Safety & Contraindications

Large doses not recommended during pregnancy,

Avoid if you have an allergy or sensitivity to plants in the Asteraceae family (it is in the same plant family as ragweed, marigolds, daisies, and other related herbs.).

German Chamomile might act like estrogen in the body. German Chamomile might interact with anesthesia for surgery and should not be used 2 weeks before surgery.

Could have interactions with birth control and blood thinning medications.


Plant Identification

German Chamomile is a tall, erect annual reaching a height of 2 to 3 feet with daisylike blossoms, feathery foliage and a pretty apple fragrance and flavor.

Look Alikes

These are just a few of German Chamomile's Look Alikes

Corn Chamomile (Anthemis Arvensis)

scentless chamomile (Matricaria inodora)

Roman Chamomile Flowers (Chamaemelum Nobile)

Dyer's chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria)

Resources:

Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs by Claire Kowalchik & William H. Hylton