Saturday, May 16, 2015

Growing Chamomile from Seed to Harvest

Beautiful small flowers, German Chamomile makes a relaxing tea with a sweet fruity fragrance.

Sow seeds indoors on surface of soil. Transplant outdoors in early spring just before last frost. Chamomile prefers well-drained sandy soil and self-sows freely.

Germination: 10-14 days
Days to Harvest:  60 days 


Chamomile grows best in loose, sandy soil that drains well. While chamomile will likely grow in even poor garden soil, try to amend it with a bit of mature compost prior to planting. The pH can be fairly wide, but shoot for 6.0-7.0 for best results.  Chamomile is an annual that grows over the course of the summer and fall. Direct sow chamomile seeds outdoors after the last frost for your area. You can also start them indoors up to 6 weeks earlier to get a head start.

Chamomile grows well just about anywhere. It does not like frost but also doesn’t take long to mature so even the shortest growing regions will see a good harvest. As an annual, you don’t have to worry about bringing it indoors or mulching to protect it over the winter.

Choose a sunny spot for your chamomile. It will also tolerate a little bit of shade, particularly in the hotter regions. Chamomile makes a good border plant, repelling some insects from the vegetable garden.

Chamomile can also grow well in containers. Each plant should have its own 12-inch pot. Chamomile can seed itself pretty well, so growing in pots can help keep it from taking over the garden.

What is Chamomile?
Chamomile is an herb that comes from a flowering plant from the daisy family. Both the fresh and dried flowers of chamomile have been used to create teas for centuries to cure a number of health problems. The active ingredient in chamomile essential oil is known as bisabolol, which has a number of anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties.
What are the Benefits of Chamomile?
Chamomile can be used topically or orally to treat a number of everyday ailments, such as:
Insomnia and other sleep disorders
Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Muscle twitches
Wounds, burns, and scrapes
Skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, chickenpox, and diaper rash
Stomach problems such as menstrual cramps, stomach flu, and ulcers
Uses of Chamomile
Stomach Cramps
Chamomile has been found to contain fairly strong antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory constituents. Therefore, it has been found to be effective in treating stomach and intestinal cramps. Simply prepare a cup of Chamomile tea following the directions on the package and drink it twice a day until while symptoms are present (one cup first thing in the morning, and one in the evening). 
Chamomile is wonderful remedy for sleep disorders such as insomnia. Simply make a chamomile tea 30 to 45 minutes before going to bed to treat sleeplessness. 
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Chamomile reduces cramping and pain in the bowels and also helps to relieve excessive gas and bloating in the intestines. Therefore, a simple remedy is to drink a cup of chamomile tea to help relieve irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, and gastroenteritis or stomach flu. 
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Menstrual Cramps
Drinking chamomile tea has been found to be beneficial in treating PMS and Menstrual Cramps. 
Treat Burns and Scrapes
Chamomile oil is very useful in treating bad burns. Simple rub a small amount of oil gently across the burned area once a day. For scrapes and burns you can also brew a strong concoction by adding 3 tea bags to one cup of boiling water. When the water cools, dip a cloth into it and use it as a compress on the wounded area. 
Lightening Skin Using Chamomile
Chamomile has been found to be advantageous for lightening your skin tone. Simply bring two quarts of water to a boil with 2 chamomile tea bags in it. Then place your face above the steaming pot of chamomile tea. A bath in water mixed with chamomile tea works too.
Reducing Dark Circles Around Eyes
Chamomile tea has been found to help relieve eye fatigue and dark circles. A simple remedy is to dip 2 chamomile tea bags in warm water. After 5 minutes, remove the tea bags from the water and let them cool to room temperature. Then place them on your eyes at night as a compress. 
What are the Side Effects of Chamomile?
As with all herbal products, moderation is the key to avoiding adverse reactions. Some of the potential side effects of chamomile include drowsiness, so use it with caution if you are driving or operating machinery. High doses of chamomile can also cause vomiting and/or skin reactions in some individuals. If you are allergic to ragweed pollen or have hayfever, you may have difficulty using chamomile.

Using chamomile during pregnancy is not recommended, since it is considered to be an abortifacient (a substance that induces abortion). Chamomile is also not recommended if you are currently taking blood thinners, since chamomile contains a substance called coumarin (which is also a blood thinner).

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The Charm of Home said...

Great post. I have some seed I need to plant!

GranthamLynn said...

Great information. Thanks for sharing.

daisy g said...

What a cheery bloom! I think I need to add some fragrant plants to the garden.