Fact sheet: Chamomile
German chamomile, also spelled camomile, is an annual plant of the composite family Asteraceae. It usually grows near populated areas all over Europe and temperate Asia. It is widely introduced in temperate North America and Australia. As the seeds need open soil to survive, it often grows near roads, around landfills and in cultivated fields as a weed.
German chamomile is used medicinally to treat sore stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a gentle sleep aid. It is also used as a mild laxative and is anti-inflammatory and bactericidal. It can be taken as a herbal tea, two teaspoons of dried flower per cup of tea, which should be steeped for ten to fifteen minutes while covered to avoid evaporation of the volatile oils. For a sore stomach, some recommend taking a cup every morning without food for two to three months. A 2006 review of the medical literature reported a number of beneficial effects for chamomile in in vitro and animal tests, but added that more human clinical trials are needed before firm conclusions can be drawn. Chamomile is also used cosmetically, primarily to make a rinse for blonde hair, and as a yellow dye for fabrics.
Chamomile is sometimes known as “the plant doctor”, because it is thought to help the growth and health of many other plants, especially ones that produce essential oils. It is thought to increase production of those oils, making certain herbs, like mints (spearmint, sage, oregano) and basil stronger in scent and flavor.
Planted in Nassau County Extension Demonstration Garden