Roman Chamomile Seed
Grow Roman Chamomile in Your Garden and Be Part of a Long Herbal History!
Also Known As:
Camomile, Ground Apple, English Chamomile, Garden Chamomile, Low Chamomile and Whig Plant
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Southern Europe and the Mediterranean Region
Roman Chamomile thrives in light dry soil with a pH of 7.0. It can be kept mowed for paths and herbal lawns to make a wonderful sweet smelling mat.
Chamomile is one of the best known of all herbs and has been in continuous use since the days of the Egyptians until today when it is used in many medicinal remedies and as an aromatic ground cover. Chamomile gets its name from the Greek words ‘chamai’ meaning ‘on the ground’ and ‘mēlon’ meaning ‘apple’, referring to its deliciously sweet and distinctly apple-like fragrance that is present in all parts of the plant.
The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) prescribed baths and poultices of chamomile to relieve headaches and disorders of the kidneys, liver, and bladder.
Throughout German history Chamomile has been used for relieving digestive problems, promoting menstruation and treating menstrual cramps. It was used similarly in ancient Ayurvedic medicine in India.
In the 17th century, English botanist and herbalist Nicholas Culpeper recommended chamomile for fevers, aches, pains, kidney stones, digestive problems and to “bring down women’s courses” (promote menstruation.) The 19th century American Eclectic physicians used chamomile poultices to quicken the healing of wounds and prevent gangrene. They prescribed infusions for digestive problems, malaria, typhus, menstrual cramps, and for birth related problems: to quiet fetal kicking, stop premature labor, relieve sore breasts and nipples, suppress milk production, and relieve colic.
The Egyptians held chamomile in the highest esteem and dedicated it to their gods. It was used to treat fevers, especially malaria.
There has been an ongoing debate over which chamomile is “the” chamomile. German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is an annual that grows up to 24” tall and was considered by the German people to be “the true” chamomile. Roman Chamomile, on the other hand, was favored by the Roman and English people. Both have medicinal properties, the familiar apple scent, and the white daisy-like flowers. Both Roman and German Chamomile were used for other purposes as well, such as for strewing herbs in the Medieval days in England to sweeten the air in homes and castles. They have also been used to flavor sherry in Spain and as a well known rinse to lighten hair.
Many recent studies have backed chamomiles reputation as an aid to digestion. Chemical constituents have a relaxing effect on the smooth muscle lining the digestive tract making it an antispasmodic. It is gentle enough that it is often suggested for children with upset stomachs or colic in babies. It is also beneficial as an herbal tea after eating a heavy meal.
Chamomile tea has mild sedative properties and is helpful in dealing with anxiety and insomnia caused by an overactive mind. It can also be used a mouthwash for inflammation caused by gingivitis or as a gargle for sore throats.
Externally, it can be used to speed the healing process for wounds and reduce swelling. As mentioned before, it is still used as a rinse to brighten blonde hair and give it a golden sheen.
Parts of the Plant Used:
The flowers: collect after the dew has dried. Dry on screens then store in an airtight container.
The whole plant: as a groundcover. It can be mowed to make an excellent aromatic mat.
Constituents: Volatile oil, mucilage, coumarin, flavanone glycosides
Actions: Anti-spasmodic, carmative, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiseptic
Infusion: Steep 2 teaspoons of dried flowers in one cup of boiling water. Let steep for 5-10 minutes. Use for stomach upset and to settle nerves and anxiety.
Mouth Wash or Gargle: Steep 2 tablespoons of dried flowers in one cup of boiling water. Let steep 30 minutes.
For Steam Bath to Aid Nasal Congestion: Boil ½ cup of dried flowers in 4 pints of water. Place your head over the pot and cover your head and shoulders with a towel and inhale the steam. Keep the pot covered with a lid until use to reduce the loss of volatile oils.
Hair Rinse: Infuse a cup of chamomile in 2 cups of boiling water and steep for 30 minutes. Shampoo and rinse your hair as normal then pour the warm chamomile infusion over your hair.