Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
Another must-have herb! Chamomile is a cheery plant that looks and smells beautiful. It makes a wonderful ground cover in gardens, producing a sweet scent when walked upon. Chamomile is a very well known herb that has been used by everyone from the Ancient Egyptians to modern day Peter Rabbit who was given chamomile tea before bed. To harvest this plant, gather the flowering tops just before they fully open.
Like many herbs, chamomile is multi-purpose:
- Externally, it can be used as a poultice or salve to heal burns, rashes and eczema.
- Safe for young children, it’s often the preferred herb for a wide range of common childhood complaints such as restlessness, colic, teething, whining, and fevers.
- Adults can also enjoy a cup of chamomile tea to soothe the nervous system, allaying stress and irritability, and thereby promoting calmness.
- Chamomile’s common genus name, Matricaria, insinuates its affinity for women and mothers. The tea can be drunk to bring on delayed menses, reduce uterine cramping, and relieve heartburn when pregnant.
Chamomile is easily prepared as a tea. To make it by the cup, steep
one teaspoon of dried chamomile for ten minutes. This makes a delicious
tasting tea. For a more medicinal brew you can steep it for 30 minutes.