SUPER PLANT FOR GARDENING AND HEALING
By Lucie Batten
Chamomile is a common name for the Asteraceae family, which include more than 23,600 species of herbs, shrubs and trees all around the world. They commonly look like daisy flowers. Chamomile means “earth flower” in Greek. The two most common types of chamomile are the German, and the Roman ones. The German one is the one used for medicinal purposes (because oils are more potent) and Roman for ornamental purposes looking nice in a garden bed or wildflower meadow.
The chamomile plant is very easy to grow. It needs water, sun to partial shade, a well-draining and sandy soil, and loads of moisture which creates a dense mat. They are also great because they are drought tolerant and can also grow in a relatively warm and dry environment.
GREAT COMPANION FOR A VEGETABLE GARDEN
Firstly, the chamomile has been named ‘the physician plant’, because it seems to support and heal many plants it is planted next to.
Chamomile has a strong smell, which prevents unwanted bugs from your vegetable garden. It also attracts pollinators through its flowers, and beneficial bugs for your neighbour plants. Furthermore, it is a fertilizer plant: its roots bring up potassium phosphorus and calcium. Chamomile is said to especially improve fruit trees, cabbage and onion crops.
Finally, it can also be a great and beautiful ornamental plant.
ALSO, A GREAT COMPANION FOR HUMANS
The most common way to use chamomile is to drink it in a tea, which has excellent calming properties.
But the plant also produces beneficial essential oils for humans: it has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, mild astringent and healing medicine. Particularly it is efficient in treating wounds, ulcers, eczema, gout, skin irritations, bruises, burns, canker sores, neuralgia, sciatica, rheumatic pain, hemorrhoids, and mastitis. In most recent years, it has been proven that chamomile can help curing certain types of cancer.
Chamomile flowers and seeds are perfectly safe to eat. You can eat them fresh or dried, in salads or teas. They are also very nice as a natural food flavouring.
For humans, chamomile can have several negative side effects, but most of the time these are mild symptoms and not very dangerous. The most common side effects are skin reactions (dermatitis) or allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). If you apply it very close to the eyes, you can get an eye irritation, and you can vomit when taken in large amounts. Overall, chamomile is a very natural and safe way to heal, despite a few possible side effects.