9 Unexpected Things to Do With Chamomile
How do I love chamomile? Let me count the ways.....
Is German or Roman Chamomile Better?
Which chamomile to use? Both are equally effective. German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is the annual version and gets quite tall and delicate. It will produce flowers for you from early summer through frost so you will have plenty to play with. Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is the perennial version and tends to be more of a robust ground cover. Ever heard of a literal chamomile bed? A flower bed you lie down on for aromatherapy? That's all Roman chamomile. If that's what you're after, the perennial family member is best. Just don't look for it to give you a lot of blossoms to use in the following ideas.
What Can I Make With Chamomile?
Chamomile tea is the perfect remedy for dry or irritated eyes. I see so many people talking about “eye floaters” these days. How many of us take the time to wash their eyes at the end of the day? I was surely neglecting this and so after weeding in the garden all day, and flipping all manner of pollen and dirt into my eyes, I began to add chamomile tea to my nightly ritual. The tea must be cooled completely and then it is simply splashed onto the face and into the eyes. You can get more targeted with the application here and use and eye dropper or eye cup for infections, pink eye, scratches or computer eye strain.
Spray some chamomile tea on your compost pile to add nutrition and speed the breakdown of your garden waste. This flower is a staple in biodynamic farming and gardening practices where composting is a key method to increase soil health. You will find chamomile as a remedy for many common plant problems, whether you are adding it to the soil, the compost or it’s sprayed directly on the plant itself.
Chamomile tea makes a great garden spray. It is safe for all your leafy vegetables and a boost for your flower bed. Why is it helpful? The compounds found in chamomile have been used to prevent many common plant diseases and fungal infections. Spraying it will increase overall plant health.
Seed Starter Aide
Chamomile tea is mildly fungicidal. It can be helpful when you are starting seeds to spray your trays with chamomile tea to prevent what is commonly called “damping off”. Damping off is the saddest thing to have happen after you’ve put so much time an energy into your new plants. Just as they are beginning to get their leaves and really get growing your seedlings shrivel and rot. I make a pot of chamomile tea fresh each day and keep it in a spritzer bottle for the greenhouse watering chores.
Perhaps dye isn’t exactly the right terminology here. Maybe brightener is the better way to say it. Chamomile tea added to homemade shampoo or conditioner can bring out blond highlights, lighten and brighten hair.
Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory plant and is a really nice choice to help calm any redness in your face. This is especially helpful during the teenage acne years! A chilled cup of chamomile tea at the end of the day before bed is very refreshing! You can also use the cooled tea on a wash cloth (or tea bags) over puffy eyes or dark circles to start the day looking refreshed.
There are many natural options to soothe a sunburn and chamomile is one of my favorites. Cool tea sponged onto areas that are sore and inflamed will quickly take away the pain.
Haven’t you ever just picked a chamomile flower and eaten it? My kids were always sure to eat a few while we picked when they were younger, but I bring in a handful to decorate salads or desserts. Chamomile is nutritious and delicious, providing us with a decent source of potassium and vitamin A.
If you have a container to burn incense and a handful of dried chamomile you’ve got the makings of a great smelling outdoor centerpiece. Citronella may be more traditional, but if you’re like me you don’t love the smell. When I’m entertaining outside during the summer I place my incense burner in the center of the table (you can also use a small heatproof bow)l. Place a charcoal disc in the bowl and get it lit. Throughout the evening, as long as your charcoal stays hot you can toss bits of chamomile into the bowl to keep the mosquitos away.