German Chamomile

German Chamomile is a flowering plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is native to many regions of the world such as Europe, North Africa, and Asia but can be found across the globe. This herbaceous plant features the green, feathery leaves along with small and attractive flowers characterized by white ray-like petals surrounding a bulged disc-shaped yellow center. The width of a petal is measured less than one inch, and flower’s receptacle lacks scales along with swollen and hollow appearance. The particular stems on which the flower grows are smooth, long, and slender which exudes a light green color. The plant has a maximum height of around 3 feet, and grow near/close to the ground.

The flower radiates a sweet fragrance similar to the apple. German and Roman chamomile are the two most used species of the chamomile which differs in the type of flower, leaves, available chemical compounds, root system, and sizes. In the ancient times, Egyptians discovered the healing properties of this herb and utilized it for several medicinal purposes. Due to its wonderful aroma/odor, German chamomile is used in manufacturing perfumes/scents as well as used in aromatherapy.

Scientific Name

Matricaria chamomilla

Distribution

German chamomile is commercially grown in many parts of the world like France, Spain, Greece, Germany, Hungary, and Italy. They are also found in the North African countries (such as Morocco, Ethiopia, and Egypt) and South African countries (Lesotho, Gauteng, Free State, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga provinces, and KwaZulu-Natal). Temperate areas of Asia like Japan, Turkey, North India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have an abundance of this herb. Regions like Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus which were the parts of former USSR are enriched with the species of chamomile too.

Other Names

  • Chamomilla recutita
  • Camomilla
  • Blue Chmomile
  • Chamomile
  • Wild Chamomile
  • Hungarian Chamomile
  • Matricaria Chamomilla
  • Manzanilla

Variety

  • Roman Chamomile

Nutritional Value

Nutrients Value (Per 100 g)
Dietary Fiber 40.3 g
Energy 1 Kcal
Total Fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 0.20 g
Protein 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Thiamin 0.010 mg
Folates 1 μg
Riboflavin 0.004 mg
Vitamin A 20 IU
Calcium 2 mg
Sodium 1 mg
Magnesium 1 mg
Zinc 0.04 mg
Potassium 9 mg
Iron 0.08 mg
Copper 0.015 mg
Manganese 0.044 mg
Carotene-ß 12 μg
Caffeine 1 mg

Health Benefits

  • Helps in the treatment of gingivitis (gum inflammation)
  • Assists in the cure of Abscesses and sore throats
  • Also treats Psoriasis, Acne, Anxiety, and Eczema
  • Provides relief from inflammation, Chest colds, and minor burns
  • Heals the wounds
  • Helps in easy and fast recovery from conditions like diaper rash, colic, and chickenpox
  • Aids in the cure of stomach ulcers
  • Acts as a sedative, therefore, soothes the nerves and relieves stress
  • Antispasmodic features possessed by this plant helps in reducing the muscle spasm
  • Have tissue regenerating qualities
  • Assists in relaxing intestinal muscles
  • Treats diarrhea, stomach cramps, gas, and indigestion as well as irritable bowel syndrome
  • Reduces swelling
  • Prevents the growth of bacteria, fungi, and viruses as it is antimicrobial in nature
  • Fights against menstrual cramps
  • Essential oil act as a necessary antidote to premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Holds anti-allergic, antibiotic and analgesic properties
  • Possesses carminative, hepatic, sedative and digestive features
  • Acts as a vasoconstrictor

Side Effects

  • Causes allergic reactions (anaphylaxis)
  • Can result in eye irritation
  • Hypersensitive reactions
  • Vomiting and nausea in case of overconsumption

Uses

  • Used to make ointments, capsules and essential oils
  • Utilized to prepare chamomile tea
  • Used to spread over seedlings to inhibit the dampness and fungal growth
  • Added in various cosmetic products
  • Used in the manufacturing of herb beers
  • Used in preparation of rinsing solution for blonde hair
  • One of the major component of aromatherapy
  • Its oil is used in treating sleep disorders and especially insomnia

During Pregnancy

The oil extracted from German chamomile is safe for expecting mothers or lactating women. However, one should consult any professional diet expert or doctor for precaution if consumption of chamomile tea or other products is suitable during pregnancy. Sometimes consumption or excessive intake can lead to miscarriage. Chamomile may also induce the condition of premature birth due to contraction of uterus stimulated by it. Therefore, one should avoid German chamomile or consume with the guidelines and surveillance of a doctor.

How to Prepare Chamomile Tea?

  • Take fresh or dried chamomile
  • Add into the water to make tea or use infusion process to prepare ice creams
  • You can also try various recipes prepared from German Chamomile

Recipes

  • Mad hatter cocktail
  • Tea
  • Honey and chamomile popsicles
  • Chamomile lollipop
  • Cupcakes
  • Chamomile lavender latte
  • German chamomile toast crunch
  • German chamomile palmer
  • Tea smoothie
  • German chamomile and pear-infused vodka
  • Muffins (Paleo)
  • Peach Chamomile pannacotta
  • Ice tea

Interesting Facts

  • Blooms from June to July
  • Strengthens the fragrance and flavor of other herbaceous plants such as oregano, basil, spearmint and sage
  • Flies are the prominent pollinator of its flowers
  • Earned its name from two Greek words “chamos” and “milos” which means “ground” and “apple” respectively. It got the name this way due to its growth close to the ground and aroma similar to apple
  • In ancient Egypt, German chamomile was used in the process of mummification
  • The medical and cosmetic industry has a high demand for oils and chemical compounds extracted from its flowers
  • The herb is used to make tea, lotion, tincture, drops, and capsules
  • Chamomile tea prepared at home may be applied for lighting the blonde hair
  • Beneficial plant for the garden as it facilitates the growth of nearby plants and even heals the sick plants
  • A perennial plant, therefore, has a lifespan of more than two years

Storage

  • Freezing: Take freshly plucked chamomile and wrap the flower heads in aluminum foil. Be careful that flowers don’t get squished and try to throw air out from the packet as much as possible. Then, place the foiled package in the freezer. Frozen Chamomile can survive for around six months with the same robustness.
  • Drying: Take a sheet of baking parchment, clean paper or screen mesh and spread the flowers in even/symmetrical manner. Leave them in a cool, ventilated and non-humid place for drying but away from the reach of direct sunlight. Depending upon the moisture content and size of the flowers they take time to dry. However, minimum days taken by them to get entirely dry are 3-4 days. The dried German chamomile then can be kept in an air-tight metal or glass container for up to a year by maintaining its original flavor.
  • Tea bags/Storage tins: The graded flowers can be dried and packed into tea bags/sachets as well as tiny storage tins after being processed. They may be added to some other components to manufacture different products. Infusion of the flower also results in storing the flavor.

References

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