Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Benefits of German Chamomile

German Chamomile is a hardy perennial herb that has escaped its native home in western Europe to grow wild across the US fields and roadsides. It has lacy, delicate leaves with white and yellow flowers at the end of the stems. Like many herbs it has a long history in herbal medicine and chamomile is most commonly used for sleep troubles and helping other plants in the garden. The white flowers bloom from May to October and it is easy to grow in a herb garden as the plant is fairly hardy. It makes a great container plant as well.

The part most commonly used for medicinal purposes are the dried flowers along with chamomiles pleasant apple scent that makes it good for aromatic purposes, too. Besides its medicinal properties it is a good source of such nutrients like vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron. Conditions it may be helpful for are sleep troubles, teeth, anti-inflammatory, upset stomach, nerve troubles, and some menstrual problems. Chamomile's historical use goes back to ancient Eygptians who associated it with their sun god. In the middle ages it was used as a love potion. The essential oil of chamomile has the msot pleasant fragrance and is great for relaxation purposes. The polysaccharides cotained in the oil can be useful for immune stimulation while the bitter glycosides are good for digestion.

Chamomile is a very popular herb as it can be found in teas throughout most stores and is seen growing in nurseries and gardens everywhere. It is a very versatile herb thats generally safe to use though allergic reactions may be a problem for some people. And anyone taking blood thinners should avoid the herb, too. But even if your not using it for medicinal purposes its still a joy to grow in the garden or container due to its hardiness and versatility. Chamomile is a great companion for ill plants or such plants as onions and cabbages. It also does well with such culinary herbs as chives and parsley.

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