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German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), also spelled Camomile, is an annual plant of the sunflower family Asteraceae. Synonyms are: Chamomilla chamomilla, Chamomilla recutita (accepted name according to the Flora Europaea), Matricaria chamomilla, and Matricaria suaveolens.
It usually grows near populated areas all over Europe and temperate Asia. It is widely introduced in temperate North America and Australia. As the seeds need open soil to survive, it often grows near roads, around landfills and in cultivated fields as a weed.
Other names include Wild Chamomile, Hungarian Chamomile, and Scented Mayweed.
The branched stem is erect and smooth and grows to a height of 15-60 cm. The long and narrow leaves are bipinnate or tripinnate.
The flowers are borne in paniculate capitula. The white ray florets are furnished with a ligule, while the disc florets are yellow. The hollow receptacle is swollen and lacks scales. This property distinguished German Chamomile from Corn Chamomile (Anthemis arvensis), which has a receptacle with scales. The flowers have a strong, aromatic smell, and bloom in early to mid summer.
Additional recommended knowledge
German Chamomile is used medicinally against sore stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a gentle sleep aid. It can be taken as a herbal tea, two teaspoons of dried flower per cup of tea. For a sore stomach, some recommend taking a cup every morning without food for two to three months. It is also used as a mouthwash against oral mucositis. It has acaricidal properties against certain mites, such as Psoroptes cuniculi. The primary active ingredient of the essential oil from German Chamomile is bisabolol.
Chamomile is also used cosmetically, primarily to make a rinse for blonde hair.
Chamomile is sometimes known as "the plant doctor", because it is thought to help the growth and health of many other plants, especially ones that produce essential oils. It is thought to increase production of those oils, making certain herbs, like mints (spearmint, sage, oregano) and basil taste stronger in scent and flavor.
Chamomile "tea" is also thought to be useful to suppress fungal growth, for example misting it over seedlings may prevent damping off.
Chamomile is frequently an invasive species in agricultural fields. Farmers often must control chamomile's spread to maintain productivity of their fields.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "German_Chamomile". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|