Welcome back to our series on Growing your own healing herbs!
In the last entry we talked about growing specific herbs like Peppermint & Lavender in garden planters. We covered everything from water, fertilizer, plant selection and of course pottery selection. In this entry we will talk about Chamomile. A very popular choice.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) The quintessential cup of herbal tea, chamomile can soothe an upset stomach as well as calm jittery nerves.
It is an annual that can easily be started from seed or a nursery transplant. Because of it's burst green shoots that are topped with white & yellow dainty flowers, it makes a love hanging planter for your home or patio areas.
Chamomile flowers prolifically so check the plant every other day and pick the flowers as soon as they open fully, if you want to harvest the leaves for tea. Otherwise enjoy their beauty! Cut the stem above a leaf node where a leaf meets the stem, then cut the flower head off the stem. Use the flowers fresh, or place on a drying rack out in the sun. Toss them a couple of times everyday until they are crispy dry, generally for one to two weeks. Store them in a glass jar away from heat and light and keep for up to a year.
To alleviate stress or soothe a stomach, try a simple tea. It's also delicious combined with lemon balm and a bit of peppermints. You can make tea with fresh or dried herbs. Pour boiling water over the herbs in a teapot or mug. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain and enjoy. Keeps for 1 day in the refrigerator.