GERMAN CHAMOMILE (Matricaria recutita) is a heirloom botanical native to Europe, Africa and Asia. Wonderful fruity fragrance and pretty daisy like flowers born on graceful 12-20" high plants. A must for any garden. Pluck the flowers at their peak and dry for a flavorful tea. The drying enhances the sweet apple fragrance -- So much better than the pale imitation you find at the store. Annual except in zones 3-4 where it is a perennial. Having said that, I threw some of these seeds into the garden last year and gave up on them. This February I checked and was happily surprised to see them germinating handily! So they can be slow to germinate, and may benefit from cold stratification in certain zones (I am 7b). 100 seeds.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Chamomile was the only medicine my Italian grandmother took all her long life. It has been studied extensively and shown to have wonderful medicinal properties, and safe (unless you have an allergy to it). Teas made from its flowers aid digestion. Several university studies suggest chamomile has anti-bacterial effects and may boost the immune system. It is also a known anti-spasmodic so it is great for muscle cramps of any kind.
DYERS: Provides a yellow color.
GROWING TIPS: Light dependant germinator so easiest to keep moist without soil cover in an indoor sow with bottom moisture, clear cover and grow light. Transplant out in Spring. Prefers full sun or slight shade and well-drained soil.
DRYING FOR TEA AND OTHER USES: When we gather herbs for fresh use, we pick early in the morning, when still kissed by dew. But when we gather herbs for drying, we are going to wait until the sun has dried the dew, so that we do not get mildew forming when we dry. For tea, pluck the small flower heads when in full flower, before they go to seed. Spread into a single layer on clean paper towels or brown paper to dry. When completely dry, store in airtight canisters.