Pagès appreciates Chamomile for its sweet, floral flavour, ideal for decoction.
Chamomile, the flagship plant for herbal infusions
Origins of chamomile
Chamomile, Chrysanthemum parthenium, originates from the Near East. It quickly spread to Western Europe (in the Middle Ages), then to North America and Australia. Several "Chamomile" plants have been used in pharmacopoeias since ancient times. However, it is difficult to know the exact origins and history of Chamomile because the ancient texts mentioning the plant do not record its different botanical species.
Characteristics of chamomile
Name: Chrysanthemum parthenium (Great Chamomile), Chamomilla recutita (Chamomile Matricaria), Chamaemelum nobile (Roman Chamomile)
Species: Perennial plant
The various species of Chamomile belong to the Asteraceae family. A perennial plant, it is often grown in gardens for its appearance and pleasant smell. Once its leaves are crumpled, this plant gives off a very aromatic smell. There are now many species of Chamomile: Great Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, German Chamomile also called Chamomile Matricaria or Wild Chamomile, Stinking Chamomile, Brownish Chamomile, Dog Chamomile, Mahon's Chamomile, etc. Only three species are commonly used today: Great Chamomile, Roman Chamomile and Chamomile Matricaria.
Great Chamomile is characterized by its upright and branched stems. It has soft, pale green leaves, divided into many oblong segments, which are themselves incised. Its capitulas are composed of a heart of tube flowers and a crown of flowers in a tongue. Similar to small daisies, the capitulas are grouped into loose corymbs at the ends of the stems.
German Chamomile is a small annual plant 20 to 50 cm high. It is generally found on the edges of fields and roads in France. It is widely cultivated in Eastern Europe. Its upright, rowing stems carry leaves cut into filiform segments and white ray florets surrounding a conical heart of yellow tubular flowers.
Roman Chamomile is a small perennial plant, from 10 to 30 cm. It grows in sandy areas that are more or less humid in most of our French regions. It is native to Western Europe. Its stems have leaves deeply divided into short, narrow lobes, and capitulum of ray florets.
Uses of chamomile
Chamomile is used in many pharmaceutical preparations.
Its use is mostly therapeutic. Everyone knows this plant and we often hear herbal tea consumers say they drink it for relaxing moments. It is said that Chamomile, known as an ally of women, was previously used to cause menstruation and expel the placenta during childbirth.
Chamomile has also long been used as a remedy for fever. The English word for it is "feverfew". It is in Great Britain that its specific action against migraine is highlighted, where it has been widely used for this purpose since 1980.
Chamomile can also be used externally against small inflammation of the eyelids. Simply soak a warm Chamomile infusion compression and place it on your eyes for a few minutes. This remedy can also be applied to other parts of the body to heal sensitive skin.
Finally, Chamomile is used in cosmetics for the shine of blond hair. It is recommended to boil 70 grams of Chamomile flowers in one litre of water and use it as rinsing water after shampooing.
Benefits of chamomile
Chamomile contains more than a hundred components. Chamomile is known to treat digestive disorders, skin irritations and sore throats.
The most famous benefit of Chamomile remains its soothing capacity. It is used to promote sleep and relaxation.