Wild chamomile (aka Pineapple Weed) is a herb that grows abundantly around the northern hemisphere. The little yellow bulbs pop up late spring into the late summer. It grows pretty much anywhere, but especially loves areas where the ground was disturbed recently, or is gravelly in nature. We have a large patch growing where are chickens were last year and boarding our driveway.
When eaten fresh off the plant, it has a mild citrus taste to it. It’s really quite delicious in salads. People have also been known to use it in breads and muffins. The most common uses for chamomile are eating fresh or making it into a tea and drinking it. It can also be made into a salve.
Benefits of ingesting chamomile are:
Calms stomach spasms caused by gastritis and colitis
Helps rid-of or prevent diarrhea and other intestinal related issues
Helps with liver problems
Encourages sweating, which helps with lowering a fever
Relieves headache pain
Can be beneficial for babies with colic
Calms or prevents menstruation pains
External uses are:
Calms red and inflamed skin when made into a salve
Liquid feed and plant tonic effective against plant diseases when made into compost tea Can also be transplanted into your garden next to sickly looking plants as a companion plant.
You can add Chamomile to your shampoo and/or conditioner. It will help strengthen your roots and add a silky feel and look to your hair.
Stuffy nose: breathe in the steam from boiling Chamomile in water to clear out your sinus system.
The whole above ground plant can be harvested, and used fresh or dry. We typically just harvest and dry the flowers and leaves that come attached to the flowers to keep on hand for tea making.
Pretty simply, you just pull or cut off the flowers. Make sure to avoid flowers that look past their prime- you want bright yellow buds. Once they start turning brown or losing their little yellow bits, they are undesirable. It can be a bit time consuming and hard on the back, but since they grow pretty densely, you can harvest quite a bit if you’ve set your mind to it. Also, when foraging any goodies from the wild, be sure to pick from places that haven’t been sprayed with nasty chemicals- we don’t treat our yard with anything because of our food value beliefs, so it’s easy for us to find a bunch of wild edibles without this worry.
Then we put them on a drying rack for a few days until all the moisture has evaporated.
We store our dried flowers and leaves in glass containers for when we want to use them.
Until next time, have a wicked good day!