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German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

The german chamomile has been growing as a cultural companion near settlements, for example, along the edges of fields and on fallow land, since the younger Stone Age. Early on, it also found a place in farm and monastery gardens as one of the most important medicinal herbs. The entire plant exudes the typical scent of chamomile, its leaves are multipinnate and feathery in appearance. From May to September, the flowers appear with a white corona and a yellow center, which becomes more and more bulging as the flowering period increases.

Origin and cultivation

Southern and Eastern Europe were the original distribution area of chamomile, today it can be found in almost all of Europe and in the western part of Asia; it has also been naturalized in North America and Australia. The most important countries where this annual plant is cultivated are Argentina and Egypt; in Germany, it accounts for the largest share of the approximately 75 medicinal plant species that are commercially cultivated in this country. Depending on location and weather, the quality of the harvest varies greatly, and only a small proportion meets the standard required for sale in pharmacies.


When a medicinal plant of the year was to be presented for the first time in 1987, chamomile was chosen. And rightly so, because it is a real all-rounder: the essential oil contained in the flower heads not only has an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect, but also has antispasmodic, calming and muscle-relaxing properties. Real chamomile is even used for anxiety disorders. The chamomile unfolds its healing effect through the essential oil extracted from the flowers, which is colored deep blue by the contained chamazulene.

Use of chamomile

Chamomile teaChamomile tea
  • The soothing and slightly antibacterial effect of chamomile is used in creams for inflammation-prone or stressed skin. Its rather drying effect supports the relief of acne
  • Chamomile vapors help with nasal congestion and impure skin. For inhalation, bend over a bowl of hot chamomile tea until after about ten minutes the water has cooled. A towel placed over the head ensures that the steam does not escape too quickly
  • Taken as a tea, chamomile has an antibacterial effect on the mouth and throat, helping to heal open sores and gum inflammation. It also relieves abdominal cramps, flatulence and bloating
  • Blonde hair becomes shiny with chamomile.

A friend of Heinrich von Kleist, Sophie von Haza, once jokingly complained to him that poets sing about all kinds of flowers, except chamomile, which is so healing. Kleist immediately did her the favor:

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