August 24, 2017

Togas and Tea

Chamaemelum nobile - Roman chamomile

Janine Pineo Photo | Chamaemelum nobile – Roman chamomile growing in The Heirloom Garden of Maine in Center Montville

Common names often employ a place for its moniker. Chamaemelum nobile is no exception and, in fact, has two. Known as Roman chamomile, it also is called English chamomile. This herb is popular medicinally and very similar to German chamomile, or Matricaria recutita. Belonging to two different species, the two chamomiles are used to treat similar problems:  “to calm frayed nerves, to treat various stomach problems, to relieve muscle spasms, and to treat skin conditions and mild infections.” The plants’ qualities are not exactly the same, with Roman chamomile being used for “nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and gas. It is often used today to relieve anxiety. Used topically, this herb may also reduce inflammation from cuts or hemorrhoids. It is sometimes used to ease the discomfort from eczema and gingivitis (swollen gums).” Originally from northwestern Europe and Northern Ireland, Roman chamomile is considered a creeper, growing up to a foot in height. It is punctuated by the white flowers and yellow centers that resemble miniature daisies. The power is in the flower for Roman chamomile, with the blooms being used to create teas, ointments and extracts.

Photographed during Open Farm Day at The Heirloom Garden of Maine on July 22, 2012.