Matricaria recutita or German chamomile, also spelled camomile, is an annual plant of the sunflower family Asteraceae. Synonyms are: Chamomilla chamomilla, Chamomilla recutita (accepted name according to the Flora Europaea), Matricaria chamomilla, and Matricaria suaveolens.
It usually grows near populated areas all over Europe and temperate Asia. It is widely introduced in temperate North America and Australia. As the seeds need open soil to survive, it often grows near roads, around landfills and in cultivated fields as a weed.
Other names include blue chamomile, wild chamomile, Hungarian chamomile, and scented mayweed.
The flowers are borne in paniculate capitula. The white ray florets are furnished with a ligule, while the disc florets are yellow. The hollow receptacle is swollen and lacks scales. This property distinguished German Chamomile from Corn Chamomile (Anthemis arvensis), which has a receptacle with scales. The flowers have a strong, aromatic smell, and bloom in early to mid summer.
The word chamomile comes from Greek χαμαίμηλον (chamaimēlon), "earth-apple", from χαμαί (chamai), "on the ground" + μήλον (mēlon), "apple", so called because of the applelike scent of the plant. (Note: The "ch-" spelling is used especially in science and pharmacology.)
A 2006 review of the medical literature reported a number of beneficial effects of chamomile in in vitro and animal tests but added that more human clinical trials are needed before firm conclusions can be drawn. Chamomile has speeded wound healing in animals. It also showed some benefit in an animal model of diabetes. Very preliminary in-vitro results show potential against cancer. Potential risks include interference with warfarin and infant botulism in very young children.
Chamomile tea is also thought to be useful to suppress fungal growth, for example, misting it over seedlings may prevent damping off.
Chamomile is frequently an invasive species in agricultural fields. Farmers often must control chamomile's spread to maintain productivity of their fields.
While extremely rare, very large doses of Chamomile may cause nausea and vomiting. Even more rarely, rashes may occur.
Soil Type: German chamomile will tolerate many soils, but prefers a sandy, well-drained soil with a pH of 7.0-7.5 and lots of sun. Cultivation: Space plants 15-30 cm apart. Chamomile does not require large amounts of fertilizer but depending on soil tests, small amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium should be applied before planting.
The amounts of major nutrients that German chamomile needs for growing and reproduction are:
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