Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Chamomile

We enjoyed a long walk yesterday and returned home with a bag of wild chamomile petals to dry for tea. We love chamomile tea, with its sweet apple smell, its one of the most beneficial herbal teas. Chamomile tea has been used for centuries and is said to reduce stress and induce sleep, help skin conditions, heal mouth ulcers, aid in digestive problems and it can even be added to your bath water to provide a beautiful aroma.

Our petals are now drying indoors after being washed in a colander to remove any insects and soil. The petals will be turned daily to assist drying and avoid mould. Once dried we will store the dried chamomile in a sterilised jar and use it within six months (if it lasts that long).

The tea is easy to make and involves steeping two teaspoons of  dried chamomile in boiling water for 3-4 minutes and straining. If you prefer your tea sweet simply add a little honey to taste.

We have planted a patch of chamomile in our herb garden and although it is considered an invasive weed by some, as it self seeds readily, the more it spreads the better. It is also a beneficial plant for organic gardeners as it attracts bees to your garden. If grown near cabbages and onions it is said to repel cabbage and onion fly and can be used as an organic spray to deter cucumber pests. Sow some seed in an area which enjoys full sun and grow your own delicious herbal tea. Chamomile needs very little care, as a proverb reveals which says, "like a chamomile bed, the more it is trodden the more it will spread".

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