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Matricaria recutita - L.                
Common Name German Camomile
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards Allergic reactions (tongue thickening, tightness in the throat,swelling of the lips, throat and eyes, itching over the body) have been reported with German chamomile but are infrequent. Patients with severe allergic responses to ragweed (ragwort) should be warned about the possible cross-sensitivity to chamomile and other members of the Asteraceae/Compositae family (e.g. echinacea, feverfew, milk thistle).
Habitats Sandy or loamy arable soils in Britain[13, 17]. Also found on saline steppes in Europe[50].
Range Europe, including Britain, east to W. Asia and the Himalayas.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

UPDATE 23/2/12: Matricaria recutita L. is a synonym of Matricaria chamomilla L.

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Matricaria recutita is a ANNUAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Synonyms Matricaria chamomilla. Auct. Chamomilla recutita. (L.)Rauschert.
Matricaria recutita German Camomile

Matricaria recutita German Camomile
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

The young sprigs are used as a seasoning[15]. The dried flowers are used to make herb teas[21, 37]. It is aromatic but with a very bitter flavour[4].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anodyne;  Antiinflammatory;  Antiseptic;  Antispasmodic;  Carminative;  Cholagogue;  Diaphoretic;  Homeopathy;  Nervine;  Stomachic;  Tonic;  

German camomile is a well known herbal remedy and is much used in the West. In particular it is an excellent herb for treating various digestive disorders, nervous tension and irritability and is also used externally to treat skin problems[254]. An infusion of the flowers is taken internally as an anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, sedative, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator[7, 218, 238]. An infusion is particularly useful as a stomachic, nervine and sedative for young children, especially when they are teething[238]. It is also used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, peptic ulcers and hiatus hernia[254]. In large doses, or when taken regularly for several times each day, the tea can be emetic[218] and can also cause the symptoms it is intended to cure[232]. The flowers are also used externally to treat wounds, sunburn, burns, haemorrhoids, mastitis and leg ulcers[238]. The flowers are harvested when fully open and are dried for later use[254]. The flowers contain various volatile oils including proazulenes[254]. Upon steam distillation these proazulenes produce chamazulene, this is remarkably anti-allergenic and is useful in the treatment of asthma and hay fever[254]. The flowers are sometimes added to cosmetics as an anti-allergenic agent[238]. The whole plant, harvested when in flower, is used to make a homeopathic remedy[232]. It is especially suited to teething children and those who have been in a highly emotional state over a long period of time[232]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Camomile for coughs and bronchitis, fevers and colds, inflammations of the skin, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, tendency to infection - improve immunity, wounds and burns (see [302] for critics of commission E).
Other Uses
Dye;  Essential;  Hair;  Liquid feed;  Repellent;  Strewing.

An infusion of the flowers is used as a hair shampoo, especially for fair hair[14, 20, 168]. It is also used as a liquid feed and general plant tonic, effective against a number of plant diseases[14, 18, 20]. The flowers are also an ingredient of 'Quick Return' herbal compost activator[32]. The whole plant was formerly used as a strewing herb[4, 168]. The whole plant is insect repellent[14, 20]. An essential oil from the whole plant is used as a flavouring and in perfumery[46]. Yellow to gold dyes are obtained from the flowers[168].
Cultivation details                                         
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position[200]. It prefers neutral to slightly acid conditions and succeeds in poor soils[238]. It usually self-sows freely when well-sited[K]. Chamomile has a long history as a gentle and effective folk medicine for a wide variety of disorders, being especially effective and safe for children[K]. There is some confusion between this plant and Chamaemelum nobile as to which is the genuine camomile. This species is said to be more bitter and inferior to Chamaemelum nobile in some reports[200] and to be more active medicinally in other reports[9, 238]. Both have similar properties and can probably be used interchangeably[K]. The whole plant has a pungent aroma[245].
Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ[238]. Germination should take place within 3 weeks.
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Expert comment                                         
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[7]Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
[9]Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
[13]Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
[14]Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs.
A good herbal.
[15]Bryan. J. and Castle. C. Edible Ornamental Garden.
A small book with interesting ideas for edible plants in the ornamental garden.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[18]Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants.
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[32]Bruce. M. E. Commonsense Compost Making.
Excellent little booklet dealing with how to make compost by using herbs to activate the heap. Gives full details of the herbs that are used.
[37]Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant.
Excellent general but extensive guide to gardening practices in the 19th century. A very good section on fruits and vegetables with many little known species.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[50]? Flora Europaea
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
[168]Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[232]Castro. M. The Complete Homeopathy Handbook.
A concise beginner's guide to the subject. Very readable.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[245]Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
[301]Karalliedde. L. and Gawarammana. I. Traditional Herbal Medicines
A guide to the safer use of herbal medicines.
[302]From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Commission E

Readers comment                                         
Elizabeth H.
denise hall Wed Jul 18 2007
do you supply dried camomile flower heads for the pupose of well dressing in the High Peak area of derbyshire. We are looking for a supplier as we have use all our if o pleas e mail me , can you also send a small sample and a price bearing in mid that we ca us out of date head as the are to for human consumption and we try to run on a tight buget. thanking you
Elizabeth H.
nadine Tue Feb 3 2009
is this plant a coke substatuite
Herbcyclopedia H.
Apr 26 2011 12:00AM
There are two types of Chamomile, German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), but if you´re looking for the best one go for Matricaria. Additionally it contains apigenin, a well known tumour suppressor.
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Subject : Matricaria recutita  

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