I recently stumbled upon an awesome, free, easy-to-find, healthy herb growing all over western Montana practically right under my feet! Wild Chamomile (pronounced kam-ə-meel), also known as Pineapple Weed, is an annual herb that easily grows along fence lines, roadsides, and in sunny fields from Southern Canada to Northern U.S. to west Minnesota. Chamomile’s branched stems grow somewhat erect, round, hollow, and up to 20 inches tall. The leaves are finely divided and feathery. The flowers are daisy-like, only without the petals you’d find on other varieties of Chamomile (German & Yellow Chamomile).
Typically, Chamomile is served as a tea. I gather and use all the above-ground parts of the plant (or just the flowers) to make tea. Once picked, I rinse all the dirt off, then pour boiling water directly onto the plant to make my tea or dry it, then put the dried flowers/leaves into a press pot or tea bag to steep. I find that tea is always better with a bit of honey.
Another great way to ingest Chamomile is to add the flowers to a salad.
Now, here’s my favorite part… benefits to drinking or eating Chamomile!
- Mild Sedative
- Calms stomach spasms caused by gastritis and colitis
- Helps rid-of or prevent diarrhea and other intestinal related issues
- Helps with liver problems
- Encourages sweating, which helps with lowering a fever
- Relieves headache pain
- Can be beneficial for babies with colic
- Calms or prevents menstruation pains
- Calms red and inflamed skin
- Liquid feed and plant tonic effective against plant diseases
- You can add Chamomile to your shampoo and/or conditioner. It helps add a silky look to your hair while strengthening your roots.
- Dried flowers can be used as an insect repellent
- Stuffy nose: breathe in the steam from boiling Chamomile in water to clear out your sinus system.
Here’s a little gardener tip I learned recently: it is said that if you transplant Wild Chamomile into your garden it will help sickly plants!
Be sure to check out our video on identifying Wild Chamomile below and good luck on your own Chamomile hunt!