Chamomile Flowers, German Whole Organic 1oz
Flavorful, comforting, gentle, traditional chamomile tea is made with German chamomile flowers. A versatile herb, chamomile is also an ingredient in shampoos and conditioners for light colored hair, in skin care creams and lotions, and in relaxing bath blends.
Botanical name: Matricaria recutita L.
Botanical Family: Asteraceae
Common name: German chamomile
Synonyms: Hungarian chamomile, true chamomile, manzanilla (Spanish), Matricaria chamomilla, Chamomilla recutita, wild chamomile
The Plant: German chamomile, a native of Europe and western Asia, is an annual that reseeds prolifically. This no doubt contributed to its current distribution across Europe, Asia, North and South America, and even Australia.
Chamomile grows best in well-drained soil in a sunny location. The two- to three-foot tall plant has feathery leaves, and the flowers are daisy-like, with white petals and yellow centers.
In hot climates such as Egypt (where a good percentage of the world’s chamomile is produced), it’s a winter crop. In eastern Europe, another major chamomile-production area, chamomile is a summer crop.
Chamomile flowers are harvested as the flowers open, generally by hand or, in Egypt, with a tool called a chamomile rake. The flowers bloom over a several months and are picked every seven to ten days. In Eastern Europe, there are chamomile harvesting machines, and a field is harvested just two or three times.
The flowers must be taken to the drying area soon after picking or they start to heat up and ferment. They are dried in the shade or in commercial dryers.
Constituents of Note: The essential oil, present at 0.3 to 1.9%, is the most important constituent in chamomile and is valued in aromatherapy oil. Key constituents of the oil include chamazulene, alpha-bisabolol, bisabolol oxides A and B and bisabolene. The chamazulene develops during steam distillation, giving the essential oil its characteristic blue color, but it is not present in flowers.
German chamomile flowers also contain flavonoids (apigenin, apigetrin, querciten), coumarins, proazulenes, triterpene alcohols, sterols, sesquiterpenes, plant acids and tannins.
Quality: German chamomile flowers have a strong, aromatic, mildly sweet aroma and a fruit-floral, slightly bitter flavor.
The flowers have large, yellow, cone-shaped, hollow centers. The cream- or ivory-colored petals are attached around the rim of the yellow cone and hang down from it after drying. Many become detached in handling.
Regulatory Status: GRAS (Title 21 182.10 and 182.20) as a spice, natural flavoring, and seasoning, Dietary Supplement
Did you know? In the children’s story Peter Rabbit, Peter’s mother gives him chamomile tea (after a proper scolding) before sending him to bed after his return from Mr. McGregor’s farm. No doubt the chamomile tea helped to soothe both Peter’s nerves (after his harrowing escape) and his tummy (after feasting on the farmer’s produce).