So we went to estes park two weekends ago to get out of the heat and go for a hike. As things turned out our car had some issues (just the fuel injector thankfully) and we spent some time resolving that issue instead of hiking. So since we were already there we decided to go for a walk around the lake. We took the short 3.8 mile path and it was a nice, beautiful, relaxing walk.
I have started learning to identify herbs out in the wild and don’t usually pick anything unless I know exactly what it is. I got a handy dandy little chart last week from borders to help me better identify native Colorado plants. This plant though I can identify pretty much anywhere. Chamomile.
We all know chamomile, or at least should. It is a wonderful calming, cooling herb. People use it to sleep, soothe and relax, reduce redness and inflamation, help resolve bloating, stomach pain and nausia. Other benefits include soothing colds, helping wounds or abscesses heal, reducing gum inflammation, treating skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, and treating ulcerative colitis. Chamomile is also gentle enough to be taken to treat children’s maladies like chicken pox, diaper rash, and colic. Generally, chamomile is taken as soon as symptoms manifest themselves.
So as we were starting along the lake path I see large patches of Chamomile growing along the walking path. I am not sure if you know this, because I sure didn’t until this spring, but chamomile is a weed. It will grow anywhere and it loves disturbed soil. Our back yard in our house in Spokane is full of the stuff instead of grass. I promise you that just happened and had nothing to do with anything we might have done!
So lots of chamomile all down the path and I decide to pick some. I end up getting a good 4 handfuls of full chamomile plants before we were done with our walk and I hardly made a dent in the chamomile patches.
As you may know one of the tenants in wild crafting is you leave enough of the plant to leave seeds for the next generation to grow next year. We avoid exhausting our resources now so that they are available for us again next season. I know a novel concept but it seems to work when our greedy human brains don’t get in the way.
So why, you ask, did I pick the whole chamomile plant instead of just the flowers for the tea? I picked the whole plant so that I could dry the plant and get the flowers for the tea, then I will make an oil infusion with the rest of the plant for use in skin care recipes. I will also probably go back, get some more fresh plants and make a quarter bottle of vodka and quarter bottle of vinegar (separately not together) worth of chamomile tincture for use later.
What do you like to use chamomile for?