We started growing Camomile here on the Farm in 2016. It is still a relatively new crop for us but it thrives on the free draining soils here in the Cotswolds.
Camomile, also spelled chamomile, is part of the Daisy family (Compositae) with its distinctive white and yellow flowers.
We grow 2 different types.
English or Roman Camomile (Anthemis nobilis) is a perennial plant used for lawns and herbal medicine.
German Camomile (Matricaria recutita) is an annual plant also used for herbal medicine
Its name comes via French and Latin, from Greek khamaimēlon meaning earth apple, due to the apple like scent of its flowers.
The first recorded uses of Camomile were in ancient Egypt where it was used to treat fever. Crushed flowers were rubbed on the skin as a cosmetic, and its oil was also used in embalming deceased pharaohs.
Throughout history camomile has been used to treat a variety of ailments. In medieval times camomile was thought to be almost a cure all.
Although best known for treating insomnia and relieving stress, it has also been used to treat skin problems, sore throat as well as temporary relief from asthma. It can also help relieve stomach ache, cramp and intestinal bloating.
The most common way of enjoying camomile’s benefits is in tea, especially just before bedtime. Camomile soaps, moisturisers and room fragrances are also popular ways to enjoy its properties.
Camomile is a fairly easy crop to establish and grow. German camomile can be grown from seed planted in the Spring or Autumn.
English Camomile is better grown from cuttings or plugs. Once established, camomile will spread quickly and act as a natural barrier to most weeds.
Our camomile is harvested in the late summer when the fluffy white flowers are at their peak.
The crop is mown and allowed to dry for a day. It is harvested using a forager which gently lifts the crop before chopping it into short lengths and blowing it into the following trailer. The camomile is steam distilled inside the trailers in the same way as lavender.
Once distilled the sky blue oil is collected, cleaned and is ready for use.