Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wild Edibles: Chamomile

You may have seen this wild flower growing along the road side and thought it was nothing more than a noxious weed. I wasn't aware of its presence until a friend pointed it out to me last fall. To many though, wild chamomile - also known as pineapple weed - is as good as (and arguably better than) its cultivated relative, German chamomile. 

I've tried to do some research online about wild chamomile, and there appears to be conflicting information about what it looks like. Many sites describe it as having white petals, however, to the best of my knowledge, this is not the case - there are no petals at all. If you're considering foraging for wild chamomile, the following video will help you identify it.


Foraging

As the video mentions, the best place to find wild chamomile is along roadsides or wherever there is good drainage and a rocky or gravelly surface. We need not go farther than our back alley to find it growing everywhere. I've also seen it growing in sidewalk cracks and against poured driveways. As with any wild edible, be sure to choose flower buds that have not come into contact with any chemical sprays. If you're unsure as to whether or not you've got the correct plant, give it a sniff. It should have the distinct scent of chamomile. Once your recognize it, you will start noticing it everywhere.

Health Benefits

Just like the cultivated variety, wild chamomile is full of health benefits. As a nerve tonic, it helps reduce stress and improves sleeplessness. As an anti-inflammatory, it can be used as a compress to relieve pink eye or other skin irritations, such as eczema. It can help with digestive distress, stomach aches, colic, gas and menstrual cramps. Rubbing the blossoms on your skin has also been said to be an effective insect repellent. 


The Perfect Cuppa

To brew the perfect cup of tea, add 2 teaspoons of flowers to one cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 5-10 minutes. Nothing tastes better than wild chamomile tea with a little dollop of honey. Happy foraging! 

Natural Pest Control

Wild chamomile extract will deter cut worms in your garden. Apparently, cut worms would rather starve than eat plants treated with wild chamomile. I'm currently testing this one out.

Sources:
http://www.altnature.com/gallery/chamomile.htm 
http://www.healing-from-home-remedies.com/pineapple-weed-is-a-wild-chamomile.html
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Modern-Homesteading/1987-03-01/Natural-Pest-Control.aspx

Linked to Garden Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Tea Party Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Hearth & Soul, Real Food Wednesdays, WFMW, What's Cooking Wednesday, Frugal Food, Pennywise Platter, Simple Lives Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Preparedness Challenge, Weekend Gourmet Carnival, Monday Mania, Barn Hop, Mangia Mondays,

11 comments:

Trish - Sweetology101 said...

this is absolutely fabulous! You are a really inspiring person. I wish I had the TIME to grow my own food and be more conscience of my choices and what goes into my family. wow! I am so glad you linked this up.

Pam said...

I would have never known what that was!

Marjie said...

I've seen a million of those plants around, and never knew what it was! Glad I followed your link from Pam's blog!

Melynda said...

I had heard that called Pineapple plant before, but did not know it was Camomile, thanks.

Sunshine And Smile said...

Excellent things I learned from you post today. Thanks for sharing this with hearth and soul hop :)
www.sunshineandsmile.com

Mona said...

We have a ton of wild chamomile at our house. I didn't know what it was until this year. I wasn't sure it was edible so I am glad I found your post.

vflytrap said...

Were you able to determine if the extract (I assume you mean tea, sprayed on plants?) deterred cut worms?

sarah lee said...

Drinking chamomile tea soothes the nervous system so that you can sleep better. It has been used as a solution for insomnia for centuries. See the link below for more info.


#chamomile
www.ufgop.org

Jes said...

This is pineapple weed, not chamomile. They are different plants, entirely. Similar looking, but nit the same. The easiest way to tell them apart is that chamomile has white petals and pineapple weed has no petals. Also, pineapple weed smells like pineapple, chamomile doesn't. I think you didn't research this very well. There is a ton of info about both online from reliable sources.

Unknown said...

Pineapple weed is also known as wild chamomile.

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