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.
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.
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.
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.
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,