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Edible uses


The young sprigs are used as a seasoning[1]. The dried flowers are used to make herb teas[2][3]. It is aromatic but with a very bitter flavour[4].

Unknown part

Material uses

An infusion of the flowers is used as a hair shampoo, especially for fair hair[5][6][7]. It is also used as a liquid feed and general plant tonic, effective against a number of plant diseases[5][8][6]. The flowers are also an ingredient of 'Quick Return' herbal compost activator[9].

The whole plant was formerly used as a strewing herb[4][7]. The whole plant is insect repellent[5][6]. An essential oil from the whole plant is used as a flavouring and in perfumery[10].

Yellow to gold dyes are obtained from the flowers[7].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

German camomile is a well known herbal remedy and is much used in the West. In particular it is an excellent herb for treating various digestive disorders, nervous tension and irritability and is also used externally to treat skin problems[11].

An infusion of the flowers is taken internally as an anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, sedative, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator[12][13][14]. An infusion is particularly useful as a stomachic, nervine and sedative for young children, especially when they are teething[14]. It is also used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, peptic ulcers and hiatus hernia[11]. In large doses, or when taken regularly for several times each day, the tea can be emetic[13] and can also cause the symptoms it is intended to cure[15]. The flowers are also used externally to treat wounds, sunburn, burns, haemorrhoids, mastitis and leg ulcers[14]. The flowers are harvested when fully open and are dried for later use[11]. The flowers contain various volatile oils including proazulenes[11]. Upon steam distillation these proazulenes produce chamazulene, this is remarkably anti-allergenic and is useful in the treatment of asthma and hay fever[11]. The flowers are sometimes added to cosmetics as an anti-allergenic agent[14].

The whole plant, harvested when in flower, is used to make a homeopathic remedy[15]. It is especially suited to teething children and those who have been in a highly emotional state over a long period of time[15].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ[14]. Germination should take place within 3 weeks.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Matricaria recutita. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position[16]. It prefers neutral to slightly acid conditions and succeeds in poor soils[14]. It usually self-sows freely when well-sited[K].

Chamomile has a long history as a gentle and effective folk medicine for a wide variety of disorders, being especially effective and safe for children[K]. There is some confusion between this plant and Chamaemelum nobile as to which is the genuine camomile. This species is said to be more bitter and inferior to Chamaemelum nobile in some reports[16] and to be more active medicinally in other reports[17][14]. Both have similar properties and can probably be used interchangeably[K].

The whole plant has a pungent aroma[18].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Matricaria recutita. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Matricaria recutita.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Matricaria recutita
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
  • Unknown part (Condiment)
  • Unknown part (Tea)
Material uses
  • Unknown part (Dye)
  • Unknown part (Essential)
  • Unknown part (Hair care)
  • Unknown part (Liquid feed)
  • Unknown part (Repellent)
  • Unknown part (Strewing)
Medicinal uses
  • Unknown part (Anodyne)
  • Unknown part (Antiinflammatory)
  • Unknown part (Antiseptic)
  • Unknown part (Antispasmodic)
  • Unknown part (Carminative)
  • Unknown part (Cholagogue)
  • Unknown part (Diaphoretic)
  • Unknown part (Homeopathy)
  • Unknown part (Nervine)
  • Unknown part (Stomachic)
  • Unknown part (Tonic)
  • Unknown part (Vasodilator)
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Salinity
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? 1.01.1 Bryan. J. and Castle. C. Edible Ornamental Garden. Pitman Publishing ISBN 0-273-00098-5 (1976-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.1 Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
  4. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  5. ? Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
  6. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
  7. ? Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.1 Bruce. M. E. Commonsense Compost Making. Faber ISBN 0-571-09990-4 (1977-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  11. ? Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.1 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
  13. ? Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
  14. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  15. ? Castro. M. The Complete Homeopathy Handbook. Macmillan. London. ISBN 0-333-55581-3 (1990-00-00)
  16. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  17. ? Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
  18. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
  19. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

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