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Chamomile is an annual plant, native to Europe, now widespread throughout the globe, in some areas as a weed; the botanical name is Matricaria camomilla, but also Matricaria recutica, also called German Chamomile, or the anthemis nobilis, or Roman chamomile is used in herbal medicine.
All these plants are very similar to each other, they belong to the asteraceae family, and produce small, flower-shaped inflorescences, very similar to common field daisies.
Chamomile plants can reach 30-50 cm in height, they have thin, almost linear leaves; the whole plant is strongly aromatic, but for use in herbal medicine only the yellow floral discs are taken. To obtain the part used in herbal medicine, inflorescences are taken in late spring and left to dry until they have lost all the small white petals; the floral discs are then kept dried for a few months.

The active ingredients

Chamomile contains active essential oils and some flavonoids; the most commonly known component of chamomile is bisabolol, which is used both for internal use, as a sedative, and in detergents, also industrial, as a soothing ingredient.
Notes to all are the sedative and calming properties of chamomile, which in Italy is widely used above all in the form of herbal tea, but also in oils, lotions, detergents, with calming, anti-inflammatory and lightening properties, but also digestive and to calm problems due to to dysmenorrhoea.
It is used as an anti-inflammatory also in mouthwashes and eye drops.

Grow chamomile

In Italy the chamomile develops as a weed, it is not infrequent to find small plants on the roadsides or in uncultivated land.
It is an annual plant, which is grown in a very sunny place, with a very well drained soil, and does not require great care.
In fact the plants have a pleasant appearance, and produce many small flowers, so they can be grown in the corner dedicated to aromatic plants, but also as special borders, or in the garden with a "wild" appearance.