Chamomile (a.k.a. Matricaria Chamomilla) originates from the Middle East and has now spread worldwide, even to hot or tropical regions.
Chamomile is often cultivated as a medicinal plant. Chamomile is an annual plant with upright and highly branched stems up to 60 cm tall. The yellow flower heads are surrounded by a white corona. The plants have fine, ramified shallow roots.
As a pioneer plant, chamomile does not have any special soil requirements; it thrives equally well in light and heavy soils. Compacted soils are even preferred. High nitrogen content will cause strong vegetative growth and reduce flower formation. Chamomile grows best in full sun, shady locations are not tolerated.
The true chamomile differs from other chamomile species by its hollow flower base, whereas other chamomile species have a filled base.
Description of Plants: annual not to be mistaken with stinking Mayweed (not hollow in the center when cut). The German Chamomile is triangular while the Roman Chamomile is rounded.
Effect on plants: Regulates the decomposition of plant protein. Preservation of nitrogen. Provides calcium. Requires temperate climate.
Medicinal Value: Mild sedative effect. Used for teething of children. Helps in digestion as tea. Used to prevent meat from going bad. Listed in Culpepper’s complete herbal.
Cultivation practice: Chamomile is propagated exclusively by sowing –usually done in seed trays. When large quantities of flowers are required, the seeds can be sown directly on beds. Chamomile seeds must not be covered as the seeds require light for germination. At temperatures of 15 – 20°C,
germination will take place after 4 – 6 days. About 5 – 6 weeks after sowing the young plants can be planted directly from seed trays into the bed: 3 – 5 plants per spot. Recommendation for planting: in rows, with approx. 10 – 15 cm distance between plants, and 25 cm distance between the rows.
Wide plant spacing reduces flowering. Chamomile has a strong tendency towards self-seeding; these young plants can easily be transplanted directly into beds. Soil: rich soil with compost. Must be maintained: moist.
The plant with its flowers would tend to dry. These could be collected and tapped against a bucket to collect seed and sieve. 4-8 weeks to flower.
HOW TO HARVEST CHAMOMILE?
- The plants’ flower for about 4-6 weeks. As the older flowers mature, the plants constantly produce new flowers. The flowers can be harvested as soon as the petals are fully extended. An ideal flower will have two rows of petals around the cone.
- This should be done on sunny days in the morning. It is essential to find the optimal harvest time. If the flowers are harvested too early, the yields will be very low; if they are harvested too late, it is best to pick the flowers when the petals are horizontal (mid-morning-10 am).
- The flower heads may fall apart. Flowers should be harvested without stems as far as possible. If the percentage of stems is too high, they must be removed. An alternative is to harvest the flowers with a flower comb. Use drying trays if possible.
- If flowers are not used when fresh, they can be dried. The drying ratio is 6:1. For storage, the dried flowers can be stored in a glass container or a paper bag until needed. Even with careful storage, the flowers will lose a lot of quality alter about a year. It is therefore recommended to grow and harvest chamomile flowers every year. Harvest into a tray as the flowers if left together will produce heat.
- Store in an airtight container alter drying.
THE ANIMAL SHEATH
The small intestine (Jejunum) of a cow or bull can be used. The fresh intestine must be emptied, to squeeze out the undigested matter. Do not wash the intestines. Cut into 15 cm bits. Run your finger along the intestine, like milking a cow, to squeeze out the undigested matter. Tie cut bits at one end with a cotton string.
THE MAKING OF BD503
- Moisten the flowers with water gently.
- Stuff the flowers into intestines (one end must be tied before stuffing) that are prepared. Use a funnel on the open-end and fill up the intestine. Make sure not to pack too hard or too loose.
- Tie the other end with a string.
- Stack the filled sausages into a bundle, which could be placed in a mud pot surrounded by fertile soil.
- Bury the intestines at the end of October/ November. In Malaysia, we prefer to put it into an unglazed clay pot to protect against animals.
- Surround the pot with fertile soil or compost.
- Mark the pit with dates and detailed labels.
Time of burial to lifting: Bury in October and let it remain in the soil till March/April.
HARVESTING THE BD503
In Malaysia, the preparations are harvested in March/ April.
- Lift the intestine in the pot gently. Often the sheaths are still preserved.
- Remove the soil carefully.
- It must be stored in a cool and dark place, preferably in a wooden box with double walls from all sides. It can be filled in jars, glazed earthenware pots, ceramic vessels or glass containers. The vessels must not be airtight. The preparation should be stored alone and surrounded by a layer of dry peat or coco peat of at least 5cm thick.
Summary Of BD 503-CHAMOMILE Preparations
|Ingredient||Chamomile, Cow Intestine|
|Descriptions||Helps retain nitrogen, calcium, and sulfur. Stimulates manganese and boron, as well as azotobacter – the best bacteria for making nitrogen in the soil.|