Chamomile has long been considered a sacred herb because of its gentle yet effective healing attributes. Known mainly for the soothing, anti-inflammatory benefits it offers skin, it also provides deep cleansing attributes due to its mildly astringent nature.

chamomileAt Vauxhall Gardens, we grow a German strain of Chamomile called Matricaria recutita c.v. Zloty Lan, which far surpasses all other varieties with its high essential oil medicinal compounds.

Chamomile is one of those plants that, when you see it growing in the field, it just delights you on so many levels. It grows in an upright fashion with small fern-like leaves and is crowned with thousands of little yellow and white daisy-like flowers. We stake all of our Chamomile as it tends to fall over as the season progresses making it very difficult to harvest or even walk down the aisles of the planted beds. Yet, even staked, the plants have so much movement and even just a whisper of a breeze sets it moving in a hypnotic, swaying fashion.

Preferring a cool, moist growing location yet with lots of sunlight Chamomile is an easy and rewarding plant to grow. This year we tried a new cultivar of the German Chamomile we love so much called “Zloty Lan”. We chose this cultivar because of its claim of a high essential oil content and an unheard of 1% azulene content. Azulene is the much desired by-product of Chamomile – it is what provides the powerful anti-inflammatory properties to the extracts. Surprisingly enough, azulene is a deep indigo blue and if you have ever used a Chamomile essential oil you will know this because it is a dark, dark blue. Of course, we don’t make essential oils here at Vauxhall but due to the high azulene content of the “Zloty Lan” cultivar, we were skimming off a considerable amount of essential oil from our hydrosol – that is how loaded this cultivar is!

Chamomile exhibits dramatically high anti-inflammatory effects and also provides significant antioxidant properties. Many find the anti-inflammatory properties to be very useful in treating skin irritations like eczema, rashes and perpetually itchy skin. Others like the fact that Chamomile will help to prevent skin blemishes from developing and will help stop deterioration of skin cells that leads to wrinkles, fine lines and pigmentation. Chamomile is also very beneficial in reducing redness in the skin and, over time, it will lighten discolouration of the skin like dark circles under the eyes, sun spots and genetic skin issues that lead to dark, patchy skin.

Another way to benefit from this botanical is to use it in your hair. Blondes and silver haired people are par-ticularly fond of its brightening capabilities but having said that, dark haired people will also enjoy it because it brings a ‘touch of summer’ to the hair. Yes, even colour enhanced hair!

Chamomile also has a highly recognizable fragrance. Distinct apple notes with a fresh, grassy undertone has made this calming natural perfume beloved the world over.

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