Chamomile and marigold
Two sun worshipers in the spotlight who also have something sunny themselves, in appearance and character. Both marigold and chamomile are lavish bloomers with soothing medical and cosmetic properties.
Chamomile helps with flu and coughs, has a calming and relaxing effect and looks great in herbal bouquets.
Matricaria chamomilla is a small herb with fragrant, daisy-like flower heads. Almost everyone has picked a bouquet from it or drank a cup of tea from it. Popular wisdom says, “A good cup of chamomile tea is better than three doctors.” And that is not for nothing, because even in regular medicine, chamomile is appreciated, among other things as a tranquilizer. Chamomile flowers are at their most vigorous when the flowers have just opened, which is also the time to pick them. Pick them in the morning, when the dew has dried, but before the sun starts to shine brightly. Like marigold, chamomile can be used as a dye, for example to color wool and cotton beautifully yellow.
Chamomile mainly grows in dry, sunny places. A bare slope, building site, field edge or field roads: it prefers to grow in places where nature is disturbed by humans or machines. Chamomile is easy to propagate from seed and once you have a plant in the garden, you will never get rid of it. But that’s really okay: the tousled branching plant with its small feathery leaves and radiant white flower heads is very useful, stands endlessly in the vase and is very useful in small herbal bouquets.
Did you know??
- chamomile is an ideal herbal rinse for blond hair
- gargle with a chamomile extract for inflamed gums and pharynx
- a steam bath boosts a tired face
- chamomile tea works for stomach and intestinal problems, insomnia, flu and cough
- a dabbing tincture helps with eye complaints and inflamed skin
- Chamomile in the bath has a calming and relaxing effect
The second part of the Latin name is Calendula afficinalis. This says it all: the marigold has medicinal properties. It mainly contains substances that have an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effect. Medicines therefore used it on the battlefields to disinfect wounds. A compress with some bruised flowers or an infusion of them also works for sprains and burns. Marigold decoction additionally cleanses the face and is a good rinse for reddish brown hair. Calendula keeps the skin supple in a very gentle way, which is why baby creams, lip ointments and soaps often contain calendula extract.
Fast grower, rich bloomer
Marigold is a sunflower: it not only turns with the sun, the corolla even resembles a sun. At night and when the sky breaks, the flowers close and act as a kind of weather forecast. You don’t have to worry about this flower in the garden. The large, caterpillar-shaped seed can be planted in a sunny spot from March onwards. The cheerful plant then blooms almost all year round and self-sows beautifully. It is also an ideal cut flower: there are many nice varieties on the market, all in sunny shades.
Cut off the dead flowers every now and then, to encourage the second flowering. Dry the flower heads in late summer for use in winter. They keep their color for a long time and are the eye-catchers in potpourri.
Did you know??
- pots of scented marigolds on the patio scare away ants and other insects
- young buds in vinegar give a fragrant yellow vinaigrette
- young leaves and petals are delicious in stews and add spice and aroma to salads, egg and cheese dishes. You can also use it to color stock, rice and custard as a cheap alternative to saffron