Chamomile is an herb with a vibrant little flower commonly enjoyed as an herbal tea. Chamomile tea is known for its delicate, apple-like flavor and ability to help people relax and unwind. This herb has been used for centuries for its calming and soothing effects, but do you know how chamomile is grown and processed?
Chamomile is a member of the Asteraceae family, including other herbs such as daisies and sunflowers. It is a hardy plant that can grow in various climates and soils but thrives in well-drained, sandy soil and full sun. To grow chamomile, seeds are sown in the spring, either directly in the ground or in pots or trays. The seeds germinate quickly, and the young plants are ready to be transplanted into the garden after a few weeks. Once established, chamomile plants will continue to grow and flower throughout the summer, providing a steady supply of fresh chamomile flowers.
Harvesting The flowers are picked by hand when they are in full bloom to harvest chamomile. This typically happens in the early morning, when the flowers are at their most fragrant, and the essential oils are at their peak. The flowers are then dried by laying them out in the sun or using mechanical drying equipment.
The first step is removing any stems and leaves not used in chamomile tea. Once the chamomile flowers are dried, they are ready for processing. The flowers are kept whole or ground into a fine powder, packaged, and sold as chamomile tea.
More than tea? In addition to being used as a tea, chamomile is also used in other products, such as herbal remedies, skin care products, and essential oils. To extract the essential oils, the dried chamomile flowers are steam-distilled, which separates the oil from the plant material. The oil is then collected and bottled, and used in various applications.
Overall, the growing and processing of chamomile is a relatively straightforward process. From planting the seeds to harvesting the flowers and producing the final product, it is a labor-intensive process that relies on the skill and expertise of the people involved. But the end result – a soothing cup of chamomile tea – is well worth the effort.
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