Chamomile is one of my favorite herbs to grow at the Brown Barn farm. While not technically a perennial plant, it reseeds readily, making an easy to grow favorite. One of the things I especially enjoy about growing Chamomile is that it attracts bees of all types and sizes. I love walking past the Chamomile patch and hearing it buzz!
Chamomile could easily be referred to as a “Super Herb” as it is one of the best all natural ingredients you can find for soothing skin irritations, calming chronic skin conditions, relaxing at the end of a stressful day, and helping to support a variety of other skin and body needs. And of course we are all familiar with the use of Chamomile tea for reducing anxiety and encouraging relaxation.
When used in skincare products, it is especially beneficial for sensitive skin and for use with children and babies, making it ideal for facial products, balms, salves, and bath products like bath bombs and bath oil.
Chamomile is loaded with skin loving constituents. Promising research has shown Chamomile to be comparable to Cortisone cream in effectively addressing skin conditions.
It is loaded with compounds that are especially known for being anti-inflammatory. This means it can help with reducing redness and swelling, making it desirable for any natural skincare program addressing acne or irritating skin conditions. For this reason, Chamomile is used in many Brown Barn Botanicals products.
How is it produced and used at Brown Barn?
Chamomile has a warm, herbaceous scent that is often compared to apples. For beauty purposes, it is available in essential oil or as an oil infusion – both are good depending on your intended use.
Brown Barn Botanicals grows, harvests, dries, infuses, and formulates their own botanical skin care products from seed to final product. At Brown Barn Botanicals we grow German Chamomile for use in an oil infusion that is then used in many of our products. We also include Chamomile essential oil in skin care oils where a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect is desired. Pairing Chamomile essential oil with a matching whole leaf Chamomile bud infusion makes for a powerhouse combo.
Chamomile for skin care is typically sourced from two varieties – Roman Chamomile or German Chamomile. Roman and German Chamomile have similar constituents but are different in how they are grown and harvested.
In the field, our Chamomile plants are about two feet tall with ferny leaves. They are simply covered in small white petaled flowers with yellow centers. The bees adore our Chamomile which sometimes makes harvesting a challenge!
Once the flowers have been harvested they are transported to our vintage glass greenhouse where they are laid out to dry or placed in our drying rack system. The bottom cloth allows air to circulate but prevents any buds from dropping thru to the floor while a dark top cloth prevents sun damage. We dry herbs before infusing them so as to remove any trace of water, which may breed mold or bacteria during the infusion process. Snugly laid out in the greenhouse, the chamomile flowers are left to dry under a white shade canopy until they are ready for the next step. The shade canopy protects the plants from getting too hot and scorching.
After they have completely dried, the flowers are packaged in air tight containers or immediately infused in organic, Wisconsin grown and cold pressed Sunflower Oil. During this phase glass containers are filled with the botanical combination we select for a particular product and then covered in oil. We opt for organic Wisconsin grown Sunflower Oil because it is sustainable and locally harvested, reducing our carbon footprint by reducing shipping and transportation costs – and Sunflower Oil is fantastic for your skin!
When filled, the glass infusion container is gently heated. Heat causes the oil to warm which in turn warms the plant material. The warmed Sunflower oil draws out oils from the plants which then bind with the Sunflower base oil.
Once the infusion process is completed, the finished oil is transported to the Brown Barn Botanicals lab in Holcombe, Wisconsin where it is used in a variety of products ranging from facial skincare to bath bombs to body oil and more.
Infusing oil is different from making essential oil. Essential oil is the pure, direct oil produced by the plant alone. In pure essential oil, there is no base oil (such as Sunflower oil) involved. Essential oil production requires very large amounts of plant material to produce a small amount of oil (it takes over six pounds of Chamomile flowers to produce just one ounce of Chamomile essential oil!). It is extracted by either cold pressing or the use of solvents.
Typically, farms that produce essential oil only specialize in one or just a few essential oils because of the large amount of material and lengthy processing required to produce a small amount of essential oil. At Brown Barn Botanicals we leave the essential oil production to experienced experts while we focus on our area of expertise – growing botanicals for use in oil infusions and formulating finished products.
Chamomile Benefits Summarized:
1) Anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce inflammation and redness in sensitive and acne prone skin types.
2) Anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic.
3) Disinfectant, making it excellent for healing minor skin wounds.
4) Antioxidant, helping to battle damage from free radicals caused by environmental damage and aging.
5) Naturally lightens skin, promoting a healthy glow while healing and restoring natural moisture content.
6) Naturally emollient, meaning that it can ready skin to allow nutrients from other ingredients to sink in more deeply and be more effective.
7) Gentle. Simply put, Chamomile is gentle and easy on skin, providing natural relief without fear of chemicals for side effects.
8) Relieves Anxiety
9) Anti-Spasmodic, known for relieving muscle cramps and relaxing tired and sore muscles when applied topically or drank in a tea.
10) Soothing to gastrointestinal issues.
11) Calming and helps promote relaxing sleep.
How to grow your own Chamomile:
Chamomile seeds can be started indoors, about six weeks before the last expected frost. Chamomile seeds need light to germinate, do not cover the seed – simply scatter the seed and press firmly onto the soil. Seeds should germinate in seven to fourteen days. You can also direct-seed Chamomile outdoors – be sure to sow in a weed free bed and keep a sharp eye out to avoid weed infestation.
Easiest, purchase Chamomile plants at your local nursery. Plant in full sun, in a weed-free bed or use grown fabric to assist in weed suppression. Avoid the use of chemicals and practice organic cultivation for your Chamomile to ensure it is as fresh and pure as possible. Harvest by picking buds in the early morning – enjoy in a cup of tea or make your own bath tea by placing Chamomile buds in a clean knee high pantyhose and floating in your bathtub.
A genuine “Super Herb”, Chamomile will help your skin (and you) feel calmer and less stressed. It works great in oil applications and bath treatments.
Support your chamomile infused skin care product effectiveness with a cup of Chamomile tea in the evening to relax and wash away the stress of the day!
Christine Untiedt, Owner, Brown Barn Botanicals
Notice: These statements and blog content have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information in our articles are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and are not intended as medical advice. The content of these blogs and associated products is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using products or following blog advice.