You don’t need to travel the world to find this beautiful and comforting herb. It’s right here on our doorstep as Whippet Blossom would tell you. She’s pictured enjoying the pacifying scents of Wild Chamomile (also known as German Chamomile or Scented Mayweed) on a relaxing walk in the Herefordshire countryside. There is plenty of this pretty herb around and it flowers all through late spring and summer.
The so-called English Chamomile is more common in Gardens and has similar feathery leaves and tiny, daisy-like flowers with white petals and a yellow centre, it was used to create lawns in Elizabethan times as it exudes a delightful apple-like scent when crushed underfoot.
While the calming properties of Chamomile are probably best known, it is also anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. In fact, chamomile creams have been proven to for work skin allergies (atopy) slightly better than steroid creams as well when used for 2 weeks. Most of the evidence is for people, but it has also been shown in dogs. It is also worth noting that if your dog has a seasonal contact allergy, simply washing the paws twice daily in chamomile tea, especially after walks, can make a real difference.
For us, we reap the benefits of heading home to a warm mug of chamomile tea, but its effects are intensified in the tinctures and creams we use to give a stronger action for our patients. This way you don’t need to worry about sprays and can rest assured that we source our herbs organically from Avicenna in Wales.
A.P. Vet’s Iris Ege runs herbal consultations for anyone interested in exploring the benefits of chamomile and other herbs towards their pet’s health. Iris usually requires your animal’s clinical history so she can look at any diagnosis made, and which conventional treatments have or haven’t worked. Herbs, unlike drugs, are not immunosuppressive. Trying to resolve an allergy, for instance, through more holistic means, avoids the side effects of conventional drugs, takes a broader approach but can take more time. Exploring the holistic route is often a rewarding experience for both the pet and owner.
A final word, if you’re off searching for Wild Chamomile, you’ll want to avoid its look-a-like, Stinking Chamomile (also known as Unscented Mayweed). It is said to be threatened, has less benefits and may even be harmful. Please be aware, there is quite a bit of it around in Herefordshire. Its name is misleading as it doesn’t really stink but just has a more intense and sharp smell than the medicinal varieties. Scentless Mayweed simply doesn’t have the desirable essential oils. The best way to tell is to slice through the yellow centre of the flower. It is solid in Scentless Mayweed as well as in Stinking Chamomile but hollow in Scented Mayweed (Wild or German Camomile).