Pineapple-weed – Matricaria Discoidea: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Wild Chamomile of Wild Plants

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Also called wild chamomile, which is more alluring on the medicinal side of naming. I suppose “pineapple” triggers a thirst for learning about its edible qualities.

I would rather have titled this one Wild Chamomile, but I’m using the common names as seen in our local guidebook Haliburton Flora. Eventually, we will cover the popular German chamomile, when we’ve run out of edible and/or medicinal local plants. But for now, this wild relation is almost its twin for uses!

Pineapple-weed (Wild Chamomile) - Matricaria Discoidea
Pineapple-weed (Wild Chamomile) – Matricaria Discoidea

Edible Uses of Pineapple-weed

The flower heads, stems, and leaves are all edible as bitter greens. Add them to salads or anything else you might put greens in.

The fragrant flowerheads can also be used to make a golden pineapple scented tea. These pretty flowers could be added to baked goods like muffins for a special warm touch. You can try them raw as trail nibble, but avoid picking them where traffic, spraying and other pollutants are in play.

Medicinal Uses of Pineapple-weed

Pineapple-weed is primarily said to support these body systems:

  • Digestive
  • Integumentary
  • Nervous

Medicinal tags include Antispasmodic, Analgesic, Carminative, and Nervine. See Medicinal tag key for more information.

Common usage includes as a gentle nerve soothing tea or tummy soothing digestive. Its uses are almost the same as the more familiar German chamomile, except it’s not known as an anti-inflammatory (I believe it lacks “azulene”, which is present in German chamomile). Otherwise, it’s our wild local substitute.

Pineappleweed is one of the many plants you can use a poultice or spit poultice for insect bites, stings, wounds and other astringent uses like as a gargle.

As for German chamomile, again, I do plan to feature more exotic plants once I have completed the local list (there should be 200+ of those first! I’m heralding out of Ontario, Canada, East of the Rockies). Everyday chamomile will be one of the first on that list. It’s one of the first herbal medicines I used regularly, for anxiety in my case. I’m glad I can use a local plant for that instead!

Alternative Uses of Wild Chamomile

It’s a pleasant smelling insect repellent.

Growing Matricaria Discoidea

I usually see it growing in peoples driveways. Although not native, it’s a pleasant smelling candidate for sowing seeds in your garden footpaths or driveway where not much else will grow. It’s an annual but appears to have no problem reseeding itself up here. Even better it could be grown and kept in your herb garden for food and medicine.


And the Usual Cautions:

1) Most medicinal herbs, if edible, are meant to be eaten in moderation, even sparingly. Some require extra preparation. Tannins are toxic if consumed in excess.

2) People can be allergic or sensitive to nearly any plant; try new herbs one at a time at your own risk. For instance, saponins commonly cause stomach upset.

3) For medicinal use, I must recommend receiving a diagnosis and working with a reputed health care provider. I generally do not post specific treatments and dosages because I think that is best between you and your health care provider, and ideally monitored.

4) Anyone pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs should talk to a health care professional before adding new food items to their diet.

5) Many plants have look-a-likes, and sometimes they are poisonous.

#ads in References

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Edible and Medicinal Plants of Canada

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs

The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies: Simple Salves, Teas, Tinctures, and More

Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use

The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine

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