We could say without fear of being wrong that the Santolina is in the top 10 of aromatic and medicinal plants in Spain.
We know well-used plants such as thyme, rosemary, sage, etc. However, santolina has not yet gained its popularity, albeit time to time.
In this article medicinal plants, we want to give you our particular tribute with all the knowledge and properties that are known of the santolina.
Where does wild chamomile come from?
Yes, there are millions of ways to call the santolina. Many. Perhaps one of the easiest to pronounce is that of wild chamomile, but in many other areas it is also known as female abrótano.
Other ways to call it:
- Vermiguera grass
- Chamomile of Mahon
- Chamomile of the countryside
In order not to generate doubts about the type of plant, the scientific name can help us. In this case, the santolina or chamomile of Mahon is called Santolina chamaecyparissus.
It belongs to the family of Asteraceae, of which there are 23,500 species and where many of them are used for their medicinal or phytochemical properties.
The santolina is a plant that visually without flowers does not tell us much, although it is perfectly adapted to xerophytic gardens (those that consume little water).
Its appearance is grayish green, with elongated stems and an intense aromatic smell that nreminds you of chamomile (hence some of its particular names).
Let’s see an image of the saint to enter the scene:
However, in the months of flowering, the abrótano shows a remarkable splendor, with its particular yellow flowers, of spherical type and that can reach a height of up to 80 cm.
Its name has a why, and we will explain it below:
Santolina: in etymology, santolina comes from “sanctus” or what is the same, sacred or holy. Flax it refers to the name of this species or its genus. However, and curiously, if we put together the words “Holy” + “Linen”, it can refer to a Pope from the years 67 and 76 AD.C. He is currently considered a Saint by the Catholic Church.
If we take the second part of the scientific name, chamaecyparissus, which specifies the specific species, comes from Latin and derived from the Greek that called the species as “soil cypress”.
Really, if you look at the previous photographs, it has something like a cypress. Perhaps more grayish and bluish colors than cupressus sempervirens, but closely related in color with other species such as Cupressus arizonica.
Care of the santolina
The santolina or Chamomile of Mahon It is especially suitable for those gardens where there is not much access to water.
In fact, in coastal crop gardens or where rainfall is very low, it can be seen planted in urban centers. next to rosemary, palm trees of low size and other species of similar water consumption.
Provision of Santolina chamaecyparissus
This plant has historically developed in areas of warm temperatures, such as southern Europe, North Africa and specific parts of North America.
Therefore, we must grow it in areas where there is a good disposition to the Sun, and away from shaded areas that, possibly, can generate other species of this type of garden, such as palm trees.
Even with possible frosts in Mediterranean climates, with the santolina we will not have serious problems when lowering temperatures, since it is a plant of great rusticity and that withstands well temperatures below 5ºC.
With the pruning that we can do, we can create a blanket of wild chamomile that covers a high volume of surface.
Fertilizer and dose to be used of the female abrótano
Very few people pay the santolina, since with the mulching or organic matter that a soil has, can develop without problems, at the amateur level.
If the crop is in pots, of course the nutrients contained in the substrate will be lost one day, therefore, it is always advisable to provide some nutrients just before the time of flowering.
Universal fertilizers, as a NPK 7-5-6 or similar, they are more than enough to guarantee a rapid and homogeneous growth of the santolina.
- The nitrogen it is interesting to favor the growth of new shoots and stems, although it is convenient to control it so as not to create an excessive vegetable mass.
- The phosphorus it is important to intensify the production of new roots (or lengthen existing ones) and improve flowering in spring.
- The potassium it is important, even if there are no fruits to ripen, because it regulates the water stress of the plant and favors the formation of essential oils. The latter is very important in this plant
Often, these nutrients also carry incorporated sulfur, calcium, magnesium or micronutrients. The latter are very important since they are intimately related to the production of oils. Precisely in the production of oils and phytochemicals, this medicinal plant stands out a lot.
Dosages vary by manufacturer, but we will follow an unwritten standard to achieve maximum performance, which not all manufacturers specify.
1 ml of liquid fertilizer per liter of water
Characteristics of irrigations
As we have repeated several times, it is a spontaneous plant that can develop only with the rainfall of the area. The risks provided manually must be very limited.
An irrigation plan would be to provide at most a small amount of water 1 time a week (if it does not rain or you do not have access to water from the sky), and 2 times a week in summer.
The amounts are random and depends, but we can think of 300-400 ml per pot of 20 cm in diameter and adjust proportionally according to santolinas and sizes.
The type of soil of the santolina is not an important factor, although if we can choose, get a greater result of the plant.
This crop prefers sandy, stony or well-drained soils. Therefore, if we can choose we will avoid clay, since they are able to store water and moisture for a long time, and can harm us the intense rains of autumn or winter.
In the event that we have to plant the wild chamomile in clay soils, we will correct the irrigation doses. More quantity and less frequency.
Cultivation of santolina in pots
All the care of the santolina that we have commented on is adaptable to the potted cultivation. Wild chamomile can be planted without any problem to different types of containers, whether they are growing tables, round pots, square, etc.
It is a crop that does not need much water to survive, but we must bear in mind that when we grow in pots, the substrate usually dries more easily. Therefore, the frequency of irrigation should be higher, although not the amount.
Where to buy Santolina chamaecyparissus?
The simplest way is to acquire this plant in a pot, since it does not have a very high price and is easy to find. For example, you just have to see the previous image.
However, if we want to get fully into the world of gardening and medicinal plants, as long as we have access to another saint, we can multiply it through cuttings.
This task does not require much difficulty and sacrifice. It will be enough to select a tender stem or cutting that we can transplant until the formation of new rootlets in spring and autumn.
Can it be pruned?
It is an important requirement according to how we want to have the santolina. If we have a xerophytic garden where we want to have isolated species of this plant, either with a spherical shape or other chosen dimensions, we will have to carry out pruning in autumn (before the cold comes).
On the other hand, if we want to increase the horizontal volume of the santolina, either to cover a specific area or create a mantle of this species, pruning should be aimed at limiting vertical growth, favoring the production of lateral stems.
The precise time to do so, although some stems can also be removed in spring, would be in autumn, just when we begin to eliminate flowers that are lost due to the arrival of the cold.
Properties of santolina
Running a thick veil in terms of agronomic conditions and the cultivation of Chamomile from Mahón, it is very interesting to name the benefits it offers as a medicinal plant. It is widely used in many places and can be used in different ways.
How can we use it as a medicinal plant?
The part that takes the most advantage of Santolina chamaecyparissus it’s the flowers. The flowering of this plant appears in mid to late spring, lengthening throughout the summer. We can successively cut part of these flowers and make infusions with them.
Likewise, immersing these flowers in oil, alone or mixed with other medicinal plants such as rosemary or thyme, is ideal for making a muscle oil. To do this, it is necessary to macerate at least for 1 month, squeeze the flowers to get all their juice and strain them.
Uses of interest in the face of problems and diseases
The most commonly used parts of the female abrótamo (Santolina chamaecyparissus) are the flowers, although the rest of the parts are also rich in phytochemicals and essential oils.
To solve some common problems, what will be used will be the flowers, practically in infusions (alone or combined) and in oils or ointments.
Like chamomile, it shares related oils and phytochemicals that help reduce conjunctivis pain and swelling.
To do this, an infusion of santolina is prepared, alone or mixed with lemon balm, euphrasia or chamomile itself, and wash your eyes, with soaked compresses for at least 20 minutes.
In general, this plant helps to cure or relieve the symptoms of all kinds of eye irritation.
The mixture of santolina, chamomile, marshmallow and thyme through an infusion and gargling several times a day. This helps to reduce inflammations derived from aphonias, laryngitis, pharyngitis, etc.
Lemon or honey, as historical resources against these problems, can also be added to the infusion.
3.- Influenza processes:
Including wild chamomile, thyme, eucalyptus and elderberry, we can calm the flu processes that lead to mucus, general malaise, obstruction of the airways, etc.
4.- Improvement of digestion:
Combining santolina with anise, melis and yarrow in infusion, it is useful to take after copious meals, gastritis or when we have heartburn.
5.- Combined to reduce the effects of migraines:
A mixture of infusions based on lavender, abrótano, rosemary, orange blossom and lemongrass reduces the harmful effect of migraines, helps to be relaxed and to accelerate the end of this problem.
6.- Improvement of the skin and burns:
A mixture in equal parts through infusion where calendula, thyme and santolina are added, soaked in gauze and applied to the affected skin, helps to heal and soothe the stinging or burning sensation.
7.- Muscle aches:
Likewise, it helps to calm muscle and joint pain, where in addition to the above ingredients, we can also add rosemary oil, giving a small massage on the affected surface.
That oil can be saved or mixed for future occasions.
Do you know more natural remedies using santolina?