I just wanted to share this little bit of alchemy. A mom at the school where we do a middle school Herbal Potions elective recently bought the equipment for distilling essential oils. She brought it in for us to experiment with and we did a huge batch of German Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita).
I love showing kids the 'hidden colors' in plants and this is such a great example. The daisy-like white and yellow chamomile flowers conceal minute quantities of lapis lazuli blue chamazulene - a constituent in the essential oil which has wonderful anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. The amounts are absolutely tiny and I think it fired the kids' imaginations to realize how a plant which grows all around can contain something so special and rare.