Biological Name: Matricaria recutita, Matricaria chamomilla, Anthemis nobilis
Camomile, matricaria, anthemis, ground apple, Roman camomile, garden camomile, low camomile, whig plant, German camomile, wild camomile
Parts Used: Flowers
The flowers of chamomile provide 1-2% volatile oils containing alpha-bisabolol, alpha-bisabolol oxides A & B, and matricin (usually converted to chamazulene).
Other active constituents include the bioflavonoids apigenin, luteolin, and quercetin.
These active ingredients contribute to chamomile’s anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and smooth muscle-relaxing effects, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract.
Chamomile has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant, mostly for gastrointestinal complaints. This practice continues today.
Chamomile was supposedly dedicated to the sun by the Egyptians because of its curative value in the treatment of ague. It is used in various parts of the world as a table tea. It was used to regulate monthly periods. It is splendid for kidneys, spleen, colds, bronchitis, bladder troubles, to expel worms, for argue, dropsy, and jaundice. The tea was believed to make an excellent wash for sore and weak eyes and also for other open sores and wounds.
Chamomile was used as a poultice for pains and swellings. Used for hysteria and nervous diseases, prevention of gangrene, for breaking up typhoid and in combination with bittersweet for bruises, sprains, calluses and corns.
Chamomile has potential for the treatment of:
Blocked tear duct
Canker sores (mouth ulcers)
Gingivitis (periodontal disease)
Indigestion and heartburn
Irritable bowel syndrome
Chamomile is a stimulant, bitter, tonic, aromatic, emmenagogue, anodyne, antispasmodic, stomachic. It is used externally to spur wound healing and treat inflammation, and internally for fever, digestive upsets, anxiety, and insomnia. It is used as a fragrance in herbal skin care products. It had also been used in shampoos because of its property to add luster to the hair.
Clinical studies have shown that chamomile has mild sedative effects when administered as a tea. Animal studies have shown that Chamomile volatile oil when administered orally to rabbits with impaired kidney function, normalized the uremic condition. This shows that chamomile may be useful in the treatment of impaired kidney functions. The flavonoid apigenin had shown antihistaminic effects in animal studies.
Chamomile was also shown useful for reducing inflammation in arthritis. It also relaxed smooth muscle of the intestine.
Chamomile was a popular eye wash for treating conjunctivitis and other reactions. It had also been found to promote wound healing.
Digestive Aid: Chamomile was found to relax the digestive as well as the opium based drug papaverine.
Ulcers: Chamomile may help to prevent stomach ulcers and speed their healing.
Women’s health: Antispasmodic action of chamomile soothes the menstrual cramps and to lessen the possibility of premature labor. It was also found to stimulate menstruation.
Tranquilizer/sedative: Chamomile depresses the central nervous system. It had been shown effective as a tranquilizer from antiquity.
Arthritis: Chamomile relieves arthritic joint inflammation in animal studies.
Infection Prevention: It is a very popular herbal product in Germany for wound care. The essential oil was found to reduce the time required to heal burns. The herb kills the yeast fungi that causes vaginal infections, as well as certain bacteria. Chamomile impairs the replication of polio virus.
Immune Stimulant: Chamomile stimulates the immune system’s infection fighting white blood cells (macrophages and B-lymphocytes).
Chamomile, a member of the daisy family, is native to Europe and western Asia. German chamomile is the most commonly used. It grows freely everywhere.
Roman chamomile is a low European perennial found in dry fields and around gardens and cultivated grounds. The stem is procumbent, the leaves alternate, bipinnate, finely dissected, and downy to glabrous. The solitary, terminal flower heads, rising 8 to 12 inches above the ground, consist of prominent yellow disk flowers and silver-white ray flowers. It flowers in June and July.
German Chamomile is a Southern European annual plant found wild along roadsides, in fields, and cultivated in gardens. The round, downy, hollow, furrowed stem may be procumbent or rise upright to a height of 16 inches. The leaves are pale green, bipinnate, sharply incised, and sessile. The flower heads are like those of Roman Chamomile, and the white ray flowers are often bent down to make the disk-flowers even more prominent.
Chamomile is often taken as a tea that can be drunk three to four times daily between meals. Common alternatives are to use tablets, capsules, or tinctures. Many people take 2-3 grams of the capsules or tablets or 4-6 ml of the tincture three times per day between meals.
Approximately 1/2 ounce of flowers to a pint of water. Boil water separately and pour over the plant material and steep for 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the desired effect. Drink hot or warm, 1 to 2 cups or more per day.
Bath additive: Use 1 pound flowers with 5 quart cold water. Bring to a boil, then steep covered for 10 minutes. Strain and add to bath water. Used as a hair wash it will brighten the hair.
Rubbing Oil: Steep 1 oz fresh or dried flowers in olive oil for 24 hours or more. Strain before using.
Though rare, allergic reactions to chamomile have been reported. These reactions have included bronchial constriction with internal use and allergic skin reactions with topical use. While such side effects are extremely uncommon, persons with allergies to plants of the Asteraceae family (ragweed, aster, and chrysanthemum) should avoid use of chamomile. There are no contraindications to the use of chamomile during pregnancy or lactation.
Consuming large amount of highly concentrated preparations have shown to cause nausea and vomiting.
FDA lists chamomile as generally regarded as safe. Consult a professional before using any herb.