Chamomile

Matricaria chamomilla

Chamomile is a herbaceous annual plant belonging to the Asteraceae family.

The plant grows 15-60 cm tall, with an erect stem and leaves that divide up to three times along the stem. Chamomile blooms in early to midsummer. The flowers are positioned at the apical part of the plant, with a yellow central area and wide white petals.

The name Chamomile comes from the Greek, meaning ‘earth apple’ and refers to its strong, aromatic smell.

Chamomile is a well known and commonly used tea product. It has been included in herbal remedies for thousands of years, known in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. In the Anglo-Saxons world it was believed to be one of the nine sacred herbs given to humans by the lord.

Chamomile has a south East Europe origin and is now widely distributed across North America and Australia. It grows on poor soil condition and in open areas such as roadsides and parkland.

 

Traditional uses
  • Chamomile is used internally as a tisane for disturbance of the stomach associated with pain, sluggish digestion, diarrhea, and nausea
  • Chamomile is effective for treating inflammation of the urinary tract and painful menstruation
  • Traditionally Chamomile is used as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and mildly effective as a sudorific1, to produce or cause sweating
  • Externally, the plant can be used in a powder form to aid slow to healing wounds, skin eruptions, and infections such as shingles and boils
  • Chamomile can also be used for treating hemorrhoids and inflammation of the mouth, throat, and eyes2
 
Properties
  • Chamomile contains essential oil with several extracted compound that are effective as anti-inflammatory6, antiseptic7, antiplogistic8, antiseptic, carminative, wound healing, sedative and spasmolytic9 properties (in vivo 4 / in vitro evidence)
How it can be used
  • As an infusion, to use as an eyewash, a gargle for mouth ulcers and on the skin to soothes burns
  • A tea for insomnia and digestive upsets
  • To treat the symptoms of gastrointestinal complaints13
  • To treat minor inflammation of skin and mucosa13
Precautions
  • Drinking Chamomile tea can exacerbate topical skin rashes and has caused anaphylaxis in sensitized individuals12
  • Chamomile tea eye washing can induce allergic conjunctivitis
  • Do not use while pregnant or breastfeeding
The information provided here is only intended to augment people's awareness and knowledge of the properties and uses of some plants. This information is not intended to substitute advice from a physician and is not a substitute for professional medical care. The authors do not recommend collecting and using wild plants from an urban environment as these can be contaminated by several types of pollutants that are harmful to human health. Although references are provided and information has been compiled with care, errors may be present. The remedies listed here should not be used without prior consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. The authors are not responsible for any adverse effect or consequences resulting from the use of the information published in this website.
References
 
  1. Mericli AH. The lipophilic compounds of a Turkish Matricaria chamomilla variety with no chamazuline in the volatile oil. Int J Crude Drug Res. 1990; 28:145–7.
  2. Fluck H. 1st ed. London: W. Foulsham and Co. Ltd; 1988. Medicinal plants and authentic guide to natural remedies.
  3. Tyihak E, Sarkany-Kiss J, Verzar-Petri G. Phytochemical investigation of apigenin glycosides ofMatricaria chamomilla. Pharmazie. 1962; 17:301–4.
  4. Das M, Mallavarapu GR, Kumar S. Isolation of a genotype bearing fascinated capitula in chamomile (Chamomilla recutita) J Med Aromat Plant Sci. 1999; 21:17–22.
  5. Weizman ZVI, Alkrinawi S, Goldfarb DAN, Bitran G. Efficacy of herbal tea preparation in infantile colic. J Pediatr. 1993; 122:650–2
  6. Lal RK, Sharma JR, Misra HO, Singh SP. Induced floral mutants and their productivity in German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) Indian J Agric Sci. 1993; 63:27–33.
  7. Leung AY. 1st ed. New York: John Wiley and sons; 1980. Encyclopedia of common natural ingredients used in food, drugs and cosmetics; pp. 110–12.
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