Chamomile

General Information

Common Name:

Chamomile

Latin Name:

  • Matricaria recutita;
  • Matricaria chamomilla;
  • Chamaemelum nobile(Roman chamomile).

Family:

Asteraceae(Compositae)

Other Names:

  • German Chamomile.
  • Roman Chamomile

Indications & Historical Uses

Internal use is indicated in the following instances:

  • Prevention and treatment of ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders, including indigestion, heartburn, flatulence, gastritis and diverticulitis.
  • Soothes mucous membrane inflammations.
  • Aids digestion and calms upset stomachs.
  • For use as a mild sedative (to treat anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, stress, restlessness and nightmares) without disruption of normal motor coordination.
  • Alleviation of menstrual cramps.

External use is indicated for

Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory balm for burns, sores, abrasions, minor cuts and wounds, eczema and chapped skin, acne, dermatitis, allergic reactions and infections; enables more rapid healing of these conditions.

For use as a mouthwash to treat gum inflammation (gingivitis, etc.) and soothe sore throats (pharyngitis), esophageal discomfort (esophagitis) and to relieve some symptoms of sinusitis.

Contraindications & Precautions

Contraindications/ Precautions:
Do not use if you are allergic to ragweed. Exercise caution if you are on sedatives, tranquilizers and anti-depressants.
See Caution.

Adverse Side Effects:
See contraindications

Drug Interactions:
See Contraindications.

Adverse Side Effects:
See Contraindications. Drug Interactions:
See Contraindications.

Dosage Information

How Supplied:

  • Capsules 400 mg.
  • Tincture.
  • Infusion (made with dried flowers).
  • Creams.

Dosage:

Capsules 400 mg -1 to 4 capsules per day.
Tincture is taken in dosage of ½ to 1 teaspoon up to three times per day. A tea is made using 2 to 3 teaspoons of dried flowers per cup Creams -apply locally 2 to 3 times per day.

Pharmacology

Chamomile flowers contain volatile oils which contain the above listed active ingredients. Standardized active ingredients are 1.2% Apigenin and 0.5% essential oil-these are extracted from the whole plant. Bisabolols ,indicycloether , and the flavonoids have been found to have anti-inflammatory ,calming , mildly sedative, and anti- spasmodic effects. This probably explains why the herb helps soothe stomach upset; it probably relaxes the smooth muscle lining of the stomach or intestines and calms the inflamed tissue.
Chamazulene,azulene, marcine are the more anti-inflammatory constituents with anti-allergenic properties too Azulene has been shown to inhibit histamine release and to block the effect of serotonin. Chamomile may also help in preventing infections and promote wound healing by fighting infection causing bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and fungi such as Candida albicans German health authorities endorse topical chamomile products for treating bacterial skin diseases and mouth washes (made with infusions ) for soothing inflammatory lesions in the mouth and for gum problems. It is important to note that the critical essential oils are not water soluble and so even a strong cup of chamomile tea will only contain 10 -15% of the essential oil. However ,drinking chamomile tea over an extended period of time may produce the desired results. To ensure that you are getting the highest -quality chamomile ,buy formulations that contain whole flower heads from a reputable source .

Active Ingredients:

  • Flavanoids.
  • Bisabolols.
  • Matricine.
  • Chamazulene.
  • Indicycloether.

Origin

There are two major types of chamomile – German or Hungarian, and Roman or English. It is the former that is discussed here, because it is more easily available on the North American and World market. Matricaria chamomilla is an annual and bears daisy like yellow flower heads, which are harvested and dried for medicinal use.

Processing

The blue colored volatile oils are extracted from the dried flower heads by steam distillation.

Scientific References

Mann.C. and Staba.J.:”The Chemistry ,Pharmacology, and Commercial Formulations of Chamomile,”in Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants: Recent Advances in Botany, Horticulture, and Pharmacology, vol.1, L.E.Craker , and J.E,Simon.eds., Oryx Press, Phoenix, Arizona,1986, pp 233-280.

Mowrey. D. (1990) The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine.

Tyler. V. (1994) Herbs of Choice.

Schilcher. H.: Die Kamille, Wisseschaftliche Verlagsesellschaft, Stuttgart, 1987, 152 pp.

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