Key Definitions

Anti-inflammatory herbs – help the body combat inflammation. Often used for relief of pain and discomfort.

Antispasmodic herbs – prevent or ease spasms or cramps in the muscles. They reduce muscular tension in the body and will sometimes ease psychological tension as well.

Bitters – remedies with a bitter taste. Their broad effects on tone and function offer an opportunity to treat the whole body. Among the actions of bitters, they stimulate appetite, stimulate release of digestive juices from the pancreas, aid the liver in detoxification (and increase the flow of bile), help regulate secretion of pancreatic hormones, and help the gut wall repair damage.

Carminative herbs – ease discomfort caused by flatulence.

Emmenagogue – Plants that are used to treat conditions of the female reproductive system. Strictly speaking emmenagogues are remedies that stimulate menstrual flow and activity.

Hypnotics – nervine remedies that help induce a deep and healing state of sleep.

Nervine – plant remedy with some kind of beneficial effect upon the nervous system.

Sesquiterpenes – molecules that have demonstrated therapeutic potential in decreasing the progression of cancer.

Bunch of Chamomile Flowers

Introduction

Chamomile is part of the Asteraceae family, which consists of several daisy-like plants. German Chamomile (latin name: Chamomilla recutita) and Roman chamomile (latin name: Chamaemelum nobile) are the most common species to be found in herbal products and drinks (NCCIH, 2020). This write-up is focused on German Chamomile, because it is well researched and frequently used in herbal products.

Chamomile tea has been used across Europe as a digestive remedy, with its therapeutic uses being well documented. The combination of chamomile’s antispasmodic, antiseptic, carminative, anti inflammatory and mild bitter actions make it well suited for digestive issues (Hoffmann, 2003).

Dried Chamomile Flowers

Constituents, Actions & Indications

Constituents

Sesquiterpenes (chamazulene, alpha-bisabolol, bisabolol oxide); sesquiterpene lactones (matricin, matricarin); flavonoid glycosides (6% to 8%): apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, isorhamnetin; volatile oil (proazulenes, farnesine, sprioether); bitter glycosides (anthemic acid); coumarins (Hoffmann, 2003) (Chevallier, 2016).

Actions

Nervine, antispasmodic, carminative, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, bitter, vulnerary, antiallergenic and relaxant (Hoffmann, 2003) (Chevallier, 2016).

Indications

Insomnia, anxiety, menopausal depression, loss of appetite, dyspepsia, gastric ulcers, diarrhoea, colic, aches and pains of flu, migraine, neuralgia, teething, vertigo, motion sickness, conjunctivitis, inflamed skin, urticaria, bites and stings, congestions and hay fever, eczema, indigestion, insomnia, mild asthma, morning sickness, sore and tired eyes, sore nipples, and stomach spasms (Hoffmann, 2003) (Chevallier, 2016).

Chamolmile Flowers in a Bowl next to Tinctures

Preparations & Dosage

Chamomile may be used fresh or dried in infusions. Tinctures are an excellent dosage for to ensure that all constituents are extracted and available. Chamomile essential oil is valued in aromatherapy (Hoffmann, 2003).

Infusion – infuse 2 to 3 tsp of herb in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Use a covered container. Drink 9 to 15 g of herb, 3 to 4 times a day (Hoffmann, 2003) (De La Foret, 2017).

Tincture – for irritable bowel syndrome, take 1 tsp diluted with 100 mL water 3 times a day (Chevallier, 2016). Use a tincture that has a ratio of 1:5 and uses 40% ethanol (De La Foret, 2017).

Cream – rub on to sore or itchy skin (Chevallier, 2016).

Essential oil – for diaper rash, combine 5 drops with 1 tbsp carrier oil and apply (Chevallier, 2016).

Bath infusion – to relax irritable and overtire children, infuse 4 tsp dried herb in 500 mL water and strain into a bath (Chevallier, 2016).

Ointment – rub onto sore or inflamed skin (Chevallier, 2016).

Chamomile Flowers in and Around Wooden Spoon

Safety Considerations

Chamomile may cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae family (Hoffmann, 2003) (Gardner & McGuffin, 2013).

Contraindications

Due to the emmenagogue effect internal consumption of the plant should be avoided in excessive doses in early pregnancy. Infusion of the flowers near the eyes due to possible irritations. Rare cases of allergic hypersensitivity skin reactions to the flowers have been reported (Brinker, 1998).

Drug Interactions

A liquid extract of flowers helps prevent ulcer formation induced by ethyl alcohol, while the volatile oil component bisabolol inhibits ulcer formation caused by indomethacin (Brinker, 1998). Chamomile may have potential for interacting with warfarin due to the coumarin effect.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

The information presented in this post is intended as an informational guide. The remedies, approaches and techniques described herein are meant to supplement, and not to substitute for, professional medical care or treatment. They should not be used to treat a serious ailment without prior consultation with a qualified health care professional.

References

  1. Brinker, F., 1998. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. 2nd ed. Oregon: Eclectic Medical Publications.
  2. Chevallier, A., 2016. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. 3rd ed. New York: DK Publishing.
  3. De La Foret, R., 2017. Alchemy of Herbs. 1st ed. California: Hay House Inc.
  4. Gardner, Z. & McGuffin, M., 2013. Botanical Safety Handbook. 2nd ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
  5. Hoffmann, D., 2003. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. 1st ed. Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Summary

Common Name

German Chamomile

Other Names

-

Latin Name

Chamomilla recutita syn. Matricaria recutita (Asteraceae)

Key Constituents

  • Volatile oil
  • Flavonoids
  • Bitter glycosides
  • Coumarins

Key Actions

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiallergenic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Relaxant
  • Carminative

Key Preparations

  • Cream
  • Essential oil
  • Infusion
  • Bath Infusion
  • Ointment
  • Tincture

Self-help Uses

  • Bites & stings
  • Congestion & hay fever
  • Colic
  • Eczema
  • Indigestion
  • Insomnia
  • Mild asthma
  • Morning sickness
  • Sore and tired eyes
  • Sore nipples
  • Stomach spasms

Cautions

The fresh plant can cause dermatitis.

Do not take the essential oil internally except under professional supervision.

Take only on professional advice if using blood thinning.

Do not use the oil externally during pregnancy.

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