The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Medicinal Herb Monographs

Chamomile

Botanical Name 
Matricaria chamomilla

Matricaria chamomilla< (Chamomile)
Matricaria chamomilla
(Chamomile)

The information on this page compiled by
Beth Burch N.D.
Index
(click on the keywords)

Introduction

Chamomile has a long history of use as a gentle sedative and for easing the discomfort of various gastrointestinal conditions. It is used both in the botanical and homeopathic forms to treat teething symptoms in infants. Its gentle action has made it a favorite remedy for children. Besides helping to allay irritability, anxiety and sleeplessness, modern research has shown that chamomile has antiinflammatory activity. The ability to decrease inflammation along with easing intestinal spasms make it an excellent remedy for the relief of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. Topically, the antiinflammatory activity is useful in skin conditions like eczema and can be tried for any skin condition as an alternative to cortisone creams. Chamomile is widely available in tea and liquid extract forms, as well as in a variety of cream or ointment bases.

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Description

  • Chamomile is a native of Europe and western Asia, and is naturalized and cultivated throughout the world. A member of the Compositae family, chamomile is an annual, growing up to 2 feet tall with branching stems. The leaves are very fine and linear. It has a typical composite flower, with white ray flowers and a yellow conical center that is hollow. The medicinal part is the flowers. Another plant known as chamomile with similar actions and uses is Anthemis nobilis. Also from the Compositae family, it is a perennial with a daisy like flower- its yellow center is solid.

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Constituents

  • Volatile oils including a-bisabolol, bisabolol oxides, and matricine (converts to chamazulene with steam distillation)
  • Flavonoids including apegenin and quercitin
  • Hydroxycoumarines
  • Mucilages

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Action/Effects

  • Intestinal antispasmodic (5)
  • Mild sedative/anxiolytic (1)
  • Antiinflammatory (2)
  • Carminative (reduces flatulence)
  • Antibacterial

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Conditions used for

  • Inflammatory skin conditions like eczema (4)
  • Wounds (3)
  • Irritability/Anxiety/Insomnia (especially in children) (1)
  • Colic/Irritable bowel (5)
  • Indigestion

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Dosage

  • Internal-
  • Tea- 2-3 teaspoons to 1 cup boiling water, steep and strain and drink up to four times a day.
  • Liquid extract- 1- 1.5 teaspoons three times a day
  • Dry in capsules- 1000 mg three times a day
  • Best taken between meals.
  • Children’s dosage- Multiply adult dosage times the child’s weight, then divide by 150.
  • External-
  • Cream or ointment- apply liberally to affected areas three times a day.

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Side Effects

  • None known

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Contraindications

  • Allergy to plants of the compositae family, especially ragweed, aster or mums.

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Interactions with medications

  • None known

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Use in pregnancy & lactation

  • Safe for use in pregnancy and lactation

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References

1. Viola H et al, Apigenin, a component of Matricaria recutita flowers, is a central
benzodiazepine receptors-ligand with anxiolytic effects, Planta Med 1995;61(3):213-6
2. Safayhi H et al, Chamazulene: an antioxidant-type inhibitor of leukotriene B4 formation, Planta Med 1994;60(5):410-3
3. Glowania HJ et al, Effect of chamomile on wound healing--a clinical double-blind study, Z Hautkr 1987;62(17):1262, 1267-71
4. Aertgeerts P et al, Comparative testing of Kamillosan cream and steroidal (0.25%
hydrocortisone, 0.75% fluocortin butyl ester) and non-steroidal (5%
bufexamac) dermatologic agents in maintenance therapy of eczematous
diseases, Z Hautkr 1985;60(3):270-7
5. Achterrath-Tuckerman U, et al, Pharmacological investigations with compounds of chamomile V. Investigations on the spasmolytic effect of compounds of chamomile and Kamillosan on iolate guinea pig ileum, Planta Med 1980;39:38-50

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* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate. It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

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