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Medicinal Herb: German Chamomile

German Chamomile

Biological Name:
(Matricaria chamomilla)

Family:
Asteraceae

Other Names:
Camomile, matricaria, anthemis, ground apple, Roman camomile, garden camomile, low camomile, whig plant, German camomile, wild camomile.

Chamomile Flowers

Introduction:

Chamomile is a widely recognised herb in Western culture. Its medicinal usage dates back to antiquity where such notables as Hippocrates, Galen, and Asclepius made written reference to it. A common ingredient today in herbal teas because of its calming, carminative, and spasmolytic properties, it is also a popular ingredient in topical health and beauty products for its soothing and anti-inflammatory effects on skin. Chamomile has a sweet, grassy, and lightly fruity aroma. Its flowers are daisy-like, with yellow centres (approximately 1-1.5 cm in diameter) and white petals (between 12-20 in number). It is from the plant’s fresh and dried flower heads that infusions, liquid extracts, and essential oils are made[1].

Active Constituents:

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 actions and include: antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anti-ulcer, anti-viral, sedative effects, and smooth muscle-relaxing effects, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract[1,2].

Traditional Applications in Herbal Medicine:

  • Blocked tear duct
  • Canker sores (mouth ulcers)
  • Colic
  • Diarrhoea
  • Eczema
  • Gingivitis (periodontal disease)
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Skin irritations

Recent research has shown Chamomile to be effective in the treatment of other conditions including: Diabetes, Mouth, mucositis, and gingival bleeding, Osteoarthritis of the knee,  Premenstrual syndrome, and Ulcerative colitis [3].

References

1. Matricaria chamomilla, Alternative Medicine Review Volume 13, Number 1 March 2008

2. Stuart, Malcolm.  (1979).  The Encyclopedia of herbs and herbalism.  London :  Orbis Books

3. https://www.drugs.com/npp/chamomile.html

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Page last updated: 26th June 2020

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