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Medicinal Herb: German Chamomile

German Chamomile

Biological Name:
(Matricaria chamomilla, M. chamomilla)


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

German Chamomile Flowers

Introduction to Chamomile:

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].

Chamomile scientifically known as Matricaria chamomilla, is a flowering plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is native to Europe and Western Asia but is now cultivated in many parts of the world, including North America.

German chamomile is widely recognised for its medicinal properties and is commonly used in traditional herbal medicine. The plant has delicate, daisy-like flowers with white petals and yellow centers. It grows to a height of about 15-60 cm (6-24 inches) and has a strong, pleasant aroma.

The flowers of German chamomile are the main part used for medicinal purposes. They are harvested and dried to make chamomile tea or extracted to produce essential oil. The essential oil contains various compounds, including chamazulene, which is responsible for the blue color of the oil and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Chamomile is known for its calming and soothing effects, both internally and externally. It is commonly used to promote relaxation, relieve stress, and aid in sleep. Chamomile tea is often consumed as a natural remedy for insomnia, anxiety, and digestive issues like indigestion, bloating, and gas.

In addition to its calming properties, German chamomile has been used topically for centuries to soothe skin irritations and promote wound healing. It can be applied as a diluted essential oil or used in the form of creams, ointments, or compresses to alleviate skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and minor burns.

It’s important to note that while German chamomile is generally considered safe for most people, it can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, especially those with known allergies to plants in the Asteraceae family, such as ragweed. If you have any concerns or specific health conditions, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional before using German chamomile for medicinal purposes.

Active Constituents in Chamomile:

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 of Chamomile 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].


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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