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Chamomile quick review
Botanical description: German chamomile is an annual plant of the sunflower family Asteraceae. Roman chamomile is an aromatic, creeping perennial, growing to one foot in height.
Active constituents: volatile oil (bisabolol, bisabolol oxides A and B, chamazulene or azulenesse), quiterpene lactones, glycosides, hydroxycoumarins, flavonoids (apigenin, luteolin, patuletin, and quercetin), coumarins (herniarin and umbelliferone), terpenoids, and mucilages.
Health benefits : acts as a tonic, anodyne, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-allergenic, and sedative. Best known as a muscle relaxant and antispasmodic.

Dosage: three to four times daily between meals as a tea. Topical creams or ointments can be applied to the affected area three to four times daily.
Side effects : may increase anticoagulant effects. Chamomile should not be taken in conjunction with sedative medications or alcohol.
 
Roman Chamomile
Chamomile, Roman Pure Essential Oil (Chamaemelum nobile, steam-distilled) has traditionally been used for its refreshing yet calming and soothing properties. Roman Chamomile is widely used in shampoos and is particularly useful for sensitive skin and other skin types and is appropriate for children. Roman Chamomile by Natures Sunshine includes 100% pure Chamaemelum nobile oil. Click here for more information.
 

Chamomile


Chamomile is the name for various related plants of the family Asteraceae (aster family). The word chamomile is derived from the Greek chamos (ground) and melos (apple), referring to the plant's low growing habit and the fact that the fresh blooms are
somewhat apple-scented. Chamomile has small flower heads with about fifteen white strap shaped, reflexed ray florets and numerous tubular yellow perfect florets. Chamomile flowers have both an aromatic and bitter taste. German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) are the two major types of chamomile used for health conditions. German chamomile is a sweet-scented, smooth, branched annual growing to 2 1/2 ft. in height. It is native to Europe and Western Asia, and has become widely naturalized in the U.S. German chamomile is an annual plant of the sunflower family Asteraceae. German chamomile is a hardy, self-seeding annual herb. The hollow, bright gold cone of the blossom is ringed with numerous white rays. Synonyms of German chamomile include Chamomilla chamomilla, Chamomilla recutita, Matricaria chamomilla, and Matricaria suaveolens. Roman chamomile is an aromatic, creeping perennial, growing to one foot in height. It hails from the United Kingdom (UK) and is widely grown in American herb gardens. Roman camomile is a low European perennial plant found in dry fields and around gardens and cultivated grounds. The stem is procumbent, the leaves alternate, bipinnate, finely dissected, and downy to glabrous. The solitary, terminal flowerheads, rising 8 to twelve inches above the ground, consist of prominent yellow disk flowers and silver-white ray flowers. Roman chamomile is also known as Anthemis nobilis, camomile, garden camomile, ground apple, low camomile, or whig plant. Roman chamomile and German chamomile have been called the true chamomile because of their similar appearance and medicinal uses. Both have been used traditionally to calm frayed nerves, to treat various digestive disorders, to relieve muscle spasms and menstrual cramps, and to treat a range of skin conditions and mild infections. Chamomile also be used in a variety of face creams, drinks, hair dyes, shampoos, and perfumes. German chamomile, which is more commonly used everywhere except for England, where Roman chamomile is more common.
 

Active constituents and clinical pharmacology of chamomile


The active constituents of chamomile are mainly volatile oil (bisabolol, bisabolol oxides A and B, chamazulene or azulenesse), quiterpene lactones, glycosides, hydroxycoumarins, flavonoids (apigenin, luteolin, patuletin, and quercetin), coumarins (herniarin and umbelliferone), terpenoids, and mucilages. These active ingredients contribute to chamomile's anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and smooth-muscle relaxing action, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract. Bisabolol has significant antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory activity. Chamazulene has strong anti-inflammatory activity. It has been shown to block the cyclooxygenase enzyme in the synthesis of prostaglandins. Chamazulene is an artifactual component formed during heating of teas and extracts. Chamazulene and bisabolol directly reduce inflammation in tissues with which they come into contact, stimulate the formation of granulation tissue. Chamazulene is present in German chamomile, but only traces occur in Roman chamomile. The dicyclic ether in the volatile oil relaxes the smooth muscle, regulating peristalsis, while the carminative volatile oil reduces flatulence and irritation of the gut wall. The polysaccharides have an immunostimulant action which activates macrophages and B-lymphocytes. Nonvolatile constituents, including flavones (apigenin, luteolin, patuletin, and quercetin) are also antispasmodic. The coumarins herniarin and umbelliferone may quell inflammation and quiet smooth muscle spasms.
 

Medicinal uses and health benefits of chamomile


Chamomile has been used to treat a wide range of conditions and diseases when used internally or externally. This bittersweet herb acts medicinally as a tonic, anodyne, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-allergenic, and sedative. Chamomile tea can be used to treat digestive disturbances, gastrointestinal spasms, inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal
tract, and to treat coughs and colds, fevers and bronchitis. Chamomile contains bitter constituents that stimulate appetite and digestive secretions that help reduce flatulence. Chamomile's mildly sedating and muscle-relaxing effects can help those who suffer from insomnia to fall asleep more easily. Chamomile is best known as a muscle relaxant and antispasmodic. Chamomile helps to relieve nausea, heartburn, and stress-related flatulence. It may also be useful in the treatment of diverticular disorders and inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn's disease

Extract from the white and yellow heads of this daisy like plant (chamomile flowers) is used as an excellent skin soother and anti-inflammatory agent. Chamomile is used extensively in professional skin care products for its essential oil called azulene. Used as a lotion or added in oil form to a cool bath, chamomile eases the itching of eczema and other rashes and reduces skin inflammation. It is used in many hair care products to enhance color. It acts as an emollient, anti-inflammatory, skin soothing agent and provides antioxidation. Chamomile mouthwash has been studied as a treatment for ulcers and swelling inside of the mouth caused by X-ray therapy or cancer drugs. Camomile infusion is good for flatulent colic, dyspepsia, and for fever and restlessness in children. Eye drops made from these herbs are also used for tired eyes and mild ocular infections. Chamomile extract spray has been studied for preventing sore throat after intubation. When it is combined with bittersweet it can be used externally to cure bruises, sprains, callouses, and corns.

Chamomiles teas have been used for centuries as a mild, relaxing sleep aid, treatment for fevers, colds, stomach ailments, and as an anti-inflammatory. Chamomile tea has been used in the treatment of nerves and menstrual cramps. The tea is also useful for babies and small children with colds and stomach troubles. Cooled chamomile tea can be used in a compress to help soothe tired, irritated eyes and it may even help treat conjunctivitis. The calming effects of chamomile may help to relieve restlessness, tension, feelings of anxiety, migraine, tension headache and insomnia. Chamomile tea can help the body to remove mucus buildup associate with colds, sinus infections, and hayfever. When ground ginger is added to the tea it helps alleviate distates of food and loss of appetite. A cup of freshly made chamomile tea may be drunk to ease stomach and intestinal disturbances. The herbal tea can ease symptoms of colds and flu by relieving headache and reducing fever.

 

Dosage and administration of chamomile


To make chamomile tea, pour 5 ounces (about one-half cup) of boiling water over 3 grams (about 3 teaspoonfuls) of chamomile, steep 10 minutes, strain. Drink 3-4 times a day as needed. Chamomile is often taken three to four times daily between meals as a tea. As bath additive, mix about 16 tablespoonfuls of chamomile with 1 quart of water and add to the bath. Apply cream with a 3% to 10% chamomile content for psoriasis, eczema, or dry and flaky skin. Topical creams or ointments can be applied to the affected area three to four times daily. When using chamomile to treat burns, choose creams or tea-soaked dressings instead of greasy ointments. For muscle relaxation and antispasmodic effects, drink two or three cups of chamomile tea a day. For oral mucositis, an oral rinse made with 10-15 drops of German chamomile liquid extract in 100 ml warm water has been used three times daily.
 

Side effects, precautions, interactions


Chamomile is generally considered safe and nontoxic. Side effects are rare. Do not use tincture or essential oil version during pregnancy. Chamomile may increase anticoagulant effects. Chamomile should not be taken in conjunction with sedative medications or alcohol. Those who are allergic to ragweed or other plants in the Asteraceae family should avoid chamomile. Chamomile can interfere with blood clotting, do not use together with aspirin, warfarin or other substances that possess anticoagulant action. Chamomile may cause drowsiness in some individuals. In large doses, chamomile can cause vomiting.