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THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS OF CHAMOMILE (MATRICARIA RECUTITA)

Chamomile has white and yellow, simple daisy-like flowers and grows up to half a metre in height. Plant parts used are the dried flower heads and their essential oil. Chamomile extract produced by a cold extraction process is yellow; steam distillation produces the blue volatile oil.

Chamomile is largely known for 3 main actions:

  1. Anti-inflammatory - it reduces inflammation,
  2. Anti spasmodic - relieves spasm – can be used for dysmenorrhoea
  3. Carminative digestive herb – abdominal pain, colic, diarrhoea, dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, nausea, flatulence. Gastrointestinal tract disorders
  4. Anti septic - gingivitis, stomatitis
  5. Sedative - for sleep, anxiety, great for restless children

It is therefore strongly indicated for indigestion, diarrhoea, flatulence, nervous dyspepsia, travel sickness, and irritable bowel syndrome.

As a mild bitter, it is also recommended to stimulate bile

Recent pharmacological studies have shown the herb to have anti-tumour and anti-cancer actions and is said to be useful in the treatment of cancer of the liver, stomach, mouthC, skin and brain.

Children

Chamomile is a very safe herb for children and is used frequently by herbalists for childrens’ complaints:

  • teething pains,
  • Colic in infants
  • restlessness
  • fever management,
  • also recommended for children who had suffered from febrile convulsions.

External Applications:

  • Used externally for haemorrhoids
  • Applied as a poultice externally
  • Vulval itch
  • Use on breast abscesses and mastitis;
  • Used for varicose ulcers.
  • Extracts of chamomile are used in cosmetics
  • As bath preparations
  • In preparations to prevent sunburn
  • Topical applications of essential oils are safe
  • Used in the treatment of gout
  • To reduce the severity of sciatic pain

Caution:

  • Occasionally rare cases of allergic skin reactions have been reported.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis has been reported with the use of chamomile tea eye washes, and the pollens contained in the teas have been identified as the allergens responsible

Safety & Toxicology

  • Use of chamomile teas and extracts are considered safe during pregnancy and lactation. There are no known interactions with drugs, herbs or foods. German chamomile is considered to be non-toxic.

Dose:

Dry herb, liquid tinctures, essential oils, used as baths, wash

   
   
 

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© 2008 Ketki Vinaychandra – Singapore naturopath