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:
- Anti-inflammatory - it reduces inflammation,
- Anti spasmodic - relieves spasm – can be used for dysmenorrhoea
- Carminative digestive herb – abdominal pain, colic, diarrhoea, dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, nausea, flatulence. Gastrointestinal tract disorders
- Anti septic - gingivitis, stomatitis
- 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.
Chamomile is a very safe herb for children and is used frequently by herbalists for childrens’ complaints:
- teething pains,
- Colic in infants
- fever management,
- also recommended for children who had suffered from febrile convulsions.
- 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
- 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.
Dry herb, liquid tinctures, essential oils, used as baths, wash