Matricaria chamomilla or German chamomile, Baboona, Sonbhal, Babunphul. The word chamomile comes from the Greek meaning “earth-apple” which is derived from (chamai) meaning “on the ground”and (mēlon) meaning “apple”. It is so called because of the apple-like scent of the plant. It is also known as a “Plant Doctor” herb because it has a remedial and healthy effect on neighboring plants – especially plants which appear weak or “sick.” Chamomile has been used since ancient times for a variety of medicinal and therapeutic purposes. Dioscorides – a Greek physician, pharmacologist, and botanist with Roman Emperor Nero’s army – prescribed chamomile for several gastrointestinal disorders, nervous conditions, and liver disorders.
terpenoids, alpha bisabolol and its oxide
azulenes, including chamazulene
flavonoids (including apigenin, quercetin, patuletin and luteolin) and thier glucosides
Minerals: Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium etc
Systemically used as:
Anti inflammatory, Antiseptic, Analgesic, Anxiolytic, Sedative, Antispasmodic, Anti allergic.
GIT: Indigestion, abdominal pain, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, anorexia, constipation, oral ulcers.
Dysmenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, renal stones.
Liver diseases, gall bladder stone.
Fever, Pyrexia of unknown origin.
Insomnia, headaches, anxiety, stress.
Asthma, Allergic rhinitis and other allergic conditions.
Dosage and Method of use:
3-5gm flower heads to be used as infusion, twice or thrice daily (popularly known as chamomile tea.)
Also available in the form of capsules.
Also available in combination with other herbs, to enhance the desired effects.
Peppermint Chamomile Tea: Take 1 tablespoon of Chamomile flowers and 1 tablespoon Peppermint leaves. Bring 2 cups cold fresh water to a boil and remove from heat. Add chamomile and peppermint into the pot and place the lid tightly. Keep it for at least 5 minutes. Strain and drink.
Tasty chamomile tea can also be prepared by infusing 1 heaped tsp of flower head in water and adding lemon and a little black pepper or cinnamon. Honey can be used as sweetener.
Topically Used as:
Antiseptic: for wound healing and to prevent infection.
Anti inflammatory: Helps in wound healing, eczema, diaper rashes,etc
Analgesic: Helps in sprains, backaches, body aches, bruises, joint pains etc
Sitz bath for treating hemorrhoids and anal fissure.
Method of use:
Lotions and ointment (water or oil extract) for anti inflammatory and antiseptic effect.
Hot fomentation with water or as poultice for analgesic effect.
Sitz bath in chamomile water for hemorrhoids and anal fissure.
Take 60 gm of chamomile flower heads and boil in 1.5 lit water for few minutes. Cool upto tolerable temperature and use for sitz bath or hot fomentation for aches and pains.
Evidence based uses: Evidences seems to support almost all the traditional uses of chamomile.
Effects on CNS: Studies have shown moderate effect of chamomile extract in treatment of Generalized Anxity Disorder (GAD). Luteolin was also found to decrease proinflammatory cytokines in microglial cells in vivo and in vitro.
Skin diseases: Chamomile oil has been proved very effective for healing wounds in many animal and cell line studies including burn wound. It was proved that chamomile acts faster than corticosteroids in wound healing in vitro and in vivo. It is also an effective anti pruritic (anti itching) agent due to presence of Bisabolol.
Diarrheal diseases: It significantly reduced the duration of acute diarrheal disease in children aged 6 months to 5.5 years, as compared to placebo.
Anti oxidant: It has strong anti oxidant property in alcohol and aqueous extract (infusion).
Anti Microbial: Preliminary data also suggest anti microbial activity of alcohol and chloroform extract (but not aqueous extract) of chamomile against various organisms like Shigella dysenteriae, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Bacillus cereus. It also helps in boosting immunity.
Anti cancer: It is benificial in cancer in two ways. Firstly It selectively inhibits cancerous cell growth with minimal action on normal human cell, as is proved in a human cell line study. The active anti cancer component is apigenin 7-O-glucoside. Secondly it prevents cancer as is shown in a study where chamomile inhibits mutagenic effects of daunorubicin and methyl methanesulfonate in mouse bone marrow cells.
Diabetes: Significant hypoglycemic effect was observed in chamomile fed mouse as compared to control mouse. It also helps in preventing complications of diabetes like retinopathy, neuropathy and nephropatthy by inhibiting ALR2 enzymes and sorbitol.
Dental health: Chamomile extract irrigation has been found effective in removing dental smear layer, thus aiding dental health.
Chamomile is generally regarded as safe when taken in prescribed amount.
If taken in large quantity it may cause GI upset like nausea and vomiting.
People having allergy to asters, daisies, chrysanthemums, or ragweed, may also be allergic to chamomile as it belongs to same family.
It should not be taken during pregnancy and lactation.
Inform your physician about any alternative medicine you use regularly.
Though generally regarded as safe, it could have adverse effects when taken regularly and in large doses.
Studies have shown that chamomile significantly inhibits Cytochrome P450 enzymes, therefore, drugs which are metabolized through liver are likely to interact with its concurrent ingestion.
It could potentiate the effects of sedatives, antidepressants, anti hypertensives and anti-diabetics .
As it contains coumarin, it increases the chances of bleeding in people taking anticoagulants (warfarin, heparin etc).