Chamomile is a flowering plant that has been used medicinally for centuries. It belongs to the Asteraceae/Compositae family, and its two common varieties are German Chamomile, or Chamomilla recutita, and Roman Chamomile, or Chamaemelum nobile. It is native to Europe and Asia and is known as a plant with branched, erect, and smooth stems. Chamomile or sometimes misspelled “camomile” are also called Italian, German, wild, and Hungarian chamomile.
Chamomile tea is one of the most popular forms of chamomile, but the herb can also be taken in supplement form or used topically. Chamomile essential oils are utilized in cosmetics and aromatherapy for their calming and softening effects on the skin. Chamomile flower powder can be pure or combined with other common therapeutic herbs in chamomile tea bags. The dry powder form has also been utilized in the past to treat long-term health issues. A chamomile tincture can also be made by combining one part chamomile flower with four parts water containing 12 percent grain alcohol; this form treats summer diarrhea in children and minimizes cramping when combined with purgatives.
Chamomile’s dried flowers are high in terpenoids and flavonoids, contributing to its therapeutic qualities. It offers three main health benefits, including reducing menstrual cramps, soothing digestion, and fighting inflammation. However, the herb has many more uses, like boosting the immune system. Hay fever, inflammation, muscle spasms, ulcers, wounds, gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatic pain, and hemorrhoids are some of the popular uses for chamomile medicines. Chamomile flowers are also used to treat inflammatory pain and external swelling caused by infections or abscesses. The whole chamomile plant is used to make herb beers and a lotion for external use in toothaches, earaches, neuralgia, and cases of external swelling. It is used as a bath additive and is recommended for soothing anogenital inflammation. The tea infusion is used as a mouthwash or gargle for inflammation of the mouth and throat mucous membranes. Inhalation of vaporized essential oils extracted from chamomile flowers also eases anxiety and depression.
The top producers of various forms of chamomile supplements are Wise Woman Herbals, Gaia Herbs, Nature’s Way, Herb Pharm, Pure Encapsulations, and Organic India.
The use of chamomile is considered safe. However, users should beware of potential side effects, including hypersensitivity reactions, low blood sugar levels, and bleeding tendencies when combined with blood-thinning medications. People using certain medications should speak with a doctor before implementing chamomile into their diet. Read on to learn more about chamomile and its various uses.
What Are The Benefits Of Chamomile?
Chamomile has the following benefits:
- Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
- Antimicrobial potential
- Can induce sleep and relaxant activities
- Reduces muscle spasm
- Possess anxiolytic potential and treats depressive symptoms
- Reduces risk of osteoporosis
- Lowers glucose levels and maintains diabetic control
- Facilitates cancer prevention
- Adjunct to heart health
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Treats the common colds and sore throats
- Treats stomachache, irritable bowel syndrome, and digestive issues
According to Miraj & Alesaeidi, the most important benefits of chamomile are reducing menstrual cramps, soothing digestion, and fighting inflammation. The chemical compounds responsible for these are apigenin, luteolin, caffeic acid, flavonoids including apigenin, quercetin, patuletin, luteolin, chlorogenic acid, terpene bisabolol, farnesene, chamazulene, and coumarin.
1. Reducing Menstrual Pain
The term “dysmenorrhea” refers to uterine contractions during menstruation. These occur at the start of the first menstrual period or shortly after in ovulation cycles in the absence of any pelvic or pathologic damage. Menstrual pain is the most prevalent type of pain experienced by women, affecting 80 percent to 97 percent of fertile women. According to the book of Williams Gynecology, primary dysmenorrhea is primarily genetic, while secondary dysmenorrhea results from a gynecological pathology. It can also be part of premenstrual syndrome.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a broad term that covers a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms that are accompanied by menstrual pain. Aside from physical complaints, behavioral and emotional symptoms are also bothersome and include anger, irritability, increased appetite, depression, and loss of concentration. According to Khalesi, Beiranvand, & Bokaie, chamomile is identified as a useful herbal therapy for treating PMS symptoms. The therapeutic effects of chamomile such as anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and anti-anxiety benefits can influence PMS.
Chamomile reduces menstrual pain because it has antispasmodic qualities that can help reduce the unpleasant cramps that come with menstruation. The chemical Spiroether, in chamomile, is a potent antispasmodic that relaxes aching, stiff muscles. On the other hand, Chamomile’s additional anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties derived from flavonoids have also been useful in treating PMS symptoms. It lowers the sense of pain by suppressing the cyclooxygenase enzyme, responsible for increased pain during the cycle. According to McKay & Blumberg, the additional components of chamomile that suppress pain by directly acting on the central nervous system are matrisin, metoxicomarin, flavonoids, phytostrogenic, and apigenin.
Human studies have also demonstrated that chamomile tea reduces anxiety and irritability associated with PMS. Glycine, apigenin, luteolin, and flavonoid are brain stimulating molecules. They are also nerve relaxants, explaining why chamomile is also good for stress and anxiety alleviation. It also helps alleviate the behavioral and mood changes accompanying premenstrual syndrome. Apigenin, a component of chamomile tea, helps to soothe the over-firing sympathetic nervous system by reducing the influence of excitatory neurotransmitters and hormones on the mind and body. Chamomile also helps to modify dopamine and serotonin functions, which can assist in alleviating or at least lessen the impact of depressive symptoms.
In a crossover study by Sharifi, Simbar, Mojab, & Majd, Chamomile was compared with Mefenamic acid, the conventional treatment for PMS. The researchers reported that Chamomile resulted in a more effective reduction of menstrual cramps than mefenamic acid. It also alleviated the psychological symptoms associated with PMS. In the study, chamomile extract capsules containing 100 mg of the extract and 150 mg of starch were used. In another study, by Jenabi & Ebrahimzadeh, participants were given chamomile tea twice a day for a month, one week before menstruation up to the first five days of their periods, resulting in menstrual pain reduction. The study of Radfar, Shahoie, Noori, Jalilian, & Nasab, gave participants 250 mg chamomile capsule every 8 hours to avail of chamomile’s capability to reduce menstrual pain.
2. Treating Diabetes And Lowering Blood Sugar
Studies on the protective effect of chamomile in the treatment of diabetes and prevention of diabetic complications are on the rise. This is due to the quest for more efficient strategies for developing phytopharmaceutical products or functional foods to prevent or cure metabolic diseases. According to Rafraf, Zemestani, & Asghari-Jafarabadi, chamomile is one of the most widely used medicinal plants to treat metabolic disorders. In some cultures, chamomile tea helps with glycemic control and prevents diabetic complications.
In animal experiments, two chemicals have been linked to chamomile’s protection against diabetes: sesquiterpenes and phenolic compounds. These phenolic compounds are apigenin, quercetin, patuletin, luteolin, and glucosides.
Chamomile has both short-term and long-term effects on diabetic control. For its short-term benefits, apigenin and esculetin were the implicated components. According to Panda and Kar, apigenin, one of the active components of chamomile, boosts blood insulin and lowers serum glucose in diabetic rats. In animal trials, Cemek et al. also demonstrated a reduction in blood glucose using chamomile. The effects of various chamomile extracts on blood glucose measurements have been linked to inhibiting key enzymes involved in glucose synthesis and storage. Apigenin stimulated peripheral glucose uptake by acting on enzymes, particularly in muscle and adipose tissue. Chamomile extract may also reduce the rate of glucose absorption and slow the rate of food digestion, leading to a more steady state of glucose supply. In a study by Kato, Minoshima, Yamamoto, Adachi, Watson, & Nash, esculetin directly suppressed high blood sugar in rats fed a high glucose diet 15 and 30 minutes after intake of esculetin. It was also noted that chamomile alcoholic extract has antioxidant properties.
Rafraf, Zemestani, & Asghari-Jafarabadi studied the long-term effects of chamomile extract, which showed a decrease in blood glucose level and HbA1C in pregnant rats. Weidner et al. propose several mechanisms in their study. First, chamomile extract activates the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARγ) and its forms. This activation leads to a decrease in insulin resistance, the main pathology in diabetes mellitus. One of the chamomile’s active ingredients, luteolin, can enhance insulin sensitivity, and induce PPARγ activation. In addition, luteolin increased the expression of GLUT-4 receptors. Upregulation of the GLUT-4 receptor, an insulin-dependent glucose transporter, can improve insulin sensitivity. Luteolin also increased adiponectin gene expression, which activates the AMPK enzyme and increases peripheral glucose utilization. Adiponectin also increases PPARγ gene expression in muscles and fat tissue to use glucose efficiently. It also directly reduces liver glucose production.
The effects of chamomile in preventing diabetic complications from chronic hyperglycemia is another area of interest. An elevated sorbitol level in the red blood cells can effect the eyes, kidneys, and other organs that are often damaged in diabetes. In the study by Kato, Minoshima, Yamamoto, Adachi, Watson, & Nash, components of chamomile extract (umbelliferone, esculetin, luteolin, and quercetin) inhibited multiple enzymes which convert edible sugar to blood glucose and to sorbitol. Thus, chamomile extract inhibited the enzyme aldose reductase by the action of its components, umbelliferone, esculetin, luteolin, and quercetin. These components significantly inhibited the build-up of sorbitol in human red blood cells, a premise that could prevent the progression of diabetes and its complications.
There are different chamomile concentrations against diabetes in various studies. In the study by Kato, Minoshima, Yamamoto, Adachi, Watson, & Nash, hot water chamomile extract at 500 mg/kg/day orally decreased hyperglycemia in rats with a high glucose diet. In the study by Najla et al., water extract of chamomile leaves given at 200 mg/kg once daily for 21 days resulted in reducing fasting blood sugar. Cemek et al. used 50–100 mg/kg/day of ethanolic extract of chamomile orally to cause a significant blood glucose decrease after 7–14 days. In the study by Rafraf, Zemestani, & Asghari-Jafarabadi, a teabag of approximately 3 g of chamomile tea infused for 10 min in 150 mL hot water without milk or sugar was given to subjects. They drank the tea three times a day right after meals for eight weeks. The result was an immediate glucose reduction after meals.
For long-term control, Darvishpadok et al. noticed that the administration of 100, 300, and 500 mg/kg of chamomile ethanolic extract in diabetic rats significantly decreased blood glucose and HbA1C after 17 days. Weidner et al. noted activation of PPARγ using chamomile at 200 mg/kg/day for six weeks, which led to considerably reduced insulin resistance.
3. Slowing Or Preventing Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is caused by a combination of factors that lead to a loss of bone mass and strength. The development of this disease may be influenced by failure to achieve ideal bone mass and strength during growth or an imbalance in bone remodeling that leads to bone loss throughout life. According to Genari, osteoporosis and fractures in women are mostly caused by estrogen insufficiency after menopause. This imbalances bone resorption by osteoclasts and bone creation by osteoblasts. The imbalance leads to a net bone loss with each remodeling cycle. It is in this regard that chamomile exerts anti-osteoporotic benefits.
Bioactive compounds discovered in chamomile extracts include phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, and phytoestrogens, which have antioxidant properties and may act as estrogen agonists/antagonists. According to Sohgaura, Chitme, Havagiray, Hs, & Azamath, apigenin, a key ingredient with substantial antioxidant, anti-invasive and apoptotic properties, also has a significant role in osteoporosis.
Chamomile works in the same way as selective estrogen receptor modulators or SERMs, according to a study by Kassi, Papoutsi, Fokialakis, Messari, Mitakou, & Moutsatsou. SERMs are substances that attach to estrogen receptors to modulate their action. These receptors are present in osteoblasts (bone-forming cells), osteoclasts (bone-destroying cells), osteocytes (bone precursors), and bone marrow stromal cells (primitive bones). When these compounds bind to the estrogen receptors on these cells, there is a reduction in the production and longevity of osteoclasts, promotion of osteoblast activity, and other effects on calcium homeostasis.
Tsivelika, Irakli, Mavromatis, Chatzopoulou, & Karioti, add that chamomile also possesses antioxidant activity due to flavonoids. According to Domazetovic, antioxidants play a vital role in maintaining the proper bone remodeling process and protecting bone health. They do so by preventing osteocyte death and moderating osteoclast activity, increasing osteoblast activity, and inducing osteogenesis. In young people, antioxidants play an important role in promoting the formation of optimal peak bone mass. In the elderly and menopausal women, antioxidants prevent bone loss, which is often linked to bone fracture, morbidity, and mortality.
In the research by Sohgaura, Chitme, Havagiray, Hs, & Azamath, rats whose ovaries were removed to simulate estrogen deficiency showed an increased serum calcium level, bone mineral content, bone weight, and bone strength after treatment with chamomile. The extracts used were treated with methanol at a dose of 150 mg/kg and 300 mg/kg, indicating usefulness in osteoporosis.
4. Reducing Inflammation
Chronic inflammation plays a key role in the onset and progression of various human diseases. Cancers, esophageal reflux, diverticular disease, and other inflammatory diseases of the joints, brain, and gastrointestinal tract, are linked to inflammation. According to Gupta, Bhaskaran, Shukla, & Srivastava, inflammation-related diseases have traditionally been treated with chamomile. She adds that chamomile is a herbal plant that has been used for ages to cure inflammatory disorders like eczema, ulcers, gout, neuralgia, and rheumatic aches. The German Commission E has approved it for oral use in treating gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases, various skin disorders, and inflammatory disorders of oral and anogenital mucosal surfaces.
Numerous flavonoid compounds in chamomile are linked to its therapeutic benefits. The basic structure of chamomile consists of flavone (apigenin, luteolin) or flavonol-derivatives (quercetin, patuletin). Essential oils, such as terpenoids, a-bisabolol, azulenes, chalmuzene, and acetylene derivatives are also important components that exert anti-inflammatory benefits, Gupta adds.
First, chamomile possesses antioxidant effects by inhibiting macrophages’ nitric oxide production. Macrophages are important cells in the inflammatory response because they create excessive levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, enzymes, and mediators, which contribute to disease progression. Activated macrophages express inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), an enzyme that helps create nitric oxide (NO) and is responsible for NO generation that lasts for a long time. According to Gupta, Bhaskaran,Shukla, & Srivastava, this process produces inflammation and, eventually, cancer. In her study, chamomile decreases NO generation and iNOS expression in macrophages. This decreased enzyme production is one of the mechanisms underlying its anti-inflammatory benefits.
Second, she adds that the component apigenin can interfere with leukocyte adherence. This vital step in an inflammatory response triggers a cascade that worsens inflammation by producing more interleukins and tumor necrosis factors.
In another study by Srivastava, Pandey, & Gupta, chamomile also reduces the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). This COX-2 is responsible for producing prostaglandin E2, a mediator of pain, carcinogenesis, and inflammation. The increased levels of the COX-2 gene have been linked to inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. Chamomile regulates the gene responsible for COX-2 expression and directly inhibits the COX-2 enzyme activity. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines frequently inhibit prostaglandin formation by interfering directly with cyclooxygenase enzymes (NSAIDs). These mechanisms contribute to chamomile’s anti-inflammatory, anti-neoplastic, and immunoregulatory properties.
Additionally, in the study by McKay and Blumberg, the components called chamazulene, alpha-bisabolol, and apigenin were seen to have the highest anti-inflammatory activity directly affecting the central nervous system. The anti-inflammatory properties of azulenes may be due to an action on the pituitary and adrenal glands. This results in increased cortisone production and decreased histamine production. Increased cortisone and decreased histamine in the body lower the inflammatory response. In the same study, animals who were given apigenin from dried chamomile extracts at a dose of 50 mg/kg orally effectively lowered the immune response five hours after treatment.
Menghini et al. also studied the effect of chamomile on Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The study used freeze-dried extract obtained from the flowers of cultivated Chamomilla Recutita, the dose of which was not stated. According to the findings, antioxidant/anti-inflammatory herbal extract supplementation could be a novel way to combat IBDs. IBDs are chronic diseases marked by ulceration and disturbance of the colonic mucosa or any other region of the digestive system (Crohn’s disease).
Shoara, Hashempur, Ashraf, Salehi, Dehshahri, & Habibagahi also studied the effect of chamomile in alleviating rheumatic and osteoarthritis (OA). The topical use of chamomile oil using 1.5mL and applied three times per day for three weeks proved to contain anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. The anti-inflammatory effects were comparable to corticosteroids, while the analgesic provision was the same as NSAIDs. This was attributed to chamomile’s terpenoids and flavonoids. Chamomile flower oil decreased the usage of analgesics by patients with knee OA. In addition, chamomile oil had some positive benefits on the patients’ pain, stiffness, and physical activity.
5. Cancer Treatment And Prevention
Chemoprevention is the use of naturally occurring elements and pharmacological medications to prevent or reverse the course of carcinogenesis. According to Gupta, chamomile is a medicinal plant known to contain the richest source of apigenin. It has attracted a lot of attention as a chemopreventive drug. Matić, Juranić, Šavikin, Zdunić, Nađvinski & Gođevac say that it has low toxicity to normal cells but has the potent inhibitory capacity on cancer cells compared to other flavonoids.
According to Patel, Shukla, & Gupta, apigenin is useful for cancer prevention because it works in six ways: antioxidant, antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antiproliferative properties and the ability to stop metastasis. It is implicated in cancer prevention against breast, colon, prostate, cervical, ovarian, lung, skin, blood, thyroid, and liver cancers.
First, apigenin works as an antioxidant. According to laboratory studies, apigenin enhances the removal of toxic metals, scavenges free radicals, and stimulates phase II detoxifying enzymes in cells. Reuter, Gupta, Chaturvedi, & Aggarwal explain that these are important mechanisms to prevent reactive oxygen species (ROS) from forming over time in response to long-term environmental stress. ROS build-up can cause considerable damage to cell structure and function, leading to neoplastic transformation.
Second, apigenin has been shown to possess anti-mutagenic properties. This was observed in animal studies where genes were induced with a toxic substance called nitropyrene. Aside from genetics, some cancers arise from bacterial infections which later mutate into cancer– a process that apigenin can inhibit.
Third, apigenin is a potent inhibitor of ornithine decarboxylase, an enzyme involved in tumor development. This process is responsible for chamomile’s anticarcinogenic potential. Apigenin has also been proven to raise glutathione levels in cells, improving the body’s natural defense against oxidative stress. In skin and colon cancer models, exposure to apigenin before a carcinogenic insult has been demonstrated to provide a protective benefit.
Fourth, the anti-inflammatory potential of apigenin helps in chemoprevention. According to Srivastava, Pandey, & Gupta, there is mounting evidence that chronic inflammation plays a key role in the onset and progression of cancer. In the same investigation, the authors discovered that chamomile selectively inhibits COX-2. The COX-2 pathway is responsible for prostaglandin formation. These mechanisms of action are similar to those of NSAIDs, which have been shown to have cancer-preventive characteristics due to their ability to block prostaglandin formation.
Fifth, apigenin inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells. Srivastava, Pandey, & Gupta, studied this potential and saw that chamomile could induce apoptosis of cancer cells. Apoptosis is a well-known biological response demonstrated by cells in response to DNA damage, and it’s a valuable marker for screening components for potential anticancer drug development. Chamomile causes cancer cell death, while it has little effect on normal cells at the same dosage.
Lastly, apigenin can prohibit cancer cell spread. Cancer cells, like normal cells, rely on angiogenesis to reproduce and increase in number. Through tyrosine kinase receptors, vascular growth factors drive the creation of blood vessels. According to Al-Dabbagh, Elhaty, Elhaw, Murali, Al Mansoori, Awad, & Amin, chamomile can directly modulate the activity of these vascular growth factors so that the downstream process cannot push through.
In the study by Al-Dabbagh, Elhaty, Elhaw, Murali, Al Mansoori, Awad, & Amin, 10 grams of dried chamomile flowers were processed using 70% ethanol for extraction. These were then macerated for 48 h at 4 °C, filtered, and concentrated at 40 °C. The final solution is a 30 mg/mL processed chamomile in 50% ethanol, showing antiproliferative, antiangiogenesis, and apoptotic activity against cancer cells.
6. Helping With Sleep And Relaxation
The prevalence of insomnia rises as people become older. Age-related changes result in lighter sleep and a reduced ability to sleep. According to Mehrdad Abdullahzadeh, despite recent improvements in chemistry and pharmacology, the use of alternative medicine sleeping and calming agents is increasing. Among these, Matricaria chamomilla is a plant that has been used as a sleep aid and sedative in traditional medicine.
The benzodiazepines and their equivalents have been the most extensively used hypnotic medicines. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the most abundant neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA has an inhibitory effect, lowering the activity of neurons. Benzodiazepines bind to the GABA receptors to enhance their effect. Thus, it has a calming impact on the brain and can induce sleep. However, benzodiazepines are known to cause various side effects, including drug dependence, tolerance, rebound insomnia, forgetfulness, and muscle relaxation.
Chamomile is commonly used in teas and oils for its calming and relaxing properties. Its precise mechanism of action is uncertain. McKay and Blumberg explain that apigenin and other chamomile compounds have been demonstrated to bind to benzodiazepine receptors to enhance GABA action. The hypnotic effects of benzodiazepine receptor agonists on the sleep-wake cycle in humans and animals are well established. Shinomiya, Inoue, Utsu, Tokunaga, Masuoka, Ohmori, & Kamei studied sleep-disturbed model rats. According to the study, in mice, chamomile extract caused a considerable lengthening of the sleeping period. It was also discovered that apigenin reduced locomotive activity in rats. These researchers demonstrated these effects are due to the fractions of extracts from Matricaria chamomilla that are selectively bound to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain.
According to Amsterdam et al., one or more of its flavonoid constituents decreases anxiety by affecting GABA, noradrenaline (NA), dopamine (DA), and serotonin neurotransmission, which are important signals in the regulation of cognition, behavior, and mood. Depression results from disrupted function in one or more steps of this chemical transfer. Second, chamomile exerts its relaxation effect by modulating hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis function. During periods of stress, the body has emergency operations to assure survival. Activation of the HPA axis is perhaps the most well-studied aspect of the stress response in humans and mammals. Stephens & Wand consider alterations in this HPA axis function crucial in developing mood and affective disorders. By resetting this HPA axis into normal, the body can adapt well to the stressor.
In a study conducted by Chang & Chen on postpartum women, drinking chamomile tea was reported to calm and improve mood. According to the experimental group in this study, the benefits of drinking German chamomile tea include encouraging emotional stability, relaxation, and a fragrant smell. Drinking German chamomile tea before bedtime can help soothe restlessness, facilitate the postnatal paternal relationship, and relieve postpartum exhaustion in postpartum moms.
In the study by Shinomiya, Inoue, Utsu, Tokunaga, Masuoka, Ohmori, & Kamei, the hypnotic activities of chamomile extracts were effective when given as a chamomile extract of 300 mg/kg. Subjects were also able to fall asleep faster, shortening their sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep). Participants also experienced deep sleep lasting 90 min following administration of chamomile tea. On the other hand, according to Mehrdad Abdullahzadeh, a therapeutic dose of 400 mg twice a day after lunch and dinner for four weeks found that chamomile extract exhibits benzodiazepine-like characteristics in rats’ sleep, allowing them to sleep peacefully. The results of such studies can justify that chamomile has both relaxation properties and the ability to improve sleep quality.
7. Treating Cold Symptoms
The term “common cold” refers to a wide range of self-limiting illnesses caused by various viruses. The frequency varies by age, with adults having fewer episodes than younger children and by season, with more episodes in the winter and fall. According to Gupta, Srivastava, J, & Shankar, E, the common cold is usually not life-threatening, but its consequences, like pneumonia, can be fatal if not treated properly. In this regard, inhaling steam with chamomile extract has been shown to aid with common cold symptoms.
Consumption of chamomile tea enhances the immune system and aid in the battle against cold-related diseases. According to Barrett, viral respiratory infections like the common cold are characterized by the invasion of viruses in the nasopharyngeal area, which elicits a cascade of local and systemic immune responses. Locally, Uteshev, B., Laskova, I., & Afanas’ev defines that chamomile possesses an immunomodulating impact due to its phenolic component. It activates the peripheral blood immune system regulatory cells and increases the signals to effector cells to recruit helper cells. These mechanisms could explain why the tea enhances the immune system and combat infections associated with colds.
Sometimes, the initial viral infection associated with common colds can result in superimposed bacterial infections. In such instances, chamomile can contribute its antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Miraj & Alesaeid showed that this plant’s extract and essential oil have potent antibacterial properties against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, including E. coli, Salmonella Typhimurium, Bacillus, and Staph aureus. The high amount of phenolic chemicals in this plant contributes to its antibacterial properties. These phenolic compounds are flavonoids, apigenin, terpenoids, phenolic chemicals, and matricin. In addition, drinking chamomile tea was linked to a large increase in urinary levels of hippurate, a breakdown product of compounds known as phenolics, which have been linked to increased antibacterial activity, according to researchers at the American Chemical Society.
According to a study cited by Gupta, Srivastava, & Shankar, chamomile can be taken orally as an infusion of chamomile tea or inhaled by boiling the blooming tops as a classic cold cure. As a supportive treatment for the common cold, a cup or two of chamomile tea per day is harmless and may be beneficial.
8. Treatment For Mild Skin Conditions
Several studies have examined the benefits of topically applied chamomile formulations on skin inflammation associated with atopic dermatitis or eczema, radiation therapy, and erythema, according to Mckay & Blumberg. Externally, the medicine in powder form treats slow-healing wounds, skin eruptions, and infections like shingles and boils, as well as hemorrhoids and irritation of the mouth, throat, and eyes, according to Singh, Khanam, Misra, and Srivastava. Thornfeldt adds that the German Commission E approved chamomile for inflammatory mucocutaneous illnesses, wound and burn therapy, and antiallergic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antioxidant.
According to Singh, Khanam, Misra, and Srivastava, the highest antioxidant activity is found in extracts from chamomile flower heads and leaves, and among its chemical constituents, bisabolol and chamazulene have the highest antioxidant activity.
In a review by Thornfeldt, he notes the antiinflammatory ingredients as follows. Alpha-bisabolol, chamazulene, levomenol, and matricin are the key anti-inflammatory compounds in German chamomile. Bisaboloxides, farnesenes, choline, glycosides, flavonoids like apigenin and rutin, tannins, hydroxycoumarins like umbelliferone, mucilages, saccharides, fatty acids, and salicylates are some of the other active anti-inflammatory chemicals. Levomenol is an anti-inflammatory and natural moisturizing ingredient that has been shown to improve skin texture and elasticity while also reducing the effects of photodamage. Chamazulene has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in wound healing. Chamazulene blocks the formation of leukotrienes that produce lipid peroxidation, leukocyte infiltration, and histamine release. Apigenin prevents adhesion molecules from forming. Bisabolol promotes granulation tissue.
Gupta, in his review, mentions chamomile’s effects on a skin condition called eczema. Eczema or atopic dermatitis arises from an overreactive immune system. There is skin barrier dysfunction, changes in immune responses, and a hypersensitivity reaction. Topical chamomile was around 60% as effective as 0.25 percent hydrocortisone cream in treating the condition. When used as a cream containing chamomile extract, Roman chamomile of the Manzana type is beneficial. The Manzana variety of chamomile has high levels of active components and does not have the allergic potential of other chamomile varieties. In another study cited by Gupta, chamomile cream was noted to be at par with 0.5 percent hydrocortisone cream in individuals suffering from medium-degree atopic dermatitis. After two weeks of treatment, chamomile cream demonstrated a little advantage over 0.5 percent hydrocortisone and a minor difference between the two.
On the other hand, McKay & Blumberg cites a study that examined the effectiveness of chamomile in wound care. A compress containing chamomile extract reduces wound area and enhances wound drying in individuals with weeping wounds following dermabrasion for tattoo removal. The authors add that topical chamomile cream was superior to 0.5 percent hydrocortisone in treating sunburn, with statistically significant wound area and healing time reductions.
Jarrahi describes that anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial drugs are good candidates for burn wound healing– chamomile extract has all of these properties. This effect was primarily attributed to alpha-bisabolol. In burns, first, chemical mediators elicit an inflammatory response. Then, free radicals are produced at the site of injury and cause damage to cellular membranes, nucleotides, proteins, and lipids. These processes slow down healing; chamomile having antioxidant properties reverses this. Lastly, chamomile having antibacterial properties prevents superinfection, which causes a rapid increase in chemical mediator levels, aggravating the severity of the burn wound. For this purpose, chamomile flowers cleaned in water were used. Then, 100 g of cleaned and crushed flowers were added to a 100 mL olive oil bottle and stirred well for 24 hours before being filtered through a muslin cloth. The clear filtrate was then used until the burns healed.
Gupta adds that this herb can be taken as oil for infusion, tea, ointment, gel, wash, gargle, or capsule for other indications of mild skin conditions.
9. Promotes Digestive Health
Chamomile has long been used to treat gastrointestinal problems, such as digestive disorders, “spasm” or colic, upset stomach, flatulence, ulcers, and gastrointestinal irritation. Chamomile relieves gas, soothes the stomach, and relaxes the muscles that transport food through the intestines. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antispasmodic, and antioxidant benefits to provide benefits in digestive health.
In the study by Dixon, chamomile has been shown to directly inhibit Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers. H. pylori is also a cause of gastritis, gastric lymphoma, and gastric adenocarcinoma. This was strengthened by the study of Malm, Glowniak-Lipa, Korona-Glowniak, & Baj, which showed the same promising results. They considered chamomile extracts to have the potential to be employed as preventive or adjuvant medicines in the treatment of H. pylori infection.
Khayyal, El-Ghazaly, Kenawy, Seif-El-Nasr, Mahran, Kafafi, & Okpanyi also noticed that chamomile could balance enzyme production and prevent ulcer formation. Increased production of acid, impaired bicarbonate and mucus secretion, and/or the formation of lesions on the mucosal layers all play a role in peptic ulcers. Ulcers form when the normal equilibrium between aggressive forces like acid and pepsin synthesis and defensive systems like mucus and bicarbonate production and mucosal turnover are disrupted. The presence of flavonoids is responsible for the extracts’ antiulcerogenic actions. The flavonoids increase mucin production, decrease pepsin, and reduce acid formation.
In the same study, ulcer healing was also accelerated by the anti-inflammatory action of chamomile. It specifically inhibits leukotrienes. Possible direct vascular injury by oxygen radicals produced in this pathway or an increase in vascular permeability in the stomach mucosa were proposed as methods by which leukotrienes could promote mucosal injury. Leukotrienes also have a role in delaying the healing process from ulcers. These adverse effects are reversed by chamomile.
Stress, alcohol use, and medications like indomethacin can also cause ulcers. In the review by Dixon, when rats were fed with indomethacin and alcohol, both the apigenin and a-bisabolol components prevented the formation of stomach ulcers. The a-bisabolol entity was also shown to hasten the healing of ulcers caused by chemical stress or heat coagulation. Aside from this, chamomile is also known to aid with gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders such as smooth muscle spasms.
Sebai et al. investigated the effects of chamomile as a cure for diarrhea. In the study, they used castor oil to induce diarrhea. Castor oil works by increasing the inflammation in the gut, mimicking that of inflammatory bowel diseases. Castor oil also depletes the ability of the gastric mucosa to ward oxygen-free radicals from inflammation. Following the administration of chamomile, there was a decrease in the frequency of loose stools. The plant’s extracts contained quercetin and cafeic acid, showing the highest antioxidant activity. Tannin molecules are also involved in the regulation of diarrhea. They also have antioxidant activity. These tannins can denature protein to generate a protein tannate complex, making the intestinal mucosa more resistant to excessive inflammation and lowering water secretion into the lumen. Apigenin and apigenin-7-glucoside are the flavonoid compounds that have shown their ability to decrease small and large intestinal transit time, decreasing diarrhea frequency.
Becker, Kuhn, & Hardewig-Budny, studied apple pectin and chamomile extract to relieve symptoms associated with diarrhea in children. Chamomile tea was blended with other herbs such as German chamomile, licorice, vervain, balm mint, and fennel. Healthy, term, 2 to 8 weeks old children with colic were given herbal tea up to 150 mL/dose, no more than three times a day. After seven days of treatment, parents stated that the tea had relieved colic in 57% of the babies.
In animal studies by Sebai, apigenin extracted from chamomile at a dose of 12.5–50 mg/kg reduced diarrheal symptoms. For its antiulcer benefits, the study by Khayyal, El-Ghazaly, Kenawy, Seif-El-Nasr, Mahran, Kafafi, & Okpanyi utilized chamomile extracted with alcohol at 2.5, 5, and 10 ml/kg.
10. Improves Heart Health
According to Mozaffarian, chamomile is rich in flavones, a class of phenolic compounds that are potent antioxidants. The flavonol and flavone classes in plants are most strongly associated with a lower risk for cardiometabolic diseases. Flavonoids have the bioactivity to impact cardiovascular risk factors like cholesterol production and deposition in blood vessels, endothelial dysfunction, and blood platelet aggregation. The antioxidant, anti-thrombogenic, and lipid-lowering characteristics of flavonoids and their role in supporting endothelial function all contribute to their cardioprotective effects.
Chamomile flavones play a role in protecting heart health by their potential to lower blood pressure. In a cross-sectional study by Babu & Liu, consuming 120–599 ml of tea daily for at least one year causes a 46% reduction in the risk of developing hypertension. The consumption of more than 600 ml/day of tea containing flavone components reduced the risk further to a 65% reduction.
Also important in heart health is its ability to regulate blood sugar levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control, prolonged uncontrolled high sugar levels are linked to increased incidence of a heart attack. Chamomile tea significantly decreased the concentration of HbA1C, serum insulin levels, and insulin resistance. According to Rafraf, Zemestani, & Asghari-Jafarabadi, the effects are not only with glycemic control but also in preventing diabetic complications. Aside from flavone components, it has sesquiterpenes and phenolic compounds that work together to improve tissue glucose utilization. These phenolic compounds are apigenin, quercetin, patuletin, luteolin, and their individual glucosides. In this study, a teabag of approximately 3 g of chamomile tea infused for 10 min in 150 mL hot water without milk or sugar was given three times a day right after meals for eight weeks.
In the same study by Rafraf, Zemestani, & Asghari-Jafarabadi, the intake of chamomile causes a reduction in total cholesterol, triglyceride, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The flavonoids component inhibits the production of low-density lipoprotein and overall cholesterol. This decreases thrombotic tendency, which also lowers the risk of heart attack and strokes. These atherosclerotic complications, when not controlled, can also cause plaque build-up by the recruitment of platelets and other oxygen-free radicals, which cause direct damage to the endothelium of the blood vessels.
The Zutphen trial, which followed 805 male individuals for five years, found that intake of flavonoids, primarily from tea, reduced the risk of fatal and nonfatal first myocardial infarction and stroke mortality in a dose-dependent way. The dose of which was not indicated.
What Are The Risks and Side-Effects Of Chamomile?
The risks associated with the use of chamomile are listed below:
- Contact dermatitis in both oral and topic use
- Angioedema and allergic conjunctivitis in ophthalmic use
- Bleeding tendencies in those with blood thinner medications
- Sedative effects in those with concurrent use of CNS depressants
- No safety studies were performed in pregnant and breastfeeding women
The use of chamomile is generally considered safe. However, certain individuals must note some risks and precautions. According to McKay and Blumberg, those allergic to other plants in the daisy family (Asteraceae or Compositae), such as mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) and ragweed, have reported severe allergic reactions to chamomile. Although the risk of elicitation with Compositae-containing products in sensitive individuals is uncertain, both oral and topical applications have been documented to produce contact dermatitis. Patients who used chamomile tea as a compress, or a rinse on their eyes, experienced angioedema associated with contact urticaria and allergic conjunctivitis. Although primarily based on theoretical hypotheses rather than empirical data, drug interactions with chamomile have been proposed. Coumarin, a component of chamomile, acts as a vitamin K antagonist and interferes with blood coagulation processes, potentially potentiating the effects of warfarin medication. Coumarin may have additive blood-thinning effects when used in conjunction with aspirin, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, and/or acetaminophen. Because of its modest sedative impact, chamomile has the potential to augment the CNS depressing effects of other sedative medicines such as opioid analgesics, benzodiazepines, or alcohol. It hence has been recommended as a contraindication when used with these drugs.
To prevent these risks, make sure to perform a patch test on any product containing chamomile before using it. For oral use, learn the components of the products before intake to prevent untoward reactions. Also, consult your doctor for any drug interactions with your other medications. For those undergoing surgery, it is advisable to stop taking chamomile at least two weeks before the date of operation
How Does Chamomile Work Within The Human Body?
In the human body, chamomile exerts many pharmacological effects. The use of the whole plant or the extraction of specific ingredients has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Chamomile constituents act primarily on inflammatory mediators of the arachidonic acid cascade, most likely through inhibition of the enzymes 5-lipooxygenase and cyclooxygenase. These block the inflammatory pathway, halting an overly active inflammatory response leading to many diseases like arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders. Bisabolol, a specific component of chamomile, effectively reduces inflammation and the healing time of cutaneous burns. Chamazulene also has anti-inflammatory and allergy-fighting properties. Several flavonoid components, such as apigenin and luteolin, have been shown in vitro to exhibit anti-inflammatory potencies. Together, these anti-inflammatory processes check and balance one’s immune system and other organ system equilibrium to provide healthy functioning.
The blue essential oil from chamomile also contains sesquiterpene alcohol, alpha-bisabolol, chamazulene, and flavonoids responsible for German chamomile’s anti-inflammatory, wound-healing, and antibacterial properties.
Chamomile extracts may have antispasmodic and sedative properties due to the action of apigenin, which binds to central benzodiazepine receptors. This is cited as to how chamomile can provide relaxing and soothing effects.
How Do You Determine The Correct Chamomile Dosage?
The correct dosages of chamomile will depend on one’s age, usage purpose, and preparation. The FDA considers chamomile generally recognized as a safe spice, seasoning, or flavoring agent. On the other hand, the American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook classifies it as a Class 1 herb. This means it can be ingested safely when used correctly.
According to Gardiner, the following are doses for the pediatric population:
- Colic relief in newborns 2 to 6 weeks of age: treatment with chamomile extract up to 150mL/dose every bout of colic, no more than three times a day for 7 days
- Reduce diarrhea frequency: in addition to electrolyte and fluid replacement, the liquid combination of apple pectin and chamomile ﬂuid extract standardized to 2.5 g/ 100 g of chamazulene component, given for 3 days
- For digestive health: The pediatric dose of chamomile ﬂower head is 2 g given thrice a day; for a single dose of ﬂuid extracted by 45% to 60% ethanol, the dose is 0.6 mL to 2 mL
For the adult population:
- Inhalation for relief of colds symptoms: A few drops of chamomile essential oil in hot water used as steam inhalation
- Tea: Add 2 to 4 g of dried herb added 1 cup boiling water drank 3 to 4 times per day between meals.
- Poultice for inflamed skin: A small amount of powdered chamomile herb with water
- Cream as a cure for psoriasis, eczema, or dry and flaky skin: a cream with 3 to 10% chamomile content is safe
- Gargle or mouthwash for sore throat relief: 10 to 15 drops of German chamomile liquid extract in 100 ml warm water used 3 times per day will suffice
- Tincture: 1 to 4 mL of tincture or 30 to 60 drops of tincture used 3 times a day added to hot water
- Capsules: 300 to 400 mg given thrice daily
What Are The Most Common Questions For Chamomile Usage?
The following are the most common questions on chamomile use:
- How do you use fresh chamomile?
- What can I do with fresh chamomile leaves?
- How do you prepare chamomile?
- What part of chamomile do you use for tea?
- Do you have to dry chamomile to make tea?
- What part of chamomile is edible?
- How do you make tea with chamomile?
- How do you harvest chamomile tea?
- What does chamomile taste like?
- Do you put milk in chamomile tea?
- Does chamomile tea make you poop?
- Does chamomile tea help with a sore throat?
What Are The Facts About Chamomile?
Out of many species, only two types of chamomile are cultivated and used by humans, the Roman, and German chamomile. The size, type of flower, and leaves of these two types of chamomile differ. They also produce different types and amounts of compounds.
The ancient Egyptians were the first to discover chamomile’s therapeutic properties. In ancient Egypt, chamomile was employed in the mummification process. Later, they discovered chemical compounds from the flowers containing oils used in the medical and cosmetic industries. Its medicinal uses are vast. In the cosmetic industry, Chamomile tea has long been used as a hair rinse to emphasize natural blond highlights or add golden highlights to brown and dark hair. Aside from that, chamomile is frequently used in the perfume and aromatherapy industries because of its lovely scent.
Aside from these, chamomile’s healing properties are not only in humans and animals. In addition to its aesthetic morphology, it promotes the growth of neighboring plants and even heals nearby sick plants.
According to Kate Greenaway’s book, chamomile means “may all your hopes come true” in floral symbolism. It also symbolizes humility. Because of all these uses, famous folk saying in Czech-Slovakia says, “A person should constantly bend before the therapeutic abilities of the chamomile plant.” The Germans also named chamomile Alles Zutraut, which means “capable of anything.”
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Chamomile?
According to Guimarães et al., carbohydrates and proteins are the most abundant macronutrients in chamomile. It has minimal ash and fat content and contributes energy at 389.88 kcal/100 g. Fructose is the most abundant sugar in this plant material, followed by glucose and sucrose. Trehalose was discovered in smaller quantities. It contains polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), saturated fatty acids (SFA), and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). Linoleic acid, oleic acid, a-linolenic acid, and palmitic acid are the fatty acids of the largest number. Both a- and c-tocopherols are also detected in the plant material. It also contains a small amount of b-carotene and lycopene.
Its mineral contents are calcium at 4.74mg, iron at 0.19mg, magnesium at 2.37 mg, potassium at 21.33 mg, sodium at 2.37mg, zinc 0.09mg, copper 0.04mg, magnesium 0.1mg. Vitamin A is present at 47.4IU, Thiamin 0.02mg, Riboflavin 0.01mg, Pantothenic 0.03mg, and Folate 2.37mg.
Gupta, Srivastava, J. & Shankar, adds that the plant contains 1–2% volatile oils like alpha-bisabolol, alpha-bisabolol oxides A & B, and matricin. The oil ranges from vivid blue to deep green when fresh but turns dark yellow after storage when subjected to steam distillation. Even though it fades, the oil retains its efficacy.
The terpenoids a-bisabolol and its oxide azulenes, including chamazulene and acetylene derivatives, are the main components of the essential oil derived from German chamomile flowers. On the other hand, sesquiterpene lactones of the germacranolide class, primarily nobilin and 3-epinobilin, can be found in up to 0.6 percent of Roman chamomile. Other principal bio-active components include a-bisabolol, a-bisabolol oxides A and B, chamazulene, farnesene and spiro-ether quiterpene lactones, glycosides, hydroxycoumarins, flavanoids, coumarins, and terpenoids.
Is Chamomile A Diuretic?
Yes, chamomile flowers are considered a mild diuretic.
Is It Beneficial That Chamomile Is Diuretic?
Yes, it is beneficial as a diuretic. In the book by Castleman, its diuretic properties are helpful to reduce lung congestion, bladder problems, edema, and inflammation. However, too much diuresis should be watched out for heart derangements, electrolyte abnormalities, and kidney complications.
What Are The Supplement Forms Of Chamomile?
The supplement forms of chamomile are available as capsules, tinctures, liquid, teas, powder, and dried flowers.
1. Chamomile Extract
Medicinal ingredients are typically extracted from dry chamomile flowers using water, ethanol, or methanol as solvents. The resulting extracts are called aqueous, ethanolic or alcoholic, and methanolic. The alcohol content of the best chamomile extracts is around 50%. For apigenin to take effect as a bioactive agent, it should be present as 1.2 percent of standardized extracts.
The main organs of essential oil production are flowers and flower heads. The bluer the oil the more terpenoids and flavonoids it contains.
Extracts undergo additional processing into desired forms. Aqueous extracts, such as tea, have relatively low concentrations of free apigenin but high levels of apigenin-7-O-glucoside. Extracts can also take the form of essential oils. Chamomile oil is a popular aromatherapy and hair care component. Roman chamomile oil has a calming and softening effect on the skin and is extensively used in cosmetic products. Inhalation of vaporized essential oils extracted from chamomile flowers also eases anxiety and depression.
One of the most common side-effects associated with chamomile extract is hypersensitivity reactions.
Why Is Chamomile Extract Useful?
Chamomile extract is useful because it is cited as a mild sedative, anxiolytic and sleep-aid. Chamomile extracts undergo minor processing, taking on an aqueous form. It helps in digestive system relaxation and uplifts gastrointestinal health as a tonic. It also has potent antioxidant benefits.
2. Chamomile Supplement
Chamomile is most often sold as a herbal supplement. Chamomile supplements come in various forms, including extracts, powder, tablets, and capsules. It is also available in cosmetics like lotion, shampoo, conditioner, soap, essential oils, and cream. According to preliminary research cited by Singh, Khanam, Misra, & Srivastava, chamomile dietary supplements could aid with generalized anxiety disorder. Some products containing certain combinations of herbs, including chamomile, may be beneficial for upset stomachs, diarrhea in children, and newborns with colic. Miraj & Alesaeidi adds that the most important benefits of chamomile are reducing menstrual cramps, soothing digestion, and fighting inflammation and inflammation-related disease. It can also relieve anxiety and help attain a restful sleep and is loaded with antioxidants that help in cardiovascular, metabolic, and digestive health.
Because chamomile belongs to the same plant family as ragweed and chrysanthemum, persons who are allergic to these plants may experience allergic reactions. Coumarin, a naturally occurring chemical with anticoagulant or blood-thinning properties, is also found in chamomile. Thus, using similar drugs or supplements in persons who have bleeding disorders is not advised.
3. Chamomile Powder
Chamomile powder supplements are made by extracting, drying, and filtering the nutrient into a powder material. Chamomile powder is most commonly used in teas. According to Singh, Khanam, Misra, & Srivastava, chamomile tea is one of the most popular herbal teas in the world. Teabags containing chamomile flower powder, either pure or combined with other popular medicinal herbs, are also available on the market. Externally, the powdered drug can be used to treat slow-healing wounds, skin eruptions, and infections like shingles and boils. It can also treat hemorrhoids and inflammation of the mouth, throat, and eyes.
The intake of chamomile powder is generally considered safe. However, in large doses, it can cause extreme drowsiness and vomiting.
4. Chamomile Pills And Capsules
After extraction of chamomile, concentrated preparations of pills and capsules are processed. Because the extracts are concentrated, there is a narrower margin of safety compared to powder forms. Pills and capsules do, however, offer the advantage of being easily portable and masking the taste and aroma of the extract when consumed.
They are used for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, relaxing, and soothing abilities, sleep-aid, and anti-anxiety benefits. As with other supplements, hypersensitivity reactions are its side-effects.
5. Dried Chamomile
Chamomile’s dried flowers are high in terpenoids and flavonoids, contributing to its therapeutic qualities. From dried chamomile, tea and tinctures can be made. Chamomile tincture, a combination of one part dried chamomile flower with four parts water containing 12 percent grain alcohol, is used to treat children’s summer diarrhea and minimize cramping when combined with purgatives. Dried chamomile flowers are also widely used as a poultice or hot compress for inflammatory pain or congestive neuralgia and in situations of external swelling, such as facial edema linked with underlying infection or abscess, either alone or in combination with crushed poppy heads.
Persons with ragweed pollen allergies should avoid chamomile-containing products.
What Are The Chamomile Types?
The types of chamomile are listed below:
- Chamomilla recutitaor Matricaria recutita, German Chamomile.
This type is the most commonly cultivated chamomile. The stems of German Chamomile are hairless, branching out, and are longer, with numerous tiny blooms on each stalk. It grows well in Europe and Asia and is commonly grown in Eastern Europe, particularly in Egypt. It contains high amounts of the beneficial chemical called chamazulene, responsible for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antispasmodic, relaxing, and soothing benefits.
- Chamaemelum nobile or Anthemis Nobilis, Roman Chamomile.
Roman Chamomile thrives in Central Europe and North America. It is not as frequently grown as German chamomile. The stems of Roman Chamomile are feathery, with one flower per stem that is more than 1 inch in diameter. This type is propagated by division rather than seed. The essential oil of Roman Chamomile has less chamazulene and is mostly made up of esters of angelic acid and tiglic acid, giving it a yellow-pale blue color. It is utilized for anti-spasmodic, anti-fungal, and soothing qualities for centuries.
- Scotch chamomile.
It has a strong aromatic scent and a bitter flavor. It thrives on a dry, sandy soil that reflects its natural habitat’s wild, open plains. It is thought to have the most potent curative powers of all the chamomiles. Its single flowers contain a potent alkali capable of destroying the stomach and bowel coating.
- Matricaria discoidea, wild chamomile, or pineapple weed.
This type has flowers that have a chamomile/pineapple scent. They are edible and have been used to make herbal tea and salads and are used in traditional medicine to treat gastrointestinal discomfort, fevers, infected wounds, and postpartum anemia.
- Anthemis arvensis, corn, scentless, or field chamomile.
There are no chaffy scales between the florets of this plant. Despite its resemblance to Roman Chamomile, it has no aroma.
- Anthemis cotula, stinking chamomile.
It can be identified by its foul odor, as the name implies. It’s also known for scorching the hand that touches it, despite having the same medical characteristics as other chamomiles.
- Eriocephalus punctulatus, Cape chamomile.
This is a tiny shrub with white flowers and thick, gland-dotted leaves. Its various species are employed as diaphoretics and diuretics in folk medicine.
- Cladanthus mixtus, Moroccan chamomile.
It is also chemically and aromatically distinct from German or Roman Chamomile. Its leaves are hairy and florets tubular. White ligulets encircle the yellow florets, and steam distillation of the plant’s flowering tops yields a yellow to brownish essential oil. Alcohols, which account for 41% of the total, have antiseptic, bactericidal, antiviral, diuretic, and immune-stimulating activities.
- Cota tinctoria, dyer’s, oxeye, golden or yellow chamomile.
This chamomile grows to two and a half feet tall and produces a yellow-brown dye from its golden flowers.
- Tripleurospermum inodorum, wild, scentless, or false chamomile.
This chamomile type is a weed. It is scentless and does not have medicinal properties.
What Is The Etymology Of The Chamomile?
Chamomile is from the Greek words “chamos” which means ground, and “melos” which means apple. Chamos is in reference to its low-growing characteristics, and melos refers to the apple scent of fresh chamomile blossoms.
What Place Does Chamomile Have In Society And Culture?
According to a review by Singh, Khanam, Misra, & Srivastava, Chamomile has been used in herbal medicines for thousands of years, and it was known in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The Anglo-Saxons believed it was one of nine sacred herbs given to humans by the lord. The pharmacopeia of 26 nations mentions the use of chamomile as a drug. It is also a component of several traditional and homeopathy medicinal preparations.
Traditionally, it is used as a medication for flatulence, colic, hysteria, and intermittent fever. It’s primarily used internally as a tisane by infusing one table-spoonful of the drug in 1 L of cold water for stomach pain, sluggish digestion, diarrhea, and nausea. It is also used to relieve inflammation of the urinary tract and painful menstruation, though only rarely. Externally, the powder form of the drug can be used to treat slow-healing wounds, skin eruptions, and infections like shingles and boils, as well as hemorrhoids and inflammation of the mouth, throat, and esophagus.
Chamomile oil has been progressively increasing in popularity around the world. As a result, the plant is widely cultivated in Europe, and its essential oil has been brought into various Asian countries. The oil has antibacterial and fungicidal properties and is used as a light sedative and for digestion. Aside from therapeutic applications, the oil is widely utilized in perfumes, cosmetics, aromatherapy, and food. The dried flowers of chamomile are also in high demand for usage in herbal teas, baby massage oils, boosting gastric secretion flow, and cough and cold treatment. The plant has a high economic value and is in high demand due to its comprehensive pharmacological and medicinal qualities.
What Are Some Food Recipes That Contain Chamomile?
Some food recipes where you can incorporate chamomile are:
- Ice cream
- Liqueurs like vermouth
- Dressing to salads
- Fish salad
- Soft breakfast cakes
- Sweet creams
What Are The Chamomile Parts?
The parts of the chamomile are:
- Spindle-shaped roots
- The erect branched stem, growing 10-80 cm in height
- Its leaves are bi- to tripinnate, long and narrow
- Flower heads have a diameter of 10–30 mm, are connected to a peduncle, and carries a male and female flower
- Golden yellow tubular florets have a length of 1.5–2.5 mm and end in a glandular tubular structure
- White plant flowers are arranged concentrically, are 11-27 in number, 6–11 mm long, 3.5 mm wide
- The fruit is yellow-brown and contains a single seed
- Its receptacle begins flat and conical, and tapers into a hollow and is 6–8 mm
What Is The History Of Chamomile?
The chamomile flower is a popular medicinal herb that originated from southern and eastern Europe. Germany, Hungary, France, Russia, Yugoslavia, and Brazil are among the countries that grow it. It was brought to India by the Mughals, and it is presently grown in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Jammu & Kashmir. North Africa, Asia, North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand are all home to the plants.
Chamomile is first mentioned in the medical works of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. The chamomile herb was present in Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Galen’s texts. Crushed chamomile flowers were used by the Greeks and Egyptians to cure erythema and xerosis, skin diseases produced by dry, harsh weather.
According to Antonelli, doctors’ records employ chamomile in intermittent fevers in the 16th and 17th centuries. The hemodynamic effects of chamomile tea in individuals with heart illness were studied by Gould et al. as early as 1973. The patients were reported to fall into a deep sleep after drinking the beverage. Up to this point, there have been numerous studies on chamomile.
What Are The Other Plants That Are Called Chamomile From Time To Time?
The other plants referred to as chamomile come from its varieties and include:
- Matricaria chamomilla, “German chamomile” or “Water of Youth”
- Anthemis arvensis, corn, scentless or field chamomile
- Chamaemelum nobile, Roman, English, or garden chamomile
- C. nobile Treneague
- Cladanthus mixtus, Moroccan chamomile
- Chamomile nobilis var flore-pleno
- Chamaemelum nobile, Roman Chamomile
- Anthemis cotula, stinking chamomile
- Matricaria discoidea, wild chamomile, or pineapple weed
- Cota tinctoria, dyer’s, golden, oxeye, or yellow chamomile
- Tripleurospermum inodorum, wild, scentless, or false chamomile
- Eriocephalus punctulatus, Cape chamomile
- Pin Heads
- Sweet False Chamomile
- Kleine Kamille
What Are The Most Common Questions For Chamomile Usage?
The most common questions on chamomile usage focus on:
- The safety of chamomile use
- The most efficient time of the day in taking chamomile
- The side-effects associated with its use
- The pediatric use of chamomile
- The use of chamomile in weight loss
Are Chamomile Supplements Approved By The Authorities?
No. The Food and Drug Administration regulates health supplements like chamomile as dietary supplements, not as drugs. That means that these supplements don’t need prior approval from the FDA to be sold on the market. However, once they are on the market, the FDA starts exercising its safety monitoring function. It reviews supplement labels and promotional materials as its resources allow and monitors whether there are safety complaints about the product. The supplement manufacturer itself is required to report any of these complaints to the FDA within 15 days upon receipt of the same.
Is Chamomile An Anticoagulant?
Yes, chamomile can be anticoagulant. Coumarin, a naturally occurring chemical with anticoagulant or blood-thinning properties, is also found in chamomile.
Can You Take Chamomile At Night?
Yes, chamomile can be taken at night, especially for sleeping problems. In the study by Zick, Wright, Sen, & Arnedt, those who took 270 mg of chamomile extract twice daily for 28 days had fewer nighttime awakenings and fell asleep 15 minutes faster than those who did not.
Can You Take Chamomile After A Meal?
Yes, chamomile may be taken after a meal. But, it is best to take them before or after meals for better absorption.
Can You Take Chamomile Every Day?
Yes, it is safe to take chamomile every day.
Can A Child Take Chamomile?
Yes, a child can take chamomile. According to Gardiner, the pediatric population may use chamomile extracts as colic relief in newborns 2 to 6 weeks of age, to reduce diarrhea frequency in addition to electrolyte and fluid replacement and to ease digestive issues.
Can Your Pet Consume Chamomile?
Yes, pets can take chamomile in the form of tea. It may also be mixed with dog food if in powder, capsule, or fresh flowers forms.
What Are The Differences Between Chamomile And Ginger?
The differences between chamomile and ginger lie in their taste and health benefits.
Like chamomile tea, ginger tea is also rich in nutrients. Ginger tea is known for its antioxidant activity, relief of nausea, menstrual pain, and a possible link to lower blood sugar levels. On the other hand, chamomile also has the same benefits but has many other additional benefits. It is used to soothe and relax the body, a sleep aid, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory. Some research also noticed a lower risk of death from heart disease and immune system support as possible chamomile advantages.
According to a review of studies, chamomile tea may also aid women with premenstrual syndrome and prevent estrogen deficiency-related bone loss. In pregnant women, the effects of ginger vs. chamomile in reducing nausea and vomiting were compared by Saei Ghare Naz & Ozgoli. Chamomile was noted to be superior to ginger. However, ginger tea is used anecdotally to provide the best benefits for overall gut health. Chamomile is an alternative with added health benefits.
Ginger is also used to boost the immune system, especially for colds and sore throats. Chamomile offers the same advantage and can alternatively relieve cold symptoms.
In terms of taste, ginger tea imparts a spicy and strong hint while chamomile contains subtle apple flavors, and the tea has a mellow, honey-like sweetness.
Which Plant Produces The Chamomile?
The two common varieties of plants that produce chamomile are the German Chamomile or Chamomilla recutita and Roman Chamomile or Chamaemelum nobile.
What Are The Top Scientific Research Topics For Chamomile?
The top scientific research topics on chamomile are listed below:
- Chamomile overview as the “star of among medicinal species”
- Active constituents and health benefits derived from chamomile
- The past and future of chamomile as a herbal medicine
- Chamomile’s effects in alleviating premenstrual syndrome
- The role of chamomile as an anxiolytic
- The role of chamomile as a treatment for obesity and metabolic syndrome
What Is The Cultivation Process Of Chamomile?
These are the steps to cultivate chamomile:
- Prepare your garden bed. Add compost or organic material before planting chamomile, especially if your soil is predominantly clay or sand. Chamomile grows best on fertile soil with a pH of 5.6 to 7.5.
- Use the seeds to reproduce the plant. The seeds of the crop are quite small. Direct sowing of seed and transplanting are two strategies for growing the plant. The transplanting approach is commonly used since direct sowing of seeds frequently leads to poor germination.
- Allow a space of 8 inches in between chamomile plants to allow full sunlight for the finest flowering.
- Place the plant in a region with moderate afternoon shade. The plant can withstand weather temperatures ranging from 2°C to 20°C.
- Water plants right after planting, then give them 1 inch of water per week until they’re well-established.
- Incorporate a slow-release fertilizer into the soil and replace it as needed throughout the growing season.
- To help keep the soil moist, spread mulch around the plants, such as chopped leaves or straw.
- Add support, such as bamboo sticks wrapped around the plant with string, if the chamomile becomes top-heavy and floppy.
- When petals begin to bend backward, it’s time to harvest flowers with pruning sheets.
- Chamomile can be used fresh or dried. Flowers and leaves should be dried thoroughly on a screen, away from direct sunlight.
What Is Processed Chamomile?
According to Molnar, Mendešević, Šubarić, Banjari,& Jokić, processed chamomile is the end product after flower harvesters collect whole flowers or portions of it. After cutting the stems from collected chamomile flowers, processed chamomile flowers are obtained. Flower heads are separated from stems and pulvis using a high-capacity sieve. The samples are then dried at a temperature of roughly 30 degrees Celsius. According to the same study, this processed chamomile yields the highest antioxidant activity compared to unprocessed and pulvis types of chamomile.
They are beneficial because they contain many a-bisabolol and bisabolol oxides A and B. During the drying process, the essential oils in the flowers continue to accumulate. The use of chamomile flower buds makes sure that the highest levels of farnesene and bisabolol are extracted. On the other hand, hypersensitivity reactions are still present with processed chamomile.
What Plants Are Similar To Chamomile?
Plants that look similar to chamomile are:
- Oxeye daisies
- Pineapple weed
What Is The Best Form Of Chamomile Supplement For Weight Loss?
Chamomile tea is the best supplement for weight loss. In the study by Maria & Bayliak, aqueous chamomile extract in tea form reduces body mass index, cholesterol levels, and aids in blood sugar regulation.
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