Sometimes misspelled as camomile, chamomile is one of the oldest and most popular medicinal herbs in use today. Its name comes from the Greek word “chamomaela,” meaning “ground apple.” A member of the Asteraceae family, the chamomile grows wild throughout Europe and Asia. For centuries it’s been used to treat various medical problems, including insomnia, anxiety, muscle spasms, inflammation, and gastric issues. Chamomile tea is a popular infusion with many health benefits and is also prepared as oil, tinctures, capsules, and dried flowers.
However, it is crucial to determine the type of chamomile in our herbal supplements. The most widely used types of chamomile are the German and Roman chamomile varieties. The German chamomile (Chamomilla recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) contain approximately 120 secondary metabolites in their dry flowers. These two varieties are the most studied types regarding their medicinal, cosmetic, and other pharmaceutical properties. Both plants contain chamazulene, a blue-violet aromatic chemical compound that is traditionally used for skin calming and soothing, as well as inflammation. Chamazulene may also be an antioxidant and immunoregulator. However, there are slight differences in the chamazulene composition between the two.
What’s also important is that some chamomile varieties can benefit health while others are noxious weeds. False and field chamomiles, for example, have limited studies on their health benefits. Chamomile varieties also differ in fragrance; the stinking chamomile exudes a noxious smell that makes it unpalatable when incorporated into drinks and beverages. The chamomile varieties also differ in their most superior uses. For example, Cota tinctoria or Yellow chamomile is best used as a dye, while the stinking chamomile is best used as an insect repellant. The other chamomiles contain essential oils like German and Roman chamomile but have less medicinal value. There are also proper ways to use each type of chamomile variety.
The chamomile varieties discussed here are:
- Wild chamomile or Matricaria discoidea, Matricaria matricarioides
- False chamomile or Matricaria perforata
- Yellow chamomile or Cota tinctoria
- Moroccan chamomile or Cladanthus mixtus (L.) Chevall
- Cape chamomile or Eriocephalus punctulatus
- Anthemis cotula, stinking chamomile;
- Field chamomile or Anthemis arvensis
This blog post will take a closer look at the different types and varieties of chamomile plants and their uses, precautions, and safety.
1. Roman Chamomile
The Roman chamomile (also called true chamomile or the common chamomile) is a perennial herb native to Southwest Europe (Spain, France, and Portugal) and is present all over Southwest Asia and North Africa. The plant is mainly cultivated in England, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Egypt, and Argentina.
The Roman chamomile can reach a height of 6 to 11 inches (15 – 30 cm). It produces its leaves year-round, blooms in June and July, and ripens its seeds between July and October. Bees, flies, and beetles pollinate the species. The plant is a hermaphrodite containing male and female parts and reproduces independently.
Roman chamomile is called by the Latin name Chamaemelum nobile (L.) All. Synonymously, it can be called Anthemis nobilis L., Chamaemelum odoratum Dod., Anthemis odorata Lamk., Chamomilla nobilis God. According to Gupta, Srivastava, & Shankar, because of its therapeutic powers, which were traditionally superior to German chamomile, the plant was given the epithet “nobile,” latin for noble. After seeing it growing abundantly near Rome, Joachim Camerarius coined the plant’s name “Roman chamomile” in 1598. It was first cultivated in Europe in the 16th century in England.
The Roman chamomile is distinct from the other types. The plant is 3-4 inches high. The hairy stems of Roman chamomile yield a single flower atop each stem. The blooms have white petals with golden discs that are slightly rounded. The flowers are about 0.6 to 1.1 inch (15-30 mm) in diameter. The leaves of Roman chamomile are delicate and feathery. In contrast to German chamomile, Roman chamomile features a thin papery bract between the florets with a solid central cone. Some of the tubular florets in this plant have become ligulated due to breeding, and this “double” or “semi-double” flower head creates the primary commercial substance.
Roman chamomile’s use in medicine dates back to the Middle Ages. The European Medicines Agency cites that the plant was traditionally used to cure flatulence. It was also used as a painkiller, diuretic, and digestive aid in the Württenberg Pharmacopoeia in 1741. The Roman chamomile is mentioned by Augustin, Javorka & Giovannini as a herbal ingredient used both internally and externally for dyspeptic complaints and symptoms associated with menstruation. Externally, it treats skin problems.
The German Commission currently disapproves of the Roman chamomile flower for phytotherapeutic application. Still, it is now recognized as an approved herbal substance by several pharmacopeias, including the European Pharmacopoeia.
According to The European Medicines Agency, it aids digestive health due to its anti-emetic, antispasmodic abilities and treats the painful components of functional digestive symptoms. It has been used to treat dyspepsia, nausea and vomiting, anorexia, pregnancy-associated vomiting, dysmenorrhea, and flatulent dyspepsia associated with mental stress. Orally, Roman chamomile–based medicines treat gastrointestinal symptoms like stomach bloating, poor digestion, excess belching, and flatulence. It also is used for its sedative properties and, commonly, as a component in herbal teas.
More studies aim towards discovering the science behind the traditional use. Guimarães, Barros, Dueñas, Calhelha, Carvalho, Santos-Buelga, Queiroz, & Ferreira, studied its oral dose forms (decoctions and infusions) in treating the painful component of functional digestive symptoms as well as gastrointestinal diseases. External applications of extracts and lotions are indicated as a repellant, emollient, and in the treatment of skin problems and eye irritation or pain. It’s also used as a mouthwash for oral hygiene, analgesic in disorders of the mouth, throat, or both.
Gupta adds that it is also used in cosmetics, food, and aromatherapy. The flowers are picked in the summer when they are entirely open and distilled for their essential oil or dried for later use. The whole plant is used to manufacture a lotion for topical use in treating toothaches, earaches, and neuralgia, among other ailments. Due to their peroxide content, the herbal material and its extracts are utilized in color-lightening shampoos. The Council of Europe also lists Roman chamomile as a natural food flavoring with a category N2. This category denotes that Roman chamomile can be used in small quantities in foods. Herbal teas often contain chamomile as an ingredient.
In British pharmacopeia, chamomile herbal supplement preparations are in the form of powdered herbal substances and tinctures. These are extracted with 70% ethanol or 45% ethanol at a ratio of one to five of active substance versus ethanol. Other preparations are dried whole flowers or pulverized dried flowers.
There are several ways to use Roman chamomile. Hedayat & Lapraz, recommends using it as an herbal tea, the oldest form utilized. This extract, called tisane, is made using hot but not boiling water. One teaspoon of dried plant material per 250mL of water is sufficient in most cases. Steeping times vary widely depending on the plant, indication, and disease severity but range from 3 to 15 minutes. The worse the illness, the more time it needs to steep.
For more specific indications, here is how Roman chamomile should be used according to the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia (BHP) and British Herbal Compendium (BHC) Volume 1 published in 1992:
- Orally for the relief of dyspepsia, vomiting of pregnancy, nausea, irritable bowel: Dried flower heads, 1.5-3 g in infusion, three times daily; or liquid extract 1.5-3 mL (prepared 1:1 in 70% ethanol); or Tincture 3-5 ml (prepare 1:5 in 45% ethanol)
- Topically for inflammations of the skin and oral mucosa, minor wounds, and abrasions: As an infusion in poultices, mouthwashes, or semi-solid preparations containing 5-15% of the herbal substance until the wounds have healed
- Orally for bloatedness, flatulence, and mild spasms: Pour about 150mL of hot water over a tablespoonful or 2 to 3 g of Roman Chamomile Flower; stay for about 10 minutes, then sieve in a tea strainer.
- Orally for inflammations of the mouth and throat: Prepare a cup of freshly roman chamomile in warm tea 3 to 4 times daily between meals or used as a mouth and throat wash. On the other hand, according to the Community herbal monograph, for general medicinal use:
- Take dried flowerheads as an infusion, three to four times daily: To prepare a decoction, add 1-4 g drug to 100-150 ml water; or to make an infusion, use 7 to 8 flower heads per cup for external use; or as a bath additive, add 50 g of dried flowers to 10 liters of water. You may use this as poultices or washes 2 to 3 times daily.
According to the Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices by Ravindran, the Roman chamomile is unique because its essential oil is of the best quality. Ancient men used it to create a fragrant ambiance for royalty and celebrities in the Middle Ages.
2. German Chamomile
The German chamomile or Matricaria chamomilla L. is another popular medicinal plant species of the Asteraceae family. According to a review by Singh, Khanam, Misra & Srivastava, it is regarded as the “star among medicinal species.” It is commonly referred to as a “star” herb because of its aromatic and extensive pharmacological properties. German chamomile has been prized as a medicinal gem and used as a medicinal plant since the classical period. Egyptians even considered it a sacred gift from the ‘Sun’ god, Linnaeus. In 1753, he coined the genus Matricaria because of the plant’s widespread usage in treating gynecological illnesses or diseases of the womb (matrix).
The preferred Scientific name is Chamomilla recutita (L.) Rauschert but other alternate scientific names are Chamomilla vulgaris K.Koch, Matricaria recutita L., Matricaria chamomilla auct., Matricaria recutita L., and Tripleurospermum recutita.
The study by EL-Hefny, Abo Elgat, Al-Huqail, & Ali, traces chamomile history as a medicinal herb native to southern and eastern Europe. Germany, France, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Russia, and Brazil. Originally brought to India by the Mughals, it is presently grown in Punjab, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir. It is now cultivated in North Africa, North and South America, Australia, Asia, and New Zealand. Hungary is the leading producer of the plant’s biomass. It grows abundantly in Hungary, where large quantities of flowers are shipped into Germany for oil distillation.
The German chamomile is an annual flowering medicinal, aromatic herb found in south-eastern Europe and neighboring Asian nations. It can adapt to many soil types, temperatures, and alkalinity levels. They are easy to find because of their characteristics. The plant has spindle-shaped roots that only penetrate the soil flatly. The branched stem grows to a height of 4 -31 inches (10–80 cm) and is upright and strongly ramified. The bi- to tripinnate leaves are long and thin. The flower heads are pedunculate and heterogamous, 10–30 mm diameter. The 1.5–2.5 mm long golden yellow tubular florets with five teeth always finish in a glandulous tube. The flowers are concentrically arranged about 11–27 in number, 6–11 mm in length, and 3.5 mm in width. The receptacle is 6–8 mm diameter, flat at first but subsequently becomes conical, cone-shaped, and hollow, the latter being a key distinguishing feature of Matricaria.
According to Gupta, Srivastava, & Shankar, chamomile use in herbal medicines dates back thousands of years. This practice started in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The Anglo-Saxons thought it was one of nine sacred herbs given to humans by the Lord. Chamomile is listed in the pharmacopeias of 26 different countries. Traditionally, it is used to treat flatulence, colic, hysteria, and intermittent fever. The discovery of its blue essential oil has a wide range of applications as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and moderately diaphoretic herb. It is used internally, primarily as a tisane for gastrointestinal disturbances such as stomach pain, sluggish digestion, diarrhea, and nausea. Rarely has it been used for inflammation of the urinary tract and painful menstruation. Externally, powdered chamomile flower extracts 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 eyes.
Presently, several studies like that of Al-Dabbagh, Elhaty, Elhaw, Murali, Al Mansoori, Awad & Amin provide scientific evidence of German chamomile’s role as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-diarrhea, anti-cancer, anti-microbial, neuroprotective, hepatoprotective and in the maintenance of cardiometabolic and digestive health. Chauhan et al. add that active constituents of what was once known as the blue essential oil of German chamomile have more than 20 pharmacological properties, proving its worth as a star herb. The researchers contribute the following benefits of German chamomile: anti-spasmodic, anxiolytic, and ability to regulate cancer cells from invasion. It can also treat stomach disorders, body pains, and reduce stress. The study by Gupta continues that the dried flowers of chamomile are also in high demand for usage in herbal teas. They are in baby massage oils and cough and cold treatment for pediatric use. Herbal tea preparations also relieve colic in 57% of newborns. Because of its comprehensive pharmacological and medicinal qualities, the plant has a high economic value and is in high demand in Europe.
Aside from pharmaceutical uses, essential oils of German chamomile are used in the food, aromatherapy, and perfumery industries. According to Chauhan, et al., these benefits are attributed to the plant’s flavones, polysaccharides, and lipophilic active ingredients. It is used as a sedative agent, immunomodulation, and wound healing. The essential oil in the flower heads is used in perfumes, cosmetic creams, skin lotions, hair preparations, toothpaste, food flavors, dye, pest repellent, and fine liquors.
According to Chauhan et al., German chamomile flower heads have been utilized in herbal teas and extract preparations. The herbal substance is used orally as a powder and for inhalation. It’s also used for infusion preparation for oromucosal and cutaneous use. There are liquid dosage forms for oral, oromucosal, or cutaneous use, or dilutions for steam inhalation as well. Semi-solid dosage forms for cutaneous use and liquid dosage as bath additives are also available.
The German chamomile is superior because it contains terpenoids α-bisabolol and its oxide azulenes including chamazulene and acetylene derivatives in the highest amounts. This was proven in the study by Singh, Khanam, Misra & Srivastava. These components are known for their antioxidant activities and implicated in several studies linking German chamomile as an anticancer, an adjunct to diabetes and metabolic diseases management. It also has a unique anti-ulcer benefit. Bisabolol has been discovered to reduce the quantity of proteolytic enzyme pepsin secreted by the stomach without affecting the amount of stomach acid, making it a good choice for treating gastric and upper intestine illnesses. Lastly, the plant’s leaves, stems, and roots contain its essential oil in addition to the flowers.
The European Union Herbal monograph lists the following as methods of taking German chamomile:
- Orally for the symptomatic treatment of bloating and minor gastrointestinal spasms: In adolescents, adults, and elderly: 1.5-4 g of the herbal substance or powdered herbal substance in 150 ml of boiling water 3-4 times; or in adolescents, adults, and the elderly: a single dose of 2 g of liquid extract in 150 ml warm water or the same amount is given daily 3-4 times. In children 6 months to 2 years: a single dose of 0.5-1.0 g or a daily dose is given 2-4 times. In children 2 to 6 years: a single dose of 1.0-1.5 g or a daily dose is given 2-4 times. In children 6 to 12 years: a single dose of 1.5-3.0 g or a daily dose is given 2-4 times.
- As inhalation for the relief of symptoms of the common cold: In adolescents, adults, and the elderly: a single dose of 3-10 g of herbal substance or powder in 100 ml hot water for inhalation or a daily dose several times each day. In children 6 to 12 years: a single dose of 2-5 g of herbal or comminuted herbal substance in 100 ml hot water for inhalation or a daily dose given 1-2 times a day.
- For oromucosal used as a treatment of minor ulcers and inflammations of the mouth and throat: Adolescents, adults, and elderly: 1-5g of herbal substance or comminuted herbal substance in 100 ml water for rinsing and gargling several times daily.
- As a topical agent for irritations of skin and mucosae in the anal and genital region: Adolescents, adults, and elderly: 4.5-5 g herbal substance or comminuted herbal substance per 1 liter of water for irrigation several times daily.
- As a topical agent for treating minor inflammation of the skin like sunburn, minor wounds, and small boils (furuncles): Adolescents, adults, and elderly: 3-10 g herbal substance or comminuted herbal substance in 100 ml water for washings and impregnated dressings several times daily. Adolescents, adults, and elderly: as a single dose of 10 ml of liquid extract in 150 ml warm water or the same dose is given 3-4 times daily for wound washing or impregnated dressings. Use as a liquid form containing approximately 0.47% dry extract: a few drops to form a thin layer problem area several times daily.
3. Wild Chamomile
Another perennial herb is Wild chamomile, also called pineapple weed or disc mayweed. Its latin name is Matricaria discoidea, but is also called Matricaria matricarioides. Plants can reach a height of about 20 inches (0.5 m), but most are around 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm). Along the stem, the leaves alternate with one another. They are hairless, stalkless, and finely split into linear segments one to three times. The flower head contains the disk flowers only and lacks German or Roman chamomile ray flowers. The crushed leaves of wild chamomile have a delicious, pineapple-like aroma. Also, the leaves of pineapple weed are less finely split and do not appear to grasp the stem.
Wild chamomile finds its origin in North America before it has moved eastward and into Europe. Native Americans utilized it as a medicinal and aromatic plant, and now it grows in the southern Yukon and Northwest Territories to New Mexico as a perennial herb.
According to Lopes & Kolodziejczyk, the Wild chamomile is considered by herbalists to have similar characteristics to German chamomile because of its anti-inflammatory, skincare, anti-anxiety, hormonal, and digestive properties. Traditionally, in North America, the natives prepare wild chamomile as tea, similar to the German chamomile tea. It is used for treating colds, fevers, stomach disorders, diarrhea, and menstrual cramps. Presently, the plant is known for its medicinal versatility, but its use as a gastrointestinal aid stands out above all others and treats flatulence and stomachache. Aside from this, it also treats wounds, ulcers, and throat conditions.
Chamomile has antioxidant properties. Sharifi-Rad et al. compared the constituents of Wild chamomile and found that it contains en-yne-dicycloethers (35%), myrcene (26%), (E)-β-farnesene (16%), and geranyl isovalerate (13%). The colorless oil also contained α-Bisabolol oxide B, bisabolone oxide A, α-bisabolol, and chamazulene but in lower amounts compared to German chamomile.
The oil is prepared from either dried flowers or the whole plant. Oral administration with tea made as decoctions of infusions is the most common method for treating gastrointestinal and urinary diseases. However, inhalation is recommended for respiratory system problems, while topical applications are recommended for treating skin disorders.
Lopes & Kolodziejczyk cite that the traditional use of this fragrant plant is a perfume combed with fir or sweetgrass and carried in little pouches to intensify the scent. As an additive, it gives an aroma to bathing liquid. In sweat lodges, it’s used as an aromatic. Massage oils, sore muscle salves, and herbal deodorants contain the entire herb. Pineapple weed is also used to line cradles and stuff pillows and fragrant dried plants as an insect repellant. Muffins and bread have been made with flower heads. Its antimicrobial qualities have sparked speculation that it could be used as a food preservative.
The Wild chamomile flowers and leaves can be utilized as an infusion or poultice. The flowers relieve cold symptoms, assist digestion, and calm an upset stomach, while the leaves are used for stomach pains and gas. As a poultice, they treat severe boils on the neck. It is known for its anti-inflammatory action that is mild but effective. As an infusion, it is prepared by taking about 1 g of flowers or leafy flowering stems and adding 200 mL of boiling distilled water. Let it stand at room temperature for 5 minutes, and filter afterward. As a poultice, Wild chamomile is soaked in hot water for ten minutes as if making tea. In 1-2 cups of water, combine 1-2 large handfuls of herbs. If using fresh leaves, mash or chop them in a mojito-style manner. Allow the plant to cool before applying it to the infected area.
The whole plant is used for making decoction or infusion, which is the most efficient way to take the healing ingredients. To make a decoction, boil the herbs in water. Cover the pot to preserve any fragrant oils from evaporating. To make a decoction, combine 1 ounce of the dried herb with 1 quart of water in the same proportions as an infusion. Grind, crush or cut the whole root, bark, and seeds. This preparation is utilized as an antidiarrheal agent. As a sedative, wild chamomile is made into tea. The tea form requires a short amount of extraction time, called a tisane. Boil one teaspoon of dried plant material per 250mL of water and allow to steep for 3 to 15 minutes. Because these methods are employed in traditional medicine, the frequency of their use in decoctions, infusions, and poultice are not evaluated for safety.
4. False Chamomile
False chamomile, known by its Latin name Matricaria perforata, is an annual to short-lived perennial plant of the Asteraceae family. False chamomile can also refer to its synonyms Matricaria inodora, Matricaria maritime ssp. inodora, Tripleurospermum inodorum, and Tripleurospermum perforatum. Other common names are mayweed, scentless chamomile, and scentless mayweed. The False chamomile may be confused with other daisy-like Asteraceae genera such as Stinking chamomile, Chrysanthemum, Yellow chamomile, and German chamomile.
The characteristics of false chamomile are as follows. It has a taproot system that has enormous secondary roots. The stems are 1 to 3 feet tall (0.3 to 0.9 meters) and branched extensively, especially at the crown. The leaves are dark green and beautifully split, measuring 1 to 3 inches (0.02 to 0.07 meters) long. Blooms appear singly at the ends of branches, are 1/2 inch in diameter, and have yellow disk flowers in the center and white petals on the ray flowers. Seeds range in color from gray to black, are 1/16 inch long, and have three angles.
False chamomile was first documented in Canada in 1876 in Campbellton, New Brunswick. It is native to Europe and Central Asia, has been imported to North America, and is invasive in some locations. Like many other cultivated field weeds, it varies in size and habit.
Matricaria perforata is not palatable to livestock, and nutrient analysis indicated its feed value to be poor. To cite, only a study by Suganda in 1983 found the crude and semipurified whole plant extracts could suppress the growth of Polio and herpes virus in France. Glycosyl-7-0-luteolin was identified as the antiviral agent after it was extracted and purified. Other than this, there are no supplements that contain False chamomile. According to Woo, Harms, Thomas, Peschken, Bowes, Douglas, & McClay, the legislation in Canada considers it as a noxious weed. It infests many lawns, annual and perennial crops, roadsides, wasteland, pastures, fence lines, gardens, and ditches.
5. Yellow Chamomile
The Yellow chamomile, which grows up to 23 inches (60 cm) tall, is known for its abundance of golden-yellow flowers. It is a perennial plant with aromatic, brilliant green, feathery leaves. It is native to Europe, the Mediterranean, and Western Asia and has been naturalized in a few places in North America. Its leaves are finely split and downy beneath the serrated ones. It blooms in the summer, with yellow daisy-like terminal flower heads on long, thin, and angular stalks. Yellow chamomile is planted in gardens for its brightly colored blooms and lovely lacy foliage; a white-flowering variety is also available.
Cota tinctoria, or Yellow chamomile, has other common names, including golden marguerite, oxeye chamomile, Boston daisy, Dyer’s chamomile, Golden marguerite, Dyer’s mayweed, and Paris daisy. In horticulture, it is synonymously called Anthemis tinctoria. It is a perennial flowering plant of the Compositae or daisy family.
The Yellow chamomile produces leaves year-round, flowers from July to August, and seeds from August to September. Bees, moths, butterflies, flies, and beetles pollinate the species. The plant also has both male and female organs and reproduces independently. Yellow Chamomile is widely cultivated in flower gardens as a decorative agent.
There is little scientific evidence to support Yellow chamomile’s use in literature. Traditionally, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, emetic, emmenagogue, and vesicant are all properties of the whole plant. It has various medical benefits, including relief of nausea, anorexia, bloating, colds, skin ailments, stomach ulcers, and liver diseases. In addition, the plant’s flowers, leaves, and stems are used as a decoction, stew, ingredient, and favor. The Cota species have also been shown to have antibacterial, anti-oxidant, and anti-fungal effects. A tea can be brewed from the flowers or the whole plant and used as a poultice or added to bathwater. The leaves are helpful to rub on bug stings as well.
Bahadori, Zengin, Eskandani, Zali, Sadoughi, & Ayatollahi studied the phytochemical structure of Yellow chamomile. The compounds 1,8-cineole, germacrene, α-pinene, β-pinene, caryophyllene oxide, capric acid, and camphor are the most abundant essential oils of this plant and possess antioxidant capabilities. In addition, there are major phenolic compounds such as apigenin, chlorogenic acid, catechin, and rutin. Furthermore, experiments demonstrated that Yellow chamomile has a moderate potential to treat common health issues such as brain diseases, diabetes, and hyperpigmentation. It is possible to assume that Yellow chamomile could have some use in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. By inhibiting enzyme activities, it is used to prevent or treat disorders like Alzheimer’s disease through its ability for cholinesterase inhibition. On the other hand, inhibiting the enzymes cyclooxygenases, lipase, tyrosinase, and glucosidase play important roles in halting inflammation, reducing obesity, and managing melasma and diabetes mellitus, respectively.
The name Yellow chamomile or tinctoria comes from its superior property as a dye. It makes excellent yellow, buff, and golden-orange colors. The vivid yellow pigment found in the capitula is used to dye wool and silk textiles. Because it blooms almost the entire summer, Yellow chamomile is now widely used in gardens as a colorful ornamental. Yellow chamomile can also adorn the garden path by naturalizing and growing well along dry waysides and the edges of buildings and barns. It is also found in sunny slopes, railway tracks and walls, rocks, and limestone.
Most supplements containing Yellow chamomile are available in tea form. However, like the study by Bahadori, Zengin, Eskandani, Zali, Sadoughi, & Ayatollahi, the components of Yellow chamomile can also be extracted and used in infusions and decoctions. Powdered plant material measuring 10 g was extracted three times with 100 mL methanol at room temperature for 24 hours under shaking conditions. The extracts were then mixed and filtered. 10 g of aerial plant parts were immersed in 300 mL boiling water for 15 minutes to make the infusion. However, the frequency of use to benefit from antioxidants is not stated.
6. Moroccan Chamomile
The Moroccan chamomile is an annual herb from the Asteraceae (Compositae) family. Its Latin name is Ormenis multicaulis, or Ormenis mixta, Anthemis mixta, and Chamaemelum mixtum. Its newly adopted scientific name is Cladanthus mixtus (L.) Chevall.
The plant grows throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It grows wild in northern Morocco and has been distilled since the 1970s. Moroccan chamomile is a tall, spontaneous plant with fragrant, white-yellow flowers and grows in sandy soils near the Atlantic coast of Morocco.
The Morrocan chamomile’s plant parts and essential oils can be substituted for German or Roman chamomile because it belongs to the same herbal family. It was given the name “chamomile” because its flowers resemble typical chamomile plants. It is a unique plant with a different essential oil. Little is known about its clinical effects, so uses in the pharmaceutical industry are limited.
According to Buckle, this is a new product on the market, and unlike authentic chamomile, it does not have a lengthy history of traditional applications. This type of chamomile is commonly used in perfumery and aromatherapy because of its bright floral, fruity, and herbaceous scent that is soothing and uplifting. It treats various ailments in traditional medicine, including hepatic, gastric, and nervous breakdown. The other cited components in Moroccan chamomile are sesquiterpenes, monoterpenes, and monoterpene ketones. This allows for its anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic activities. It also has demonstrated the capacity to help regenerate the skin. In the study by Elouaddari, Amrani, Eddine, Correia, Barroso, Pedro, & Figueiredo, the components extracted from the plant’s essential oils are camphor (14–27%), b-myrcene (3–17%), and santolina triene (3–15%). Its blue color is attributed to chamazulene at a concentration of less than 1%. In a recent study by Elouaddari, Elamrani, Moutia, Oubrim, Habti, & Jamaleddine, the essential oils of Moroccan chamomile had good antioxidant activity. It also exhibited antimicrobial activity against S. aureus, L. monocytogenes, B. subtilis, E. coli, Micrococcus luteus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, E. faecalis, and Citrobacter frendii. The researchers also concluded that its apigenin components show promise in its cytotoxic activity. The researchers suggest that it could be used as a source of antimicrobial and anti-cancer medications and a preservative.
Moroccan chamomile, considered a weed in some countries, grows abundantly in the Gharb region and is most useful for its essential oils. The essential oil of this chamomile species is significant in the perfume and pharmaceutical industries.
Two drops of Moroccan essential oil are mixed with honey to administer for respiratory infections orally. Two drops of Moroccan oil can help combat eczema on the skin. As a bath additive, this oil helps achieve a calming effect.
7. Cape Chamomile
Cape chamomile is a flower resembling a daisy that grows along the South African coast. Cape chamomile is the English common name of the plant Eriocephalus punctulatus. The plant’s synonyms, Eriocephalus pedicellaris DC. and E. pteronoides Sch. Eriocephalus derives its name from two Greek words: “erion,” which means “wool,” and “cephale,” which means “head.” The genus name thus means “woolly head.” The word “punctulatus” refers to a species with tiny dots.
Cape chamomile is a thin sclerophyllous, fragrant, woody shrub that can reach a height of 5 feet (1.5 meters). The leaves are small, linear, glabrescent, and bright green, grouped in clusters along the branches, alternate on blooming stems, or oppose short-shoots. Outer ray florets, usually white or pink in some species, may or may not be present on the flowerheads. Long white hairs emerge in the heads after flowering, giving them the appearance of fluffy white cotton balls.
During the winter rainfall season, the species has been found on rocky and sandstone slopes in the Northern Cape and Western Cape provinces of South Africa, at elevations ranging from 984 to 6500 feet (300 to 2000 meters) above sea level.
According to Maroji, after the German, Roman, and Moroccan chamomiles, the Cape chamomile essential oil has earned an international reputation as the “fourth chamomile.” It’s well-known for its relaxing effects on the skin, body, and mind. The oil is steam distilled from the blooming tops of the plant and has a pleasant, herbaceous perfume with apple undertones. Cape chamomile essential oil is used for various purposes, including relaxation, stress, insomnia, acne, skin redness, inflammation and irritation, calming muscle tightness, discomfort, and spasms.
The diaphoretic and diuretic properties of many Eriocephalus species have been used medicinally. According to Viljoen, Chen, Mulaudzi, Kamatou, & Sandasi, Cape chamomile is a diuretic used in traditional medicine to treat gastrointestinal, respiratory, and skin diseases. According to Maroyi’s review, Cape chamomile leaves and oil are primarily used in aromatherapy and herbal medicine for fever. It also treats ringworms, high blood pressure, respiratory, heart, urinary, and gastrointestinal system problems. Cape chamomile leaves are mixed with Metalasia muricata and used as a fumigant for colds and diarrhea. Balogun, Tshabalala, & Ashafa add that Cape chamomile as a potential antidiabetic agent is plausible.
In vitro biological activities cited by Maroyi also indicated Cape chamomile’s antiallergic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antidepressant, and antiseptic actions. This is attributed to the plant’s essential oils, which contain around 200 substances. The majority of the species contain a high amount of 1,8-cineole and camphor. The most beneficial chemotypes identified for these purposes are camphor, 1,8-cineole, bisabolol oxide B, and nerolidol-rich oils. According to Njenga, its other usages are in flavorings, fragrances, cosmetics, permeability enhancers in pharmaceutical formulations, and industrial oils.
Cape chamomile leaves and stems are employed to manufacture commercial natural supplements such as tincture, oil, and loose and ground sachets sold locally and internationally. The essential oils are removed by steam distillation. It can then be incorporated into diffusers, tea, or bath additive. The topical application into sunburn or inflammation of the skin is also safe. Depending on the preparation and package instructions of supplement used, cape chamomile may be used 3 to 4 times per day.
Its main superiority is in its use among the African population. In the Eastern Cape area of South Africa, Cape chamomile is commercially cultivated through vegetative propagation to meet the need for natural goods generated from the species. It is offered in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, and Western Cape provinces as traditional medicines in informal herbal medicine markets. Cape chamomile is an important medicinal plant in South Africa. It is featured in the book “medicinal plants of South Africa,” a photographic guide to the country’s most regularly used plant remedies, including botany, traditional applications, and active components.
8. Stinking Chamomile
Stinking chamomile or mayweed chamomile is the common English name of the plant called Anthemis cotula L. It is an annual flowering plant in the Asteraceae Compositae family with a strong, unmistakable odor. The Stinking chamomile is a Eurasia-native plant that has made its way to North America and is categorized as a noxious weed in many states. Its name is derived from the leaves’ foul odor and resemblance to Anthemis nobilis, the actual chamomile plant. Europe, Turkey, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Caucasus, Iran, Iraq, North Africa, Ethiopia, South America, Australia, and New Zealand are home to the plant.
According to Adhikari, Subodh & Burke, Ian & Eigenbrode, Sanford, this herb grows between 12 and 24 inches. It is more or less branched, usually subglabrous, and foul-smelling. The plant grows in landscapes, nurseries, agriculturally, along roadsides, meadows, disturbed areas, cultivated fields, pastures, gardens, lawns, and railway lines. It has a fibrous root structure and a taproot. The stems are 1-3 feet tall, frequently branching from the base, and green in color. The stems are gland spotted and glabrous or pubescent. When crushed, it has a strong foul odor and a bitter taste.
Traditionally, according to Quarenghi, Tereschuk, Baigori, & Abdala, it has been used in the medicinal and non-medicinal areas. Initially, it was used to treat problems relating to the uterus as antispasmodic and to induce menstruation. It also has astringent, emmenagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, and tonic properties. Internally, it is consumed as tea, brewed from either the flowers or the entire plant. Several ailments, including epilepsy, rheumatism, asthma, colds, and fevers, are treated with an infusion. It is used as a poultice for piles or to draw splinters out of the body when applied externally. It can also be added to bathing water or used to treat insect stings. However, its use in modern herbal treatment is infrequent. For people allergic to the plant, it can cause painful blisters. The flowers’ unfavorable taste is also a drawback to using it internally. Herbal tea is made similar to camomile tea, but the health benefits are weaker medicinally.
In the present day, in a study cited by Quarenghi, Tereschuk, Baigori, & Abdala, enzymes, flavonoids, and essential oils from the Stinking chamomile exhibited antimicrobial activity. This is beneficial in strengthening the plant’s use in dysentery, most often caused by bacterial infections. In addition, Adhikari, Subodh & Burke, Ian & Eigenbrode, Sanford also concluded that the presence of antioxidants like flavonoids, polyacetylenes, polyphenols, and sesquiterpene lactones as secondary metabolites of Stinking chamomile, can be employed in the medicinal and cosmetic sectors.
Its other uses are insecticide and insect repellant for mice and fleas. A gold dye can also be obtained from the whole plant. In Peru, the Stinking chamomile is used as a flavoring; however, some reports of toxicity have been found. Because of its noxious smell, the Stinking chamomile is used for its superior ability as an insect repellant.
The Stinking chamomile is not a popular type of chamomile utilized for herbal preparation and should be handled with caution. The leaves may be used for flavoring in small amounts and the flowers to make tea, although they lack the relaxing properties of chamomile. The scent of Stinking chamomile is not pleasing, which is why it is not a favorite wild food plant.
9. Field Chamomile
Field chamomile or the Anthemis arvensis plant is also called by the common names scentless chamomile, corn chamomile, and mayweed.
The Field chamomile is an annual herbaceous plant that grows up to 20 inches (50 centimeters) tall. It can be present as a plant with no hair on the stems. The alternate leaves are grayish-green in color and separated into many linear segments. The plant has no flowers; instead, it has a chapter or a collection of little blooms that come together. The flowers in the chapter’s external section are of the ray variety. The composite flower is welded to the petals of the corolla in the shape of a reed. These flowers are unisexual and white.
According to Kay, the field chamomile is a European plant brought to North America in the late 1800s. The plant could have arrived as a contaminant in ship ballast or an escaped garden ornamental from northern and eastern Europe. The odorless chamomile has become naturalized in North America and widely scattered across the continent. It’s a weed that grows in farms and pastures and can develop dense stands that crowd out other plants. Field chamomile is notable because it produces many seeds that can last for a decade or more in the soil.
The same study by Kay cites that Field chamomile claims to be one of the best fever-reducing plants native to France. It is also an anti-inflammatory, emetic, antispasmodic, and digestive in folk medicine. However, only a few studies prove these benefits in the present time. A study by Lopez, Akerreta, Casanova, Garcia-Mina, Cavero, & Calvo, which studied plants for their antifungal activity, the Field chamomile terpenoid contents show one of the highest abilities to inhibit the growth of Rhizopus, a food contaminant. Motti & de Falco add that even though this plant is one of the most commonly referenced species for its calming properties, there is little scientific data for treating insomnia and anxiety. To better understand its use as a sedative and its mechanism of action, more in-vitro and in-vivo research is needed. Therefore, Field chamomile is not used in herbal preparations.
By producing dense, semi-permanent stands, the Field chamomile can severely impact grain fields, pastures, hayfields, cultivated crops, and disturbed regions. In agriculture areas, the plant can be a troublesome weed.
Which Type Of Chamomile Grows Perennially Or Annually?
The types of chamomile that grow perennially are Roman, Wild, False, and Yellow chamomile. Perennial plants are chamomile varieties that live for longer than two years. Each winter, the top section of the plant dies back and regrows from the same root system the following spring. One of the chamomile’s most essential requirements is adjustments in temperature. According to Hatfield & Walthall, perennial plants require some chilling before flowers form. Chilling hours are when the temperature falls below a certain threshold, commonly set at 7 degrees Celsius. Its seeds also germinate over about 21 days at temperatures between 15 and 21 degrees Celsius. In terms of light, most perennial herbs require full sun to mature or six or more hours of direct sunlight per day. These plants also do not need fertilizer. Perennials, on average, require roughly an inch of water every week to stay healthy. It can come from rain, irrigation, or both and is best to water deeply but less frequently to grow long roots. They’ll grow deeper into the ground to keep cool and absorb moisture and nutrients stored there. Perennials like chamomile with a well-established root system can also withstand drought stress. The best time to water these plants is in the morning, saturating the roots with minimal evaporation. Also, as the sun and temperatures rise, foliage dries quickly, making plants less susceptible to fungal infections that thrive on moist leaves.
On the other hand, the annual flowering varieties are German, False, Moroccan, Stinking, and Field chamomile. Annual plants complete their life cycle in one growing season, from seed to flower to seed. The plant’s roots, stems, and leaves all perish every year. The only thing that connects one generation to the next is the dormant seed. They require more essential requirements. According to Streich, Schoneweis, & Rodie, moisture is crucial in seed germination. When using seeds for germination, vermiculite does not crust over like soil, allowing for proper seedling establishment. To avoid washing the seed away, sprinkle the planting area with a thin water mist. Maintain a wet bed until the seeds germinate. Lay newspapers, boards, or floating row covers over the planting area to keep the soil moist. As the seeds germinate, reduce the frequency of watering. Transplants are best planted at the coldest part of the day, preferably on an overcast day. Before taking plants from their containers, make sure they’re well-watered. Annual flowers require 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water each week on average. Ensure that the water reaches the roots. In most cases, hand watering is insufficient to provide consistent water. Watering with soaker hoses or sprinklers is a better option. Because there is relatively little runoff and evaporation and soil compaction are minimal, soaker hoses are the most efficient. Avoid watering from above, especially in the evening. During the growing season, an annual flower planter may require additional fertilizer. If the soil fertility is poor, plants should be fertilized every 4 to 6 weeks using 1/2 to 1 pound of 5-10-5 fertilizer per 100 square feet. Scratch the fertilizer into the soil after softly sprinkling it down the row. The annual chamomile plants grow best with full sun, but a little partial shade in warmer areas is preferable.
Which Type Of Chamomile Is Best Used For Tea?
The best chamomile used for tea is Egyptian chamomile, made from German chamomile and grown in Egypt. It has undergone processing, so the benefits from German chamomile are boosted. According to Aly & Hussien, its main benefits are:
- Improved taste. German chamomile has a strong flavor that may not be very palatable.
- Higher chamazulene content is the most active component responsible for chamomile’s health benefits.
- Higher volatile oil content. The essential oils are used for their relaxing and soothing properties.
Which Type Of Chamomile Is Best For Medicinal Use?
German chamomile is the best type of chamomile for medicinal use. Traditionally, it was considered a “star” herb because of its aromatic and extensive pharmacological properties. Presently, numerous studies back up its use as medicinal her. Compiled reviews from Al-Dabbagh, Elhaty, Elhaw, Murali, Al Mansoori, Awad & Amin, Chauhan et al., and Gupta lists the following as German chamomile’s main benefits:
- Promotes cardiometabolic and digestive health
- Treats body pains
- Reduces stress
- Treats cough and cold
- Relieves colic in newborns
Which Type Of Chamomile Contains High Concentrations Of Chamazulene?
The German chamomile contains high concentrations of Chamazulene. Chamazulene is a component derived after matricin is subjected to high temperatures and acidic conditions. This compound is rich in chamomile flowers. However, chamazulene cannot be found in the fresh flower but is created during the distillation process. Some German chamomile oil has less than 3% chamazulene, but the dark-blue oil type always contains more than 7%, taking advantage of its health benefits. It is historically used as an anti-inflammatory agent for skin problems. According to a review by McKay and Blumberg, in-vitro studies also show chamazulene is an antioxidant, anti-cancer, antibacterial, antifungal, antispasmodic, anti-allergy, and anti-inflammatory agent. This component is crucial, and chamomile products are standardized to have a certain amount of chamazulene and a-bisabolol.
What Are The Differences Between German Chamomile And Roman Chamomile?
Roman chamomile is a tiny perennial herb that grows to approximately 10 inches (25 cm) tall and has a hairy stem, feathery leaves, and daisy-like white blooms that are bigger than German chamomile. The more widely used plant is German chamomile, an annual herb that grows to approximately 23 inches (60 cm) high with a hairless branching stem, delicate feathery leaves, and simple daisy-like white flowers on single stems. According to Gupta, Srivastava, & Shankar, chamazulene is present in more significant amounts in German chamomile. Roman chamomile essential oil contains less chamazulene and is mostly made up of angelic acid and tiglic acid esters. German chamomile produces dark-blue oil. This oil contains the most potent active chamazulene and a compound called alpha-bisabolol, sesquiterpene alcohol. These compounds are responsible for German chamomile’s myriad health benefits like anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. According to McKay and Blumberg, animal model studies show potent anticancer, cholesterol-lowering, anti-spasm, and anti-anxiety benefits. Roman chamomile has a colorless or pale blue oil that changes into yellow with storage. On the other hand, Roman chamomile contains up to 80% esters. These compounds are known for their antispasmodic properties. It can be inhaled as a relaxant, while the herbal extract is used as a carminative. Studies also implicate Roman chamomile to have mild anti-inflammatory and antitumoral properties.
What Are The Differences Between German Chamomile And Egyptian Chamomile Tea?
German and Egyptian chamomile are differentiated by their habitat, history, medicinal uses, and flavor.
German chamomile grows in Southern and Eastern Europe. The herb has an apple-like scent and is widely used around the world. “Chamomile” comes from the Greek word “earth apple.” In West Asia and Eastern Europe, German chamomile was used to create beer. German chamomile has various uses, like treating diarrhea, indigestion, and heartburn. Some people use German chamomile to treat skin irritation, oral sores, and a variety of other ailments. Inhaling steam from a German chamomile infusion can help to alleviate cold symptoms. The pharmaceutical industry uses chamomile in teas, tinctures, salves, liquid extracts, creams, and capsules. It flavors meals and beverages. Cosmetics, soothing lotions and balms, soaps, and mouthwashes all contain German chamomile as well. The flowers have a distinct, aromatic, and even unpleasant scent. As a result, it’s more useful in brewing and manufacturing. German Chamomile is often used in herbal beverages because the FDA has allowed it as a food ingredient.
Egyptian chamomile lives in Egypt’s verdant Nile River Valley and is considered the best grade of chamomile with a smoother flavor than varieties from other countries. Chamomile was used to honor the gods, heal the sick, and embalm the dead in Ancient Egypt. Historically, the Egyptian chamomile is the king of calming herbs and may be used as a sleep aid due to its antispasmodic qualities, reducing muscular and nervous stress. It may aid those suffering from sleeplessness or anxiety, as well as the restless. In the realm of tisanes, its flavor profile and warm, earthy, flowery experience are unrivaled. Egyptian Chamomile yields a deep yellow cup that is caffeine-free. According to Aly & Hussien, Egyptian chamomile is currently processed and cultivated to be superior to German chamomile. It has improved taste and has higher chamazulene content and volatile oil content than German chamomile.
Which Type Of Chamomile Can Help You Sleep?
Roman, German, and Egyptian chamomile can help a person sleep because they all contain apigenin, which binds to benzodiazepine receptors producing a sedative effect. However, the use of Roman chamomile is better researched for this benefit. According to Clarke, Roman chamomile oils are promoted as a natural sleeping ai in children. Chamomile was found to have hypnotic properties in an animal study by Shinomiya, Inoue, Utsu, Tokunaga, Masuoka, Ohmori, & Kamei, reducing the time needed to fall asleep. On the other hand, Pyrzynska & Sentkowska extracted German chamomile’s components and noted it has mild sedative effects that help to induce sleep. Egyptian chamomile, having improved taste and a higher amount of essential oils, can also help reduce sleeplessness.
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