Taxonomic Hierarchy This herb belongs to the Kingdom Plantae, Super-division Spermatophyta, Division-Magnoliophyta, Class-Magnoliopsida, Order-Asterales, Family-Asteraceae, Genus-Matricaria L., and species Matricaria recutita L. (Plants.usda.gov, 2017)
Common Names The most common names for this plant are German chamomile, Wild chamomile, Hungarian chamomile, and scented mayweed.
Synonyms Other commonly used names for this herb include Chamomilla chamomilla L., Chamomilla recutita L., Matricaria chamomilla L., Matricaria chamomilla L. var. coronate, and Matricaria suaveolens L. (Plants.usda.gov, 2017).
Botany and Parts Used
Growing Pattern and Plant Structure
Matricaria recutita L. is native to Europe and Asia although is also grown in many other parts of the world such as North America and Australia. The species is commercially grown worldwide as an herbal tea and other medicinal extracts used in various pharmaceuticals.
This species grows well in the terrestrial environment and it an annual plant.
It has a branched, straight and smooth stem that grows to a height of 20 to 60 centimeters. The flowers have paniculate flower heads commonly known as capitula with white ray florets and yellow disc florets. The flowers bloom from early summer up to midsummer with a strong aromatic smell.
Parts Used The widely used part of this plant the flowers are used in herbal tea. Dried flowers have active ingredients that are used as anti-inflammatories and anti-bacterial agents.
This species is also used as a whole plant where essential oils are extracted for medicinal uses (Global Herbal Supplies. 2017).
Main Constituents One of the extracts of this species is the essential oil that contains several active ingredients. Terpene bisabolol, farnesene, chamazulene, and flavonoids are the main constituents. The above constituents can inhibit inflammation and prevent or cure bacterial infections (Ghizlane & Aziz, 2016).
Medicinal Actions and Research Report
Traditional Uses According to Singh, Khanam, Misra & Srivastava, (2011), Chamomilla has been traditionally used as an herbal substance in herbal tea for oral uses and inhalation whereby liquid dosages were prepared for the above uses. Concerning inhalation, liquid dosages were prepared, diluted and then steamed for inhalation. It was also widely used in gastrointestinal diseases such as bloating, minor spasms and ulcers, inflammations in the mouth, throat, and bath additives. Additionally, this herb was traditionally used to treat minor inflammatory conditions of the skin and topically applied to enhance wound healing and furuncles. People believe that Chamomilla induces anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects.
The modern studies have isolated the active components of Chamomilla. According to Srivastava, Shankar, and Gupta, (2010), Chamomile is one of the traditional medicinal herbs familiar to mankind and it is widely used in human for herbal remedies. This study, therefore, will exclude animal research. Dried flowers contain terpenoids and flavonoids that depict medicinal properties. It is widely used in treating ailments such as inflammation, hay fever, menstrual disorders, hemorrhoids, wounds and gastrointestinal disorders. Additionally, the essential oils were also widely used in cosmetics and aromatherapy. This herb has both preventive and curative medicinal properties.
The study by Srivastava, Shankar, and Gupta, (2010), found that Chamomilla has different classes of bioactive compounds that included volatile oils (alpha-bisabolol, alpha-bisabolol oxides A & B, and matricin). The volatile oils contain anti-inflammatory and antiphlogistic properties. The study also documented that these essential oils and flavonoids could penetrate below the skin surface and therefore it was widely used as a topical anti-inflammatory agent. Chamomile contains apigenin which is a bioactive compound medically used as in tumor growth inhibition, and promising effects have been observed in breast, ovarian, skin, and prostate cancers. Inhaling steams containing Chamomile extracts have been helpful in the treatment of common cold complications such as acute viral nasopharyngitis and pneumonia. The apple pectin-chamomile extract is also widely used in the treatment of colic diarrhea conditions and specifically infant colic disorders. Concerning eczema, chamomile extracts were added into topical creams that indicated effective treatment of this disease.
Gastrointestinal conditions also constitute the majority of the uses of this herb. Some of the major conditions include digestive disorders, upset stomach, ulcers, and gastrointestinal irritation. Chamomile extracts consumed in food or herbal tea help in dispelling gas, soothing the stomach, and enhancing muscle relaxation thus aiding movement of food through the intestines. The extracts also contain anti-ulcerogenic effect that helps in reducing acid output, increases mucin secretion and release of prostaglandin, and causes a decrease in leukotrienes. The STW5 extracts are effective in lowering gastric acidity as well as preventing secondary hyperacidity. Chamomilla ointment and tincture are used to reduce inflammation effect associated with hemorrhoids (Herbwisdom, 2017).
Extracts from chamomile can also be used to boost the immune system thus helping in fighting infections associated with viruses and bacteria. After drinking Chamomilla tea, analysis of urine samples indicates the presence of hippurate and glycine that are makers of antibacterial activity. Other medicinal uses of Chamomilla include mucositis and osteoporosis. Its extracts were found to stimulate the differentiation and mineralization of osteoblastic cells whose function is bone repair. Additionally, Chamomilla tea and essential oils are used in the treatment of insomnia and induction of calming effects (sedation). The extracts have an hypnotic benzodiazepine-like impact that induces which is a sedative. The above treatment can be achieved through vaporization of the essential oil or compounds mixed in tea. Lastly, this herb has been used in the treatment of anxiety and seizure as well as diabetes (Juarascio, Cuellar, & Gooneratne, 2012).
Preparation and Dosage: Safety Precautions
Preparation and Dosage The herb is dried and stored in a cool, dry place free from moisture and heat.
Herbal tea is prepared by mixing two teaspoons of dried flowers in a cup of tea and boiled for ten to fifteen minutes avoiding evaporation of volatile oils (Herbwisdom, 2017). It belongs to Class 2 of herbal drugs.
In ointments, 1% of the extracts (essential oils) are used as an additive.
Tincture of Chamomilla can also be prepared using 90% alcohol and the compounds are mixed in the ratio of 1:2 and a dosage of 5 ml twice a day is recommenmded.
Another form of administration is through inhalation of Chamomilla steam (Herbwisdom, 2017).
Safety Considerations When using it in herbal medication, it should not be used alongside with blood thinners. It contains coumarin that causes drug interactions.
Large dosages may cause nausea and vomiting.
Topical application has no impact on the skin.
It may cause allergy for individuals who are allergic to ragweed pollen (Medicalhealthguide.com, 2017)
Ghizlane, H., & Aziz, B. (2016). Chapter 3 - Pharmacological properties of some medicinal
plants, its components and using fields.
Global Herbal Supplies. (2017). German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) | Global Herbal
Supplies. [online] Available at: https://www.globalherbalsupplies.com/herb_information/chamomile_german.htm [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
Herbwisdom. (2017). Chamomile Benefits & Information (Matricaria Recutita). [online]
Available at: https://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-chamomile.html [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
Juarascio, A., Cuellar, N. & Gooneratne, N. (2012). Alternative Therapeutics for Sleep
Disorders-Chapter 9.Medicalhealthguide.com. (2017). Chamomile Herbal Medicine, Health Benefits, Side Effects.
[online] Available at: http://www.medicalhealthguide.com/herb/chamomile.htm [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
Plants.usda.gov. (2017). Plants Profile for Matricaria recutita (German chamomile). [online]
Available at: https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=MARE6 [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
Singh O., Khanam Z., Misra N. & Srivastava Mk. (2011). Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.):
An overview. Pharmacognosy Reviews. 5, 82-95.
Srivastava J., Shankar E, & Gupta S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with
bright future. Molecular Medicine Reports. 3, 895-901.
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