Scientific Name/Common Name: Matricaria recutita / Chamomile
Part(s) Used: Flower
Constituents/Active Ingredients: From 0.5-1.5% essential oil containing (-)-alpha bisabolol, bisabolol oxides A, B, and C, chamazulene, cis- and trans-enyne dicyclo ethers (spiro-ether, polyacetylenes) as the principal components. The flowers also contain: Bitter substances of the sesquiterpene lactone type, including: matricin and matricarin; Mucilage; and Flavonoids (0.5-3%), including apigenin, coumarins, and phenolic acids.
Overview: German Chamomile is a common plant in the Daisy/Asteraceae family and has numerous small golden flower-heads with a pleasant characteristic aroma. Chamomile is most well known as a calming and relaxing bedtime tea and research has shown that the apigenin it contains is an effective sedative. Chamomile was the subject of a 2009 study for its benefit in cases of stress and anxiety. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that a chamomile extract had a significant effect over placebo in reducing anxiety scores after 8 weeks of use for people with mild to moderate anxiety. Through its bitter properties and essential oil, chamomile also increases the flow of gastric juices relieving dyspepsia, indigestion, heartburn, and other gastrointestinal complaints including: gastritis, enteritis, colitis, and flatulence. Chamomile tea is also recommended to alleviate digestive and menstrual cramps and to treat headaches associated with liver congestion. Chamomile has also been used externally as an anti-inflammatory wash for treating skin irritations.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: For nervous indigestion, gas, cramping, and bloating; for inflammatory conditions of the GI tract; for restlessness and insomnia; anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References: Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, editors. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000. Mills S, Bone K. 2000. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Toronto (ON): Churchill Livingstone, pp. 319-320. Amsterdam JD, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder.J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2009 Aug;29(4):378-82.
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