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Chamomile - Benefits of Chamomile

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Matricaria chamomilla L. and Anthemis nobilis. Sometimes referred to as Chamaemelum nobile (L.) All. Family: Compositae (Asteraceae)

COMMON NAME(S):M. chamomilla is known as German, Hungarian, or genuine chamomile, and A. nobilis is called English or Roman chamomile (common chamomile).

Chamomile is an annual herb found in southern Europe and northern Asia. It grows along roadsides and fields. The plant produces a round, furrowed, and branched stem which grows one to two feet in height. The leaves are pale green, incised, and sessile, with thread-shaped leaflets. The flower heads consists of yellow disk flowers and white petal-shaped ray flowers that are bent downward to make the disk flowers more prominent. The medicinal part is the flower.

History

Known since Roman times for their medicinal properties, the plants have been used as antispasmodics and sedatives in the folk treatment of digestive and rheumatic disorders. Teas have been used to treat parasitic worm infections and as a hair tint and conditioner. The volatile oil has been used to flavor cigarette tobacco.

Botany :- M. chamomilla grows as an erect annual and A. nobilis is a slow-growing perennial. The fragrant flowering heads of both plants are collected and dried for use as teas and extracts.

Uses of Chamomile

Teas and extracts of the flower heads have been used as anti-inflammatories, gastrointestinal antispasmodics, and sedatives.

  • Research has found chamomile components with these effects and anti-allergic activity
  • Speeds healing of skin ulcers, wounds, or burns.
  • Soothes and relaxes at bedtime.

Other Uses

  • Makes a relaxing bath or footbath.
  • Lightens fair hair and conditions complexion. Make a rinse by simmering 2 teaspoons dried flowers in 8 ounces of water for 15 minutes.
  • Potpourri (dry flowers face down.)

Side Effects of Chamomile

Although toxicity appears to be low, sensitive individuals have ,experienced contact dermatitis, anaphylaxis, and other reactions. Inhibition of activity may slow drug absorption

Dosage

Chamomile is often taken three to four times daily between meals as a tea. Common alternatives are to use 2-3 grams of the herb in tablet or capsule form or 4-6 ml of tincture three times per day between meals. Standardized extracts containing 1% apigenin and 0.5% volatile oils may also be used. One to two capsules containing 300-400 mg of extract may be taken three times daily. Topical creams or ointments can be applied to the affected area three to four times daily.

Toxicology
The toxicity of bisabolol is low following oral administration in animals. The acute LD-50 is approximately 15 mL/kg in rats and mice. In a 4 week sub-acute toxicity study, the administration of bisabolol (1 to 2 ml/kg body weight) to rats caused no significant toxicity. No teratogenicity or developmental abnormalities were noted in rats and rabbits after chronic administration of 1 mL/kg bisabolol.

The tea, prepared from the pollen-laden flower heads, has resulted in contact dermatitis, anaphylaxis,and other severe hypersensitivity reactions in persons allergic to ragweed, asters, chrysanthemums, and other members of the family Compositae. Al though some experts suggest that people with allergies to ragweed pollens should refrain from ingesting chamomile, good evidence for this cross-sensitivity remains to be established.

The dried flowering heads are emetic when ingested in large quantities.

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