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Anthemis Nobilis: Chamomile

Botany:


Chamomile is a member of the daisy family, and although it is native to Europe, it can now be found across the United States and elsewhere in the world. The plant can grow from six inches to two feet in height. The stem is smooth and has alternating, finely divided leaves. In May, the flower blooms white with a yellow center, characteristic of the daisies. Overall, the plant is quite hardy, and grows best in full sun, dry, sandy soil, and relatively neutral pH.

Chemistry:


The essential oils of chamomile contain several compounds vital to its medicinal properties. To begin with, up to half of the oil consists of a compound called matricin. Matricin, upon being heated forms chamazulene, which has anti-inflammatory properties. There are also flavonoids such as apigenin, luteolin, herniarin, and umbelliferone present in the oils. These flavonoids calm smooth muscle spasms, though it is not sure exactly which is responsible. It is for these compounds that chamomile is able to calm stomach aches and ease muscle pains.

Fun Fact


The name chamomile originates from the Greek word chamaimelon meaning “ground apple” due to the distinct scent of chamomile when it blossoms. Chamomile is native to Europe and the Mediterranean, and has been used in those areas for hundreds of years in a variety of ways. Inside the head of the flower are essential oils that have many different medicinal properties.

History:


 

Uses/Pharmacology:


Chamomile is used to treat numerous physical problems. Back in Medieval days, people would pick the flower and squeeze the oils directly into their eyes for eye pain. Today the flower is picked and can either be brewed into a tea or the oils can be extracted and used in ointments, inhalations, lotions, and shampoos.Chamomile brewed as tea helps to alleviate back pains, menstrual pains, and stomach aches, as well as nervousness and irritability.

The chamomile is a well distributed plant that has many useful medicinal properties. Inside of the flower are oils that are responsible for the therapeutic capabilities when ingested. When brewed into a tea, chamomile lightens aches and pains and soothes nervousness. Chamomile has been recorded as used in the Mediterranean for over 2000 years, and will most likely still be used there, and throughout the world for many years to come.

Dosing/Recipes:


According to The People’s Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies, the tea is made by steeping 1-2 teaspoons of dried flower heads in 2/3 cup of boiling water, and is to be taken 3-4 times a day for digestive issues.

Contraindications/Interactions/Adverse Reactions:


 

References Cited:


  1. Graedon, Joe Graedon & Theresa. The People's Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies.St. Martin's Paperbacks, 2002.
  2. Still, Cecil C. Botany and Healing. Rutgers University Press, 1998.
  3. Strange, Richard Le. A History of Herbal Plants. Angus & Robertson, 1977.
  4. Tyler, Varro. The Honest Herbal. Routledge, 1999.

Researched By: Dexter Norris