The fresh plant is pleasantly aromatic, with an apple like perfume that the ancient Greeks enjoyed. It was they who named it ‘ground apple’ – kamai (on the ground) and melon (an apple) – from whence our name Chamomile came.
Chamomile eases colicky spasm and pain, especially where worry is a factor.
It helps to dispel flatulence.
It has an anti-inflammatory action on the lining of the digestive system and skin.
It aids sleep caused by restlessness and irritability.
Research at Imperial college London and published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2005) provides evidence that the traditional herbal medicine Chamomile may actually help relieve a wide range of health ailments including colds and menstrual cramps.
“This is one of a growing number of studies that provide evidence that commonly used natural products really do contain chemicals that may be of medicinal value,” says study leader Elaine Holmes, Ph.D., a chemist with Imperial College London.
The researchers found that drinking the tea was associated with a significant increase in urinary levels of hippurate, a breakdown product of certain plant-based compounds known as phenolics, some of which have been associated with increased antibacterial activity. This could help explain why the tea appears to boost the immune system and fight infections associated with colds, according to the researchers.
Drinking the tea also was associated with an increase in urinary levels of glycine, an amino acid that has been shown to relieve muscle spasms. This may explain why the tea appears to be helpful in relieving menstrual cramps in women, probably by relaxing the uterus, say the researchers.
Glycine also is known to act as a nerve relaxant, which may also explain why the tea seems to act as a mild sedative, the scientists note. Levels of both hippurate and glycine remained elevated for up to two weeks after the study participants stopped drinking the tea, indicating that the compounds may remain active for quite some time.
Notible research that informs my professional herbal practice:
J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 10;56(17):8206-11. Epub 2008 Aug 6. Links
Protective effects of dietary chamomile tea on diabetic complications.
Matricaria chamomilla L., known as “chamomile”, has been used as an herbal tea or supplementary food all over the world. We investigated the effects of chamomile hot water extract and its major components on the prevention of hyperglycemia and the protection or improvement of diabetic complications in diabetes mellitus. Hot water extract, esculetin (3) and quercetin (7) have been found to show moderate inhibition of sucrase with IC50 values of 0.9 mg/mL and 72 and 71 microM, respectively. In a sucrose-loading test, the administration of esculetin (50 mg/kg body weight) fully suppressed hyperglycemia after 15 and 30 min, but the extract (500 mg/kg body weight) and quercetin (50 mg/kg body weight) were less effective. chamomile extract showed potent inhibition against aldose reductase (ALR2), with an IC50 value of 16.9 microg/mL, and its components, umbelliferone (1), esculetin (3), luteolin (6), and quercetin (7), could significantly inhibit the accumulation of sorbitol in human erythrocytes.
These results clearly suggested that daily consumption of chamomile tea with meals could contribute to the prevention of the progress of hyperglycemia and diabetic complications.
Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology:August 2009 – Volume 29 – Issue 4 – pp 378-382
A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Oral Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) Extract Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Amsterdam, Jay D. MD; Li, Yimei MS; Soeller, Irene MSN, CRNP; Rockwell, Kenneth MS, PharmD; Mao, Jun James MD; Shults, Justine PhD
Conclusions: This is the first controlled clinical trial of chamomile extract for GAD. The results suggest that chamomile may have modest anxiolytic activity in patients with mild to moderate GAD. Future studies are needed to replicate these observations.
The results above correspond with traditional uses of the herb to calm the human nervous system and promote relaxation.
This information is for educational purposes only. For any advice on medicinal use of herbs consult a registered Medical Herbalist.