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Chamomille (german)




Chamomille


Botanical Name

Matricaria chamomilla

Common Name

Chamomile, camomile, German chamomile, Hungarian chamomile, manzanilla, scented mayweed, sweet false chamomile, true chamomile, wild chamomile

Family

Asteraceae

Parts Used

Flower head

Native To

Southern and eastern Europe

Harvesting Guidelines

Chamomile, specifically German chamomile, is harvested during the spring and summer months over a period of two months. The flower itself is made up of yellow disc florets and white ray florets, forming a composite head. The flowering process begins with the outer florets and progresses towards the center, resulting in a rounded cone shape. The ideal time for harvesting is when the flowering has progressed halfway up the head. Picking the flowers too early will result in immature flowers, while waiting too long will lead to over-mature flowers that will fall apart during drying, affecting the overall appearance of the dried product.

 

Chamomile is a delicate-looking plant with powerful properties. It is known for its ability to calm the nerves and reduce inflammation, making it a versatile addition to any herbal medicine cabinet. Not only is chamomile easy to grow, but it also attracts pollinators and adds a touch of beauty to any garden. Its popularity as an herbal tea ingredient is well-deserved, and its blue-colored essential oil is widely used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. For those who enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, chamomile flowers can add a unique flavor to homemade lemon sorbet or herbal lemonades.


Chamomile, also known as German chamomile, has been used as a traditional herbal remedy for minor gastrointestinal issues such as bloating and spasms. It is also believed to have soothing properties for colds, minor ulcers, and inflammations of the mouth and throat. Topically, chamomile can be applied to ease irritations and minor inflammations of the skin, such as sunburn and superficial wounds. Renaissance botanist physicians considered chamomile a true panacea, while modern herbalists value its sedative, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory actions, as well as its calming and soothing effects on the gastrointestinal tract.(1)


Chamomile is a versatile herb that has been used for centuries to promote digestive health and emotional wellbeing. While it is often touted for its sleep-inducing properties, its effectiveness in this regard may vary from person to person. If chamomile alone does make you feel drowsy, it may be a sign that you need to improve your sleep habits in general. For a more restful night's sleep, try steeping equal parts chamomile and skullcap with half a part of wild lettuce in a tea for at least 20 minutes. Add honey to taste if desired.


The name chamomile comes from the Greek khamaimēlon, meaning "ground apple." This is because the plant has an apple-like scent. The Latin genus name Matricaria comes from "matrix," meaning uterus, which is derived from mater, the word for mother. Chamomile was historically referred to as "mother herb" in several European countries due to its use during childbirth and postnatal care. Today, that name commonly refers to feverfew. Chamomile was also known as "maiden flower," believed to refer to its use for menstrual health by the Greek physician Dioscorides.(2)


Chamomile has been used for digestive problems since the 1st century CE. It was found in scrapings from 50,000-year-old Neanderthal teeth along with yarrow. In De Materia Medica of Dioscorides, three species of Anthemis are described, one of which is thought to be German chamomile. However, chamomile's historical applications are difficult to untangle due to its many different names and lack of thorough botanical descriptions. Similar-looking herbs have also been used interchangeably. This issue was highlighted by botanist physician Otto Brunfels, who accused some authors of deliberately describing chamomile in different ways just to publish a book on their own.


Chamomile tea is relaxing and can improve sleep. However, when combined with stimulating herbs like rosemary or rhodiola, it can also reduce the impact of stress over time. It's best to drink throughout the day, starting in the morning. A long extraction of chamomile and stinging nettle can replenish the body and alleviate allergies. Adding tasty herbs like tulsi or fennel can make it even more enjoyable and beneficial.(3)




 

Adult Dose (4)


Tincture: 1-4 mL (1:5, 40%) 3x/day.

Tea: 1 cup (2-3 teaspoons dried herb in 8 fl oz boiling water) 3-4x/day.

Compress: 3-10 g dried flowers in 100 mL water made into an infusion and applied to the skin with a soaked dressing.

Mouthwash: 1-5 g in 100 mL water made into an infusion; rinse and gargle several times per day (EMA, 2015).

Bath additive: 15-30 mL fluid extract (1:2, 70%) per 5 L warm water for partial baths (e.g., a sitz bath or foot bath) several times per day


Safety

Chamomile is a gentle herb that is generally safe to consume within the recommended dosage. It is even suitable for children, pregnant women, and those who are breastfeeding. However, it is important to note that there are limited safety studies available and certain contraindications should be taken into consideration. For example, chamomile can cause allergic reactions in individuals who are sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae family. In rare cases, chamomile enemas have been linked to anaphylaxis-related fatalities, such as one reported incident where a woman in labor went into allergic shock and her newborn suffered from asphyxia and died the following day. Additionally, chamomile may reduce the absorption of iron, so it is best to avoid taking it simultaneously with meals or iron supplements if you have anemia.(5)


Actions


Energy

Cooling,drying


References:


(1)Marzell, H. (2002) Geschichte und Volkskunde der Deutschen Heilpflanzen [History and folklore of German medicinal plants] (2nd ed.). St. Goar, Germany: Reichl Verlag. (Original work published 1938)

(2)Dioscorides. (2000). De materia medica (T.A. Osbaldeston & R.P.A. Wood, Trans.). Johannesburg, South Africa: Ibidis Press. (Original work published 70 CE)

(3) https://www.herbrally.com/monographs/chamomile

(4)Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

(5)European Medicines Agency. (2015). European Union herbal monograph on Matricaria recutita L., flos. Retrieved from https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/herbal-monograph/final-european-union-herbal-monograph-matricaria-recutita-l-flos_en.pdf

 

Scientific Research:





Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may provide antidepressant activity in anxious, depressed humans: An exploratory study. Information offered on Achula and on this page is for educational purposes only. Achula makes neither medical claim, nor intends to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Women who are pregnant or nursing, and persons with known medical conditions, should consult their licensed healthcare provider before taking any herbal product. Links to external sites are for informational purposes only. Achula neither endorses them nor is in any way responsible for their content. Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements.




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