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Herbal Monograph 

Herb: CHAMOMILE   (Matricaria chamomila (German), Anthemis nobilis (Roman); Compositae)

Other Names:    pin heads, chamomilla (2); Pinheads, single chamomile  (57)

Energetics:  bitter, spicy, neutral   (6)

Meridians/Organs affected:  liver, stomach, lungs    (6)

Part used:  flowers (6)  Dried flower heads  (61)

Identification and Harvesting:    Plant is a 8-16 in. high herb with an erect, smooth stem, which is branched above.  Leaves are 2-3 pinnatisect (feathery?) and have a narrow thorny tip.  Composite flower is white with a yellow center.  Heads are terminal and long-stemmed.  Ray florets are white, linguiform, and 3-toothed.  Disc florets are tubular, 5-toothed, with a hollow receptacle.  The receptacle of true chamomile is hollow which distinguishes it from other types of chamomile.  Indigenous to Europe and northwest Asia, naturalized in North America and elsewhere.    (2)

Flower heads are much smaller than so-called Roman or double chamomile, Anthemis nobilis, and have only one row of ligulate florets, which are usually bent backwards when dry.  Receptacle is conical and hollow, and has no membranous bracts on it.  Tastes bitter and aromatic.  Odor similar to double chamomile but weaker.  Florets readily drop.    (57)

The primary chamomile of commerce is grown in Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Argentina, Egypt.  Roman or English chamomile, the perennial Chamaemelum nobile, is less frequently seen in the American market.    (61)

Active constituents:    volatile oils .4-1.5%, chiefly (-)-alpha-bisabolol (levomenol), bisabolol oxide A, bisabolol oxide B, bisabolol oxide C, beta-trans-farnesene, trans-en-yn-dicycloether (polyyne spiroether, adjoining cis-en-yn-dicycloether), chamazulene (blue in color, arising from the non-volatile proazulene matricine after steam distillation);  flavonoids incl. flavone glycosides, aglycones apigenin, lureolin, chrysoeriol, glycosides apigenin-7-O-glucoside, apigenine glucoside acetate, -flavonol glycosides, aglycones incl. quercetin, isorhamnetin, patuletin, rutin, hyperoside, freely present highly methoxylized flavonoids i.e. jaceidine;  hydroxycoumarins incl. umbelliferone, herniarin;  mucilages 10% incl. fructans, rhamnogalacturonane  (2)

essential oil comprised of a blue‑colored azulene, also coumarin, flavonic heterosides, tanruc acid   (6)

Actions:   Main active principles are flavonoids and essential oils.  Herb has antiphlogistic, antispasmodic and antibacterial effects.  Also promotes would healing.  The anti-inflammatory effect is caused by chamomile flavones.    (2)

calmative, nervine, antispasmodic, anodyne, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, carminative     (6)

Carminative, sedative, tonic.    (57)

Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, carminative, antispasmodic and mild sedative, as well as for promotion of wound healing.    (61)

Conditions and Uses:    Common cold, cough, bronchitis, fevers, skin inflammation, oral inflammation, pharyngeal inflammation, liver and gallbladder complaints, loss of appetite, infection, wounds, burns.  Used internally for inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tractwith spasms.  Externally used for skin and mucous membrane inflammations, pulpitis, gingivitis, respiratory catarrh, and ano-genital inflammation.    (2)

Chamomile is used for nervousness, headaches, anxiety, cramps and spasms. It also is beneficial for febrile diseases such as colds and flu. It is frequently used for digestive complaints and taken regularly will gently regulate the boweIs. It contains an easily assimilable form of calcium and a tablespoon steeped in a covered cup of boiling water with two slices of fresh ginger is a very effective treatment for menstrual cramps and other pains and spasms. The same tea may be used for minor digestive problems such as acid indigestion and gas.    (6)

An excellent remedy in children’s ailments.  Acts as a nerve sedative and also as a tonic upon the gastro-intestinal canal.  Useful during dentition, in cases of earache, neuralgic pains, stomach disorders, and infantile convulsions.    (57)

Used for centuries to quiet an upset stomach, promote urination and relieve colic, and induce sleep.  Used topically to reduce inflammation, soothe aches and heal cuts, sores and bruises. Its uses today differ little from those of ancient times.  Used as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, carminative, antispasmodic and mild sedative, as well as for promotion of wound healing.  Used in Europe to treat inflammationsand irritations of the skin and mucous membranes, including the mouth, gums and respiratory tract;  and for hemorrhoids.  The tea or tincture relieves spasms and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract as well as peptic ulcers.  A mild tea is a gentle sleep aid, particularly for children.  Modern indications are backed both by intensive recent research and by many centuries of common use.    (61)

Precautions:    A weak potential for sensitization.    (2)

Persons allergic to the pollen of other members of the aster family, such as ragweed, may also be allergic to chamomile.  Teas made from the dried flowers contain pollen.  Rare incidence of contact dermatitis.  According to Varro Tyler, only one in ten reported allergic reactions have been attributed to the German variety.    (61)        

Tincturing Process:

Dosage:  Infusion:  pour boiling water 3 pints over 3 g dried herb;  cover 5-10 min and strain.  1 g. = 1 tsp.  Average daily internal dose is 10-15 g.    (2)

6‑12 gms,‑in infusion; tincture,10‑30 drops    (6)

The infusion of 1/2 oz. to 1 pint of boiling water may be given freely in teaspoonful doses to children.  Also used externally as a fomentation.  Powder dose 2-4 drachms.  Liquid extract dose 1/4-1 drachm.    (57)

Up to 2.5 g. capsules daily.  Steep 1/2-1 tsp dried flowers in a cup of hot water, 3-4 times daily.  Tincture 10-40 drops 3 x daily.    (61)

General Notes:  Medical literature has reported only five cases of allergic reactions to chamomile in the past 100 years.    (1)

Germans call chamomile alles zutraut — capable of anything.  An official drug in the pharmacopoeias of 26 countries.    (61)



(1)  Cayuga Botanicals Research Data, “Herbal Safety:  Hype or Help?” by Rosemary Gladstar Slick, Vegetarian Times, Jun. ’93, p. 89

(2)  PDR for Herbal Medicines (Medical Economics Co., 1998), pgs. 961-62

(6) Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra, C.A., N./D., pgs. 358-359

(57) Potter’s Cyclopaedia by R.C. Wren, F.L.S., p. 82

(61) 101 Medicinal Herbs by Steven Foster, pgs. 54-55