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(Matricaria Chamomilla)

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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.


 Amino Acids  Apigenin  Apiin
 Azulene compounds  Carbohydrates  Chamazulene
 Coumarins  Farnesol  Fatty acids
 Flavonoids  Guaiazulene  Luteolin
 Plant acids  Scopoletin  Volatile oils

* For definition of some of the above terms see the dictionary section of this book.


 Bioflavonoids  Choline  UFA
 Vitamin B Complex  Vitamin C  

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Anodyne - a substance which relieves pain, usually with accompanied sedation.

Anthelmintic - an agent which destroys or expels intestinal worms.

Antispasmodic - an agent which relieves or prevents spasms, usually of the smooth muscles. Barbiturates and valerian are examples of antispasmodics.

Calmative - a substance that has a soothing or sedative effect.

Carminative - an agent which assists in expelling gas from the intestines.

Diaphoretic - an agent which increases perspiration.

Stimulant - an agent that temporarily increases activity or physiological processes. Stimulants may be classified according to the organ upon which they act; for example, an intestinal stimulant is that which stimulates the intestines.

Tonic - an agent which strengthens or tones.

Chamomile helps promote thyroxine which helps rejuvenate the texture of the hair and skin, and also promotes mental alertness. It is also a soothing sedative and is useful internally for babies and children as an aid in colds, stomach trouble, colitis, sleeplessness, and as a gargle, and externally for eczema and inflammation. As a tea it is used for nerves and menstrual cramps. It has been recommended for persons who cannot tolerate caffeine, such as those with peptic ulcers, hypertension, and heart problems.

It is recognized by the orthodox medical profession, especially in France and Spain, as a valuable medicine for the young. Doctors in an eastern United States hospital gave this herb, as a tea, to heart patients who had not responded to sleep-inducing drugs. Of the 12 patients, 10 immediately fell asleep.

Chamomile contains chamazulene, which has antiallergenic and anti-inflammatory properties. Some species of chamomile contain alkaloids which could induce spasms, but the substance does not have a significant biological effect at the concentrations obtained in a normal human dose of chamomile tea. However, such teas are usually used over a long period of time, during which a cumulative effect might result.

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Chamomile can produce severe shock in individuals allergic to ragweed pollen. Chamomile should be taken in moderate doses; large doses can cause vomiting. Chamomile can cause contact dermatitis or external skin rashes. Chamomile tea has a marked hypnotic effect.


There are no known interactions. Possible interactions relate to the antiarrhythmic agent quinidine, which may increase the hypoprothrombonemic effect of Chamomile. Conversely, the anti-inflammatory activity of Chamomile can be seriously inhibited by phenobarbital as well as by certain other sedatives and hypnotics, such as chloral hydrate and meprobamate. This is also true of beta-adrenergic blocking agents such as propranolol. Vitamin K, menadione, and menadiol sodium diphosphate may antagonize the anticoagulant effect of coumarins.

Although the coumarin content of chamomile is not high at normal usage levels, it is important to note that coumarins can affect the action of almost any drug. It should also be noted that the presence of azulenes in chamomile may interfere with the actions of bradykinin, histamine, acetylcholine, and serotonin.

To the extent that chamomile's action depends on the presence of cholinergic substances, its action will be affected by the decrease in cholinergic-receptor stimulation produced by anticholinergics.

In the absence of other hard data, it may still be assumed that observable interactions may occur between the many central nervous system drugs and the psychoactive principles in chamomile.

There is evidence to show that combining bactericidal and bacteriostatic agents will lower the effectiveness of the bacteriostatic agent. However, how this finding applies to herbal anti-infectives is still unknown.

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