Plant Family: 

Asteraceae

 

Habitat & Cultivation: 

Matricaria recutita, or chamomile, belongs to the Asteraceae family. Well, we know that the Asteraceae family is one of the largest botanical families and contains many of our beloved herbs, foods, bouquets and weeds. This family is generally considered safe and edible, although with very high active ingredients (including alkaloids). Alkaloids are food most concentrated in the root system, so the flowers are less concerning when thinking about possible sensitivities. Maybe this is why consuming the chamomile flower is also considered a safe herbal option for kids?

 

The Asteraceae family is the family that herbalists associate with “trauma” or “first aid” plants.  We see that this proves true with chamomile, which is an emotional trauma plant.

 

Chamomile is native to southern and eastern Europe, however, it is grown in Germany, Hungary, France, Russia, Yugoslavia, Brazil, North Africa, Asia, North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand (Singh, Khanam, Misra, Srivastava, 2010). I find chamomile, and it’s tricky lookalikes here in the pacific northwest region.

 

Parts Used/Collection: 

Flowers 

 

Herbal Actions: 

  • Anti-emetic

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Anti-microbial

  • Bitter

  • Caminative

  • Antispasmodic

  • Demulcent

  • Nervine sedative

  • Vulnerary

 

Indications: 

Anxiety

Upset stomach

Irritability

Nervous headaches

Insomnia

IBS-GI spasms

PMS

Colic in breastfeeding infants

Menopausal mood swings/depression

Menstrual cramps (Winston & Maimes, 2007, p. 208).

Loss of appetite

Dyspepsia (heartburn)

Gastric ulcers

Body aches caused by flu

Migraine

Neuralgia

Vertigo

Motion sickness

Conjunctivitis

Inflamed skin

Urticaria (hives) (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 566).

Bacterial skin infections

Inflammation of mucous membranes, respiratory tract and anogenital area (McKay & Blumberg, 2006).

Wound treatment after tattoo removal

Flatulence, and/or excess gas production/ bloating (American Botanical Council).

Inflammation of the urinary tract

Hemorrhoids (Singh, Khanam, Misra, & Srivastava, 2011).

 

Contraindications: 

Contraindicated with known allergy to chamomile (Mills & Bone, 2005, p. 325).  Theoretical potential for interacting with warfarin because a constituent acts as a vitamin K antagonist (McKay & Blumberg, 2006).  When taken with iron-fortified products, iron absorption was reduced by 47%, which is less than black tea or coffee which is 79%-94% (American Herbal Products Association, 2013, p. 550).  Potential to increase CNS depression when combined with other sedative drugs and alcohol (McKay & Blumberg, 2006).

Avoid contact with eyes (Singh, Khanam, Misra, & Srivastava, 2011).

 

Plant Constituents: 

Constituents include the flavonol glycosides isoquercitrin, narcissin, neohesperidoside, and rutin, terpenoids a­ and b­amyrin, lupeol, longispinogenin, and sterols, volatile oils, arvoside A, carotenoid pigments, calendulin, and polysaccharides.

 

System Affinities:

Respiratory, digestive, nervous.

 

Energetics: 

The energetics of chamomile are - bitter, cooling, pungent, and acrid.

Generally, in moderate amounts, chamomile is beneficial for all constitutions, however, it is particularly good for Pitta; in excess, chamomile may be aggravating to Vata (Frawley & Lad, 1992).

 

Safety: 

Pregnancy category A: No proven increase in the frequency of malformation or other harmful effects on the fetus despite consumption by a large number of women.

Lactation category C: compatible with breastfeeding (Mills & Bone, 2005, p. 325).

 

Safety class 1- Herbs that can be safely consumed when used appropriately.

Interaction class A-Herbs for which no clinically relevant interactions are expected.  Limited information on safety of use during pregnancy or lactation (American Herbal Products Association, 2013, p. 549).

 

 

Adverse reactions include allergic reaction to plants in the Asteraceae family or ragweed pollen allergies (Winston & Maimes, 2007, p. 209).  This can result in a range of severities. Topical application can also cause skin irritation.

Dosage: 

Tincture (1:2.5 or 1:4):  60-90 gtt up to 4 x daily.

Tea: 1-2 tsp. dried flowers in 8 Ounces H2O steep 30-40 min. Up to 3 cups per day (Winston & Maimes, 2007, p. 208).

Capsule: 3-6 mL/day

Dried flower- 6-12 g/day (Mills & Bone, 2005, p. 325).

 

External:

Bath additive 50g dried flower to 10 liters of water (American Botanical Council).

Gargle:100ml boiling water over 3-10g dried flower steeped w/cover for 5-10min or 5 mL tincture with 100mL warm water gargled at least 3 times per day (American Botanical Council).

Inhalation: 100ml boiling water over 3-10g dried flower steeped w/cover for 5-10min or 15ml tincture with half a liter of boiled water 1-3 time daily. Inhale steam vapor

Poultice (American Botanical Council).

Safe in pregnancy and lactation

 

 

Personal Experience:

 

Research: 

Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Healing Arts Press: Vermont.

 

Romm, A. (2010). Botanical medicine for women's health (p.18-19). St. Louis, Mo: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

 

 

 

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)