Chamomile: botanical image of the chamomile plant

Chamomile

Matricaria recutita

Family: Asteraceae

Bio-Live: Chamomile is a key herb in Bio-Live Kids.

Description: Sometimes called wild chamomile; the stems are hollow and furrowed, standing up to 30cm or more. The leaves are pale green, alternate and feathery in appearance. Each upper stem is crowned with one or two flower heads. The crushed flowers (and sometimes the leaves) contain a fruity fragrance. Flowering for 1-2 months and then replaced by a 1-1.5mm long achenes seed which reseeds itself to spread.

Habit and cultivation: Originally from Europe, chamomile now grows in most countries of the world. It prefers a sunny, moist environment. Most soils are tolerated. Can self-sow several times a year.

Actions (known for): Analgesic, anti-allergic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic (muscles), bitter digestive tonic, carminative, sedative, relaxant and vulnerary.

History: Known by the Greeks as kamai, ‘ground apple’ and melon (an apple); together these are the origin of the name chamomile. Known by the Spanish as Man-zanilla, signifying ‘little apple’. This is also the name given to a Spanish sherry flavoured with this plant. In days of old it was looked upon as the ‘Plants Physician’, because if other plants looked like they were wilting, they recovered quickly if placed near chamomile in the garden.

Parts used: Flowers.

Constituents (bio available chemicals): Volatile oil, up to 2%including sesquiterpenes. Flavonoids: anthemidin and luteolin. Bitter glycosides – anthemic acid. Coumarin. Malic acid. Tannins. Also contains phenols, cyanogenic glycosides, salicylates, heteroglycan polysaccharides and phytosterols. Conversion of proazulene to azulene by steam distillation give Matricaria oil a blue colour which deepens with increased azulene.

Nutritional constituents: Minerals: Iodine, calcium and potassium.

Indications: Allergies/sensitivities, asthma, nervous dyspepsia, IBS, indigestion, diarrhoea, colitis, gastric ulcers, flatulence, colic, constipation (especially in children). Insomnia hyperactivity, nervous tension. Externally: nappy rash, varicose ulcers, earache, wounds, cracked nipples (mastitis), acne, eczema and acute radiation damage.

Dosage: Liquid extract: 20-40ml per week. Infusion of dried herb: 2-8g 3 x daily.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia: Gastrointestinal disturbance with associated nervous irritability in children.

Cautions for therapeutic doses: Can on rare occasion caused allergic reaction topically and internally.

 

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