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Alternative medicine: Chamomile
Tue, 13 Nov 2007 20:20:38
By Patricia Khashayar, MD., Press TV, Tehran
Considered an effective remedy by ancient Egyptians, Chamomile continues to be used to
fight ailments, and relieve bedtime anxiety.
Botanical: Anthemis nobilis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Synonym: Matricaria chamomilla, German Chamomile, and Wild Chamomile.
Various Chamomile species are spread over Europe, North Africa and the temperate region of
Hungary was once the main supplier of Chamomile; however, today it is mainly imported
from Eastern European countries, Egypt and Argentina.
Chamomile is a downy and grayish green, low-growing plant. The root is perennial, jointed
and fibrous. The hairy and freely branching stems are covered with leaves, which give the
plant a feathery appearance.
German Chamomile is of very high quality.
Part Used Medicinally:
Flowers and herb.
The active principles are volatile oil, Anthemic acid (the bitter principle), tannic acid and
Chamomile is used to treat motion sickness, tension, restlessness, spasms, headaches,
migraine and depression.
Chamomile tea is an extremely effective remedy for hysterical and nervous breakdowns and
is also used as an emmenagogue.
It is considered as a preventive and the sole certain remedy for nightmares. It can cut
delirium tremens attacks in the early stage and has sometimes been employed in wax and
It is also used to treat hemorrhoids, swollen and painful breasts, wounds, rashes, and leg
Chamomile tincture is the cure for summer diarrhea in children and is believed to be useful in
nervous stomach, colitis, peptic ulcer, Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
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Chamomile is used with purgatives to prevent colds. It is proven to be useful in treating
conjunctivitis and eye irritations and all conditions affecting the mucosa.
Chamomile is thought to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic
powers. Its oil is an active ingredient in many over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and
Some herbalists recommend Chamomile flowers for treating water retention, blood clots,
muscle tension, and a depressed immune system.
Chamomile flower is especially known to be effective in fighting gram positive bacteria
(staphylococcus aureus) and candida albicans.
Chamomile flower also reduces the urea level in blood and is used to treat menstrual
Combined with ginger and alkalies, the cold infusion proves an excellent stomachic in cases of
ordinary indigestion, such as flatulent colic, heartburn, loss of appetite, and also in gout and
It is an appetizing tonic, especially for the elderly, when taken an hour or more before a
principal meal. A strong, warm infusion is a useful emetic.
Chamomile flowers used alone, or combined with an equal quantity of crushed poppy-heads,
is a poultice and fomentation for external swelling, inflammatory pain or congested neuralgia.
It will relieve where other remedies have failed, proving invaluable for reducing swellings of
the face caused through abscesses.
It is used in several skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, acne, blisters and
boils. However, it can aggravate certain conditions.
Chamomile's antiseptic powers are 120 times stronger than sea-water.
The whole herb is used for making lotions for external application in toothache, earache,
neuralgia, etc. The herb has also been employed in hot fomentations to treat local and
Chamomile is most frequently taken as tea: 1 tablespoon of the chamomile flowers can be
added to hot water and steeped for 10 minutes in a covered pot. Chamomile infusion can also
be applied topically to skin as a compress.
A decoction of Chamomile flowers and poppy heads is applied as hot fomentation to
abscesses - 10 parts of Chamomile flowers to 5 of poppy capsules, to 100 of distilled water.
Inhaling a mixture of a handful of Chamomile flowers in water is shown to be effective in
treating headaches, earaches and toothaches. It may also be helpful to add other herbs
(thyme, wild oregano) to enhance the effects of the infusion.
Gargling or rinsing the mouth with warm chamomile tea at hourly intervals may treat acute
mouth and throat inflammation as well as peritonsillar abscess.
It should be noted that the curative effect of Chamomile takes a relatively long time to
develop. As a result, treatment should be continued for at least one week after the acute
symptoms have subsided.
In addition, the prescribed dose must be high enough to be effective and the medication
should be taken several times during the day.