The chamomile flower

Chamomile - Kamomill

What is chamomile used for?

Chamomile is one of the oldest medicinal herbs known to mankind.
Chamomile is represented by two common varieties; German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Chamomile is used for many different ailments such as hay fever, inflammation, muscle spasms, menstrual disorders, insomnia, ulcers, sores, gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatic pain and hemorrhoids.
Chamomile essential oils are used by the cosmetics industry and in aromatherapy. Many different preparations of chamomile have been developed, but the most popular is in the form of herbal tea, of which more than a million cups are consumed per day.

What does Chamomile contain and what are its bioactive constituents?

Various classes of bioactive constituents are found in chamomile, which have been isolated and used as medicinal preparations and cosmetics.

Chamomile contains 0.24%–1.9% volatile oil.

When steam distilling the flower, the oil precipitates in colors from brilliant blue to deep green when fresh but turns dark yellow after storage. Despite the color change, the oil does not lose its strength.

Approximately 120 secondary metabolites have been identified in chamomile, including 28 terpenoids and 36 flavonoids.

Both α-bisabolol, bisabolol or also known as levomenol A and B and Kamazulen (an aromatic chemical compound), farnesene, glycosides, hydroxycoumarins, flavanoids (apigenin, luteolin, patuletin and quercetin), coumarins (herniarin and umbelliferone), which are considered the most important bioactive ingredients.

Among flavonoids, apigenin is the most promising compound. It exists in very small amounts as free apigenin, but exists predominantly in the form of various glycosides. Apigenin has strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral activities and is therefore considered to have many health benefits.

Scientists are studying apigenin's potential to improve the health of cells in various tissues of the human body. The most promising is apigenin's effect on prostate health, but studies have already shown that it is also beneficial for many other tissues. Other benefits of apigenin will surely become known over time.

General use of the Chamomile flower

The chamomile flower has an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and bactericidal effect. Camellia flower volatile oils including alpha-bisabolol, alpha-bisabolol oxides A & B and camazulene and other flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory properties.

In ancient Greece, chamomile was recommended against fever and "women's diseases".

In many of the recipe collections of the monastic medicines, chamomile was highlighted as a real panacea. As early as the 7th century, monks used chamomile oil as a mouthwash for gingivitis. In the 16th century, chamomile was considered the most useful medicinal herb of all, and it was used for almost all ailments.

A study that chamomile flavonoids and essential oils penetrate below the skin's surface into the deeper skin layers. This is important for their use as topical anti-inflammatory agents. One of the anti-inflammatory activities of chamomile involves inhibition of LPS-induced prostaglandin release and suppression of cyclooxygenase (COX-2) (an enzyme that participates in the formation of several different important substances in the body without affecting the basic form, COX-1.

What effect does Chamomile have on the Gastrointestinal tract?

Chamomile is traditionally used for many gastrointestinal ailments, such as indigestion, colic, flatulence, ulcers and gastrointestinal irritation.

Chamomile is useful for releasing gas, calming the stomach and relaxing the muscles that move food through the intestines.

When studying a commercial preparation (STW5, Iberogast), (contains extracts of, Flower iberis, lemon balm leaf , chamomile flower , cumin fruit, peppermint leaf , licorice root, Angelica root, milk thistle fruit and greater celandine), against the indication peptic ulcer shows that the STW5 extract produced an anti- ulcerogenic effect resulting in decreased acid production, increased mucin secretion (mucins are secreted as main components of mucus by mucous membranes or secreted to become a component of saliva)

The results obtained showed that STW5 not only lowered stomach acid effectively as a commercial antacid, but was more effective in inhibiting the overproduction of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

Antacids work by neutralizing acid in the stomach or by reducing its production. When food enters the stomach, hydrochloric acid is secreted to break down the food. The proper strength of hydrochloric acid is important, as it allows food to be completely broken down to be released, passed and absorbed by the intestines for healthy digestion.

Chamomile in Colic and Diarrhea conditions?

An apple pectin chamomile extract can help shorten the course of diarrhea in children and relieve symptoms associated with the condition. Two clinical trials have evaluated the efficacy of chamomile for the treatment of colic in children. Chamomile tea was combined with other herbs (German chamomile, vervain, licorice, fennel, balsam mint) for administration.

In a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 68 healthy infants with colic (2 to 8 weeks of age) were given either herbal tea or placebo (glucose, flavors). Each infant was offered treatment with each colic, up to 150 ml/dose, maximum three times a day. After seven days of treatment, parents reported that the tea eliminated colic in 57% of the children, while the placebo was helpful for only 26% (P < 0.01). No negative effects with regard to the number of awakenings at night were noted in any of the groups.

Another study examined the effects of a chamomile extract and apple pectin preparation in 79 children (0.5–5.5 years) with acute, uncomplicated diarrhea who received either chamomile/pectin preparation (n = 39) or placebo (n = 40) for 3 days.

Diarrhea stopped earlier in children treated with chamomile and pectin (85%) than in the placebo group (58%).

Other forms of chamomile

Chamomile tea bags are available on the market, these contain chamomile flower powder, either pure or mixed with other popular medicinal herbs.

The whole chamomile plant is used, not just the flower.

Chamomile tincture can also be prepared as one part chamomile flower in four parts water with 12% ethanol, which can be used against summer diarrhea in children.

Chamomile is also known to be used as a bath additive, recommended to soothe inflammation.

The tea infusion is used as a wash or gargle for inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat. Inhalation of the vaporized essential oils from chamomile flowers is recommended to relieve anxiety, general depression.

Roman chamomile is often used in cosmetic preparations and has a soothing and softening effect on the skin.

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