Sometimes known as, Chamomilla recutita, Chamomile is an incredibly well-known and often used in herbal medicine as it is very versatile but really lovely and gentle too. Read on to find out its many uses!
The name comes from Greek language meaning 'Earth Apple' connotating to its mild apple-like scent and taste. German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile are not to be confused and although both have a place in the herbal medicine world, it is the German Chamomile species that is more commonly used being more useful widespread. It is a small annual herb that looks similar to a daisy flower originating from Eastern Europe and it is the flowers we use in herbal medicine. Its active constituents seeming to be due to quercetin, apigenin and coumarins as well as the essential oil content, matricin and chamazulene.
It is often extracted as an essential oil and produces an inky blue volatile oil that is very useful in topical conditions for any inflammation or infection on the skin as it is gentle and promotes healing. Internally, German Chamomile possesses many actions including its use as an anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, carminative, antiallergic, antimicrobial, sedative, antiulcerogenic and a cholagogue. This can indicate its effectiveness for many parts of the body and many conditions.
Most noteably, I would say it is very useful for problems of the digestive system, some studies have shown it could work by blocking slow wave movement in the small intestine therefore slowing peristatic movement easing ailments such as colic, dyspepsia, gastritis, flatulence and diarrhoea. It is also often specifically indicated for ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract as it has some mucilage content coating and soothing the mucosal lining and reduces inflammation and encourages wound healing.
It can also be used and is often its main focus as a mild sedative, easing anxiety, restlessness and insomnia. It is particularly useful for children with nervous irritability. It also could be useful for colds, asthma and hayfever, in the latter case this anti-allergic aspect could be due to the quercetin and apigenin constituents that can inhibit histamine release from mast cells that are antigen stimulated.
Chamomile can be taken as an infusion, drunk as a tea which is a really nice and common way to take it as it has a mild and sweet flavour, or it is often prescribed as a tincture. There are some drug interactions with this herb so if you are currently taking any medication, please check with a medical herbalist before taking anything.
Hope you enjoyed this month's herb feature on German Chamomile! Make sure you're following me on my social medias or via Bloglovin' (all links at the bottom of the page) to keep up to date with my blog posts and upcoming events!
My name is Helen Davison and I'm a NIMH registered practising Medical Herbalist based in Ramsbottom, Lancashire. I've had a keen interest in herbal remedies since my early teens and would experiment creating my own balms and bath bombs using natural ingredients, which prompted me in discovering and pursuing a career in Western Herbal Medicine.