Chamomile is a flowering herb in the daisy family Asteraceae/Compositae. The dried flowers of chamomile contain many terpenoids and flavonoids contributing to its medicinal properties. Chamomile preparations are commonly used for many human ailments, including hay fever, inflammation, muscle spasms, menstrual disorders, insomnia, ulcers, wounds, gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatic pain, and hemorrhoids.
For thousands of years, humans have used plants' medicinal properties to improve health. Herbs and herbal remedies have been integral to both traditional and non-traditional forms of medicine dating back at least five thousand years. The enduring popularity of herbal medicines may be explained by the tendency of herbs to work slowly, usually with minimal toxic side effects. Chamomile is one of the most common herbs used for medicinal purposes whose standardized teas and extracts are prepared from dried flowers of Matricaria species.
Chamomile herb is often used in various forms. A dry powder of the flower is recommended and traditionally used for a variety of health problems. The medicinal ingredients are normally extracted from chamomile by using water, ethanol or methanol as solvents to produce an aqueous (extract), an alcoholic extract, or both.
Benefits of Chamomile Flowers:
A study in human volunteers demonstrated that chamomile's anti-inflammatory and antiphlogistic properties penetrate below the skin surface into the deeper skin layers. Chamomile flowers contain 1–2% volatile oils including alpha-bisabolol, alpha-bisabolol oxides A & B, and matricin (usually converted to chamazulene).
Studies on preclinical models of skin, prostate, breast and ovarian cancer involving apigenin—one of the bioactive constituents of chamomile—have shown promising growth inhibitory effects. A recent study showed that extracts of chamomile showed minimal growth inhibitory effects on normal cells, but significant reductions in cell viability in various human cancer cell lines.
Common Cold (acute viral nasopharyngitis) is the most prevalent human disease. It is a mild viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory system. Common cold often commences with a sore throat and dry cough, runny nose, inflammation of the nasal membranes, blocked or runny nostrils and sneezing. Serious complications such as pneumonia can develop if not treated properly. Research indicates that inhaling steam from boiling chamomile flowers has been helpful in reducing symptoms of common cold; however, further research is needed before any conclusions can be made about the efficacy of this treatment.
Chamomile topical applications have been shown to be moderately effective in the treatment of atopic eczema. Chamomile is 60% as effective as hydrocortisone cream. Roman chamomile of the Manzana type (Kamillosan (R)) may ease discomfort associated with eczema when applied as a cream containing chamomile extract. The Manzana type of chamomile is rich in active ingredients and does not exhibit chamomile-related allergenic potential.
Chamomile Flowers are considered one of the healthiest in the nature with a wide variety of benefits for both mind and body.