Chamomile or chamomile officinalis (Matricaria Chamomilla) is one of the most common plants in extratropical zones. It can be found in Eurasia, the Americas, and even in Africa, both cultivated and wild. Where exactly is the real homeland of this flower, scientists have not yet figured out.
The ancient Greeks were the first to show interest in the qualities of chamomile. The military physician and pharmacologist Dioscorides described its medicinal properties in his manuscripts on medicinal plants, and the famous “father of medicine” Hippocrates recommended chamomile decoction as an anesthetic and cure for seizures.
During the reign of the Mughal dynasty, chamomile came to India. Local doctors noticed the healing effect of the nondescript white flower, and soon it began to be grown in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jammu, and Kashmir.
In the Middle Ages, chamomile was still popular as a medicine, but with the development of medicine and the appearance of complex-component drugs, it faded into the background, remaining only in traditional medicine and cooking. However, at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, it again attracted the attention of pharmacists and chemists for its properties.
As an ingredient for creating tizans, chamomile is known not only in Russia. For example, in the United States, it is the most popular tea supplement.
The chemical composition of chamomile
Chamomile chamazulene and its precursor matricin belong to the class of terpenes, which are chemicals that plants need to repel insects that eat leaves and flowers. In industry, terpenes are used to create perfume compositions.
It is thanks to chamazulene that chamomile has its famous soothing effect. It acts on the nervous system as a mild sedative, relaxes muscles, improves mood, and has an analgesic effect.
Flavonoids (apigenin, garnearin, luteolin and quercetin)
Quercetin is known to be a powerful antioxidant that has a positive effect on the brain and cardiovascular health. According to some reports, the addition of quercetin and other flavonoids to food can improve the condition of patients after suffering from influenza type A (IAV). Clinical studies in mice have also shown that treatment with quercetin increased the duration and quality of life in older experimental animals.
Apigenin is also an antioxidant. In addition, research is underway on the effects of apigenin on the nervous system as a natural antidepressant and adjuvant in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Scientists at Ohio University are also studying the effects of apigenin on inhibiting cancer cells.
Luteolin is useful in diseases of the excretory system. It is used to restore kidney function in urate nephropathy and other diseases, as it significantly reduces the level of uric acid in the blood.
Salicylic acid is known to be an effective antiseptic. When applied topically, it is a keratolytic (helps exfoliate dead skin cells). The presence of salicylic acid has made chamomile a commonly used ingredient in the cosmetics industry.
In addition, salicylic acid is used to treat types of urine acid diathesis (including gout).
Vitamin A (retinol) is an important participant in the redox processes in cells. It promotes the assimilation of proteins, the normal formation of teeth and bones, and is needed for the growth of new cells. Retinol is involved in creating the phagocytic activity of leukocytes, which, in turn, destroy viral particles that enter the body. Regular intake of vitamin A is essential to maintain twilight and night vision.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is the most “well-known” vitamin that is used to support the general level of immunity. It is an antioxidant. According to research by British scientists from the University of Salford, vitamin C can theoretically be considered one of the substances that help fight cancer cells.
Vitamin PP (nicotinic acid) is necessary for the prevention of vitamin deficiency, hypovitaminosis, pellagra, and some diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Taking vitamin PP helps with vascular spasms, non-healing wounds, etc.
The benefits and harms of chamomile tea
For the nervous system. Chamomile tea is not only the easiest way to relieve anxiety and fall asleep quickly after a hard day. Chamomile essential oil, containing apigenin and quercetin, acts as an effective sedative and myotropic antispasmodic: it relaxes and expands the walls of blood vessels, thereby relieving tension and headaches.
As a pain reliever, chamomile drink is used by women to relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, including intense pain in the lower abdomen and low emotional background.
For the respiratory system
Chamomile polyphenols actively affect the state of the respiratory system. The flavonoid quercetin is used to treat bronchopulmonary diseases, including such serious diseases as acute pneumonia and bronchial asthma.
Regular consumption of chamomile tea improves the condition of the body in case of colds and viral diseases. It has an immunostimulating effect and increases the activity of phagocytic cells that protect the body from foreign bacteria and viruses. The polyphenol herniarin has a diaphoretic effect, which is beneficial when the body temperature rises during infectious diseases.
For the heart and blood vessels
Various studies by Japanese and Western scientists have shown that regular consumption of chamomile tea lowers heart rate and blood pressure readings. In addition, the antioxidants quercetin, vitamin C, and apigenin have an anti-sclerotic effect and reduce the risk of blood clots in blood vessels.
For the gastrointestinal tract
Chamomile tea helps not only with colic in babies and with problems with the gastrointestinal tract in adults. In traditional medicine, it is prescribed for intestinal spasms, gastritis, post-dysenteric colitis, and dysbiosis. In the United States, chamomile is most commonly used as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome.
Chamomile tea for the excretory system
Chamomile is a part of complex diuretic preparations, it also eliminates inflammation and spasms in kidney diseases, helps relieve symptoms of glomerulonephritis and chronic prostatitis.
Chamomile infusion has a noticeable stimulating effect on the secretory function of the liver.
Chamomile tea for children
Chamomile infusion is one of the few herbal teas that are safe even for babies. Back in 1993, pediatricians found out that adding chamomile tea eliminates stomach cramps in 57% of children from the experimental group. The drink removes increased gas formation, constipation, and other disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
For hyperactive children, it is recommended to consume chamomile tea at night before going to bed.
Chamomile tea for diabetes
Recent studies by Japanese and American scientists have shown that chamomile inhibits the development of enzymes that cause diabetic neuropathy and cataracts, as well as kidney damage in diabetes.
In 2015, Iranian scientists repeated the experiment. A group of volunteers aged 30 to 60 years, who drank tea with chamomile for 8 weeks, showed a decrease in glucose levels and an increase in overall antioxidant activity.
Chamomile tea during pregnancy and breastfeeding
Chamomile tea is not recommended to drink during pregnancy due to several factors. First, because of the risk of bleeding, which can lead to fetal loss. Secondly, because the substances in chamomile tea stimulate the production of estrogen and cause uterine contractions.
However, when a woman starts breastfeeding, chamomile has a positive effect on her health and the condition of her baby. This tea is indispensable for overwork, it soothes and relieves stress, helps to solve emerging gastrointestinal problems.
External treatment of organs with chamomile infusion is used for dysmenorrhea, endocervicitis, vaginitis, and nipple cracks in nursing mothers.
Chamomile for men’s health
The infusion has a general strengthening effect and restores the psycho-emotional background, which increases the level of libido. In traditional medicine, an infusion of chamomile root is considered a means to increase potency.
Allergy. Chamomile tea can cause individual intolerance. The most common allergy to pollen is from the Aster family. It is not recommended to rinse your eyes with a decoction of chamomile: due to the pollen contained in it, allergic conjunctivitis may occur.
Diseases of blood clotting. Chamomile essential oil contains coumarin, a precursor to warfarin, a powerful herbal anticoagulant. By itself, it does not cause negative reactions in the body, but when interacting with certain medications (warfarin, aspirin, or clopidogrel), it increases the risk of bleeding.
Combination with other sedatives or diuretics. Chamomile enhances the effects of certain medications and medicinal herbs (mint, valerian, lemon balm, etc.).
Children up to age 1 year. Brewed chamomile can only be given if a doctor tells you to. After one year of age, brewed chamomile can only be given diluted. It is necessary to halve the concentration shown by an adult. Chamomile, intended for medicinal baths, should also be diluted by half for children.
Simultaneous reception with sedatives and sedatives, diuretics, and blood thinners.
Pregnancy and lactation. Pregnant and lactating women should only take chamomile after consulting a doctor.
The use of chamomile in traditional medicine
Traditional medicine has been using chamomile as a medicine since time immemorial, taking into account its contraindications. For treatment, water and alcoholic infusions and extracts, teas and decoctions, essential oil, and pharmaceutical preparations that contain chamomile are used. The herbal remedy must be used for a course of at least three months. After that, it is imperative to take a month’s break.
- Aqueous infusion of chamomile is used in folk medicine externally and internally as a means for douching and enemas. It has anti-inflammatory, choleretic, and diaphoretic effects. Increases blood clotting. Reduces nervous irritability.
- Chamomile in combination with yarrow is prescribed for the treatment of gastroenterological diseases. This drug promotes the healing of ulcers, reduces flatulence, and reduces inflammation. It also helps to increase appetite.
- Preparations with chamomile in the composition are used to reduce the soreness of menstrual flow. In addition, it is recommended to use chamomile douching as part of complex therapy in the treatment of vaginitis, vulvitis, and thrush.
- Traditional medicine recommends drinking chamomile tea with general fatigue, as well as alleviating the condition in case of viral and colds. Rinsing has proven to be effective for treating stomatitis.
- The use of therapeutic baths has proven itself well in relieving conditions with furunculosis and eczema of various origins. With hemorrhoids, warm baths with chamomile are prescribed to alleviate the condition and reduce pain.
- Lotions from a decoction of chamomile are good at reducing excessive sweating.
How to brew a decoction of chamomile for drinking for an adult and a child
A decoction of chamomile helps in the treatment of various diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, biliary tract, genitourinary system, dermatological, and colds. For children, the herbal decoction is brewed twice as weak.
Preparation of chamomile broth:
dry chamomile pharmacy – 4 tablespoons;
boiled water – 300 ml
- Pour boiling water over the herb.
- Heat in a water bath for 30 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Strain through a fine sieve and squeeze.
- Drink 100 ml three times a day on an empty stomach.
- Store in refrigerator for 48 hours.
Chamomile gargle: 3 ways to brew
Chamomile is brewed and used as a decoction for gargling with the following diseases: influenza, acute respiratory viral infections, acute respiratory infections, tonsillitis, tonsillitis, laryngitis, thrush, rhinitis, and other throat diseases. It is necessary to use a decoction at the first signs of the disease – with perspiration and discomfort in the nasopharynx. In this case, rinsing will help as quickly as possible and without the use of strong medications: it will relieve swelling, reduce tickling and itching, and increase local immunity.
Options for gargling broths:
Simple decoction. Brew 2 tablespoons of dried chamomile with 1 cup of boiled water. Insist 30 minutes. Strain and rinse every hour until the condition improves. But at least 4 times a day. Important: for each rinsing procedure, you need to prepare a fresh broth.
Decoction with honey. 1 tablespoon chamomile pour 1 cup boiling water. Let it brew for an hour. Add 1 tablespoon honey and gargle. Important: do not use for dry cough.
Broth with a bouquet of herbs. Take in equal proportions chamomile, eucalyptus leaves, mallow, oregano, or sage. Pour 1 tablespoon of the mixture with 250 ml of boiled water. Rinse after the mixture is infused for 60 minutes. It is important to consider the presence of an individual allergic reaction.
Soothing chamomile tea: a step-by-step recipe
It is useful to use chamomile not only as an adjunct in treatment but also as a tonic and prophylactic agent. It normalizes digestion, helps to calm down, and improves your health. It is best to drink this tea before bed.
This tea can be drunk by both adults and children. But in addition to the medicinal properties of chamomile, contraindications must also be taken into account. For children, tea should be brewed at a weaker concentration: about half as weak as for an adult.
Classic Chamomile Tea Brewing Recipe
pharmacy chamomile – 1 tablespoon;
steep boiling water – 200 ml;
honey or sugar optional
- Place the inflorescences in a kettle scalded with boiling water.
- Pour boiling water over.
- Insist for half an hour.
- Drink warm with honey or sugar.
- If desired, peppermint, lemon balm, currant, raspberry, or linden leaves can be added to the tea. This will not only give a new taste to chamomile tea but also enhance its medicinal properties.
The healing properties of chamomile for the eyes
In case of inflammation of the eyelids, intense visual work during the day: brew 1 s. L. chamomile with a glass of boiling water, leave for 10 minutes, drain. Store in the refrigerator no longer than 2-3 days. In the evening, for 15 minutes, place cotton or gauze swabs moistened with warm infusion on closed eyelids. For the treatment of conjunctivitis: brew with a glass of boiling water 3c. L. chamomile flowers, leave for an hour, drain. Rinse your eyes several times a day with the warm infusion.
Liver and biliary tract treatment
To relieve inflammation, eliminate spasms of the bile ducts, stimulate the separation of bile: pour 2 glasses of water at room temperature, 1 tsp. chamomile, mint, wormwood, yarrow, 2 tsp. cumin. Insist for 8-12 hours, bring to a boil, let cool, drain. Take half a glass one hour after meals.