Chamomile - Herbal Treatments

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Chamomile - Herbal Treatments

Post by Katy on Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:52 am

Chamomile - Matricaria recutita, Chamomilla recutita, Chamaemelum nobile



Introduction

Chamomile has been used medicinally for thousands of years and despite limited research data is widely used in Europe. It is a popular treatment for numerous ailments, and is an ingredient in herbal tea preparations advertised for mild sedating effects. German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) are the two major types of chamomile used for health conditions. They are believed to have similar effects on the body, although German chamomile may be slightly stronger.

Other names:

Camomile, flos chamomillae, German chamomile, matricaire, matricaria flowers, pin heads, sweet false chamomille, sweet feverfew, wild chamomile.

Parts Used:

Dried flowering heads

Selected Constituents:

The essential oil (0.4% - 1.5%) has an intense blue colour owing to its chamuzulene content (1% - 15%). Other major constituents include a-bisabolol and related sesquiterpenes (up to 50% of the oil). Apigenin and related flavonoid glycosides constitute up to 8% (dry weight) of the herb (Bruneton, 1995; Dolle, 1985)

Chamazulene is actually an artifact formed during the heating of flowers when an infusion or the essential oil is prepared (Bruneton, 1995).

Used for:

In a veterinary context, Chamomile may be used as an eyewash, a mild sedative, an anxiolytic, a topical wound therapy, and as a pruritic (although research as a pruritic was confined to rodents).

Clinical Actions

Mild sedative, antiallergic, anti-inflammatory.

Dosages

External Use:
Compresses, baths, vapour inhalations, rinses: 15-50g flower/500ml water, steep 15-30 min, or mix 10ml fluid extract of 1:2 tincture into 500ml water
Cream: apply to cover affected area two or three times a day
Vapour inhalation: 1-5 drops of volatile oil per litre of water

Internal Use: (data available only relates to dogs)
Dried herb: 25-300mg/kg, divided daily (optimally 3 times per day)
Infusion: 5-30g per cup of water, administered at a rate of 1/4 - 1/2 cup per 10kg, divided daily (optimally 3 times per day)
tincture (usually in 50% - 60% ethanol): 1:2-1:3: 0.5-1.5ml per 10kg divided daily (optimally 3 times per day) and diluted or combined with other herbs. Higher doses may be appropriate if the herb is used singly and is not combined in a formula.

Toxicity Information:

The presence of lactones in chamomile preparations may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Reports of contact dermatitis have been documented. A few cases of anaphylactic reaction to the ingestion of chamomile have also been reported.

Means (2002) described a series of cases in which cats administered chamomile developed epistaxis (nosebleed) and subcutaneous hemorrhage. Anticoagulant activity due to coumarin content was postulated.

Contraindications:

Not to be used in patients with a known sensitivity or allergy to plants of the Asteraceae such as ragweed, asters, and chrysanthemums (Carle, 1992). Chamomile may be contraindicated in cats because of the coumarin content.

Drug Interactions:

The concomitant use of opioid analgesics with the sedative herbal supplement chamomile may lead to increased central nervous system depression.

Published Research Results:

Medline has concluded in their review that there is no clear scientific evidence for the use of Chamomile in any medicinal context (C rating or lower), however some other authors do refer to scientific studies as follows:

Numerous in vivo studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of chamomile extract, the essential oil, and isolated constituents. (Wynn, S.G. & Fougere, B.J. ,2007)

Chamomile tea has significant antioxidant capacity, according to animal studies. (Wynn, S.G. & Fougere, B.J. ,2007)

Mouthwash - not useful
A number of human trials on chamomile mouthwash as an anti-inflammatory found no differences between chamomile and placebo. (Wynn, S.G. & Fougere, B.J. ,2007)

Skin inflammation
Chamomile was tested in a double-blind trial of 14 patients after dermabrasion from tattoos. Reduction of the weeping wound area, as well as improved drying tendency was statistically significant. In another study the performance of chamomile cream was compared with 0.25% hydrocortisone, 0.75% fluocortin butyl ester, and 5% bufexamac. The test was on 161 patients with inflammatory dermatoses. The chamomile cream was as effective as the hydrocortisone, and superior to the others. (Aertgeerts, 1985).

Antipruritic (anti-itch)
German chamomile extracts have been found in studies to be comparable with those of an antiallergic agent (Kobayashi, 2003).

Anxiety
Apigenin (one of the constituents) produces muscle relaxant effects, or anticonvulsant action. A very strong dosage produces a mild sedative effect (Violaa, 1995).

Sources:
Medline Plus: Page
Wynn, S.G. & Fougere, B.J. (2007) Veterinary Herbal Medicine. Mosby Elsevier. Sydney
Medline
Picture taken from Here

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Katy
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