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Three Everyday Uses for Chamomile

Chamomile Tea

Traditionally, chamomile was used as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and overall healing medicine.[1] It was used to treat wounds, eczema, ulcers, gout, skin irritations, bruises, burns, sores, hemorrhoids, and neuralgia, just to name a few. [1] Externally, it was used to treat diaper rash, chicken pox, ear and eye infections, nasal inflammation, and poison ivy.[1,2] In other words, chamomile was used to treat many inflammatory conditions of the skin and mucous membranes.

Its greatest value was (and still is) as a digestive relaxant. It’s named Matricaria, which means “mother of the stomach,” was earned because of this long reputation of curing digestive complaints.[3] It was used by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and many others to treat various gastrointestinal disturbances including, but not limited to, flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, anorexia, motion sickness, nausea, and vomiting.[1,2] Amazingly, due to the versatility and benignity of chamomile, it is used today for many of these same reasons.

Here are three of the current, most popular uses of this great herb:

#1: Children’s Medicine

Chamomile has been used for centuries as a children’s medication. Currently, it is one of the few herbs that are relatively safe for children. It relaxes intestinal spasms which help alleviate colic and diarrhea.[1] It may also pass through breast milk, which is another reason why chamomile is an excellent choice for infant colic. [3] Its mild sedative effect, due to the flavonoid apigenin, promotes a calm mental state.[1] In one study of breastfed colicky babies, crying time was reduced by 85 percent by giving them herbal chamomile tea. [4]

Quick tip: telling children (or reading them the book) that Peter Rabbit drank chamomile tea to make him feel better may make children more receptive to the idea.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix:

Three Everyday Uses for Chamomile

#2: Gastrointestinal conditions

Chamomile is an excellent herb for digestion and stomach pain. It is used for diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcers, and gastrointestinal irritation. [1] Clinical research has shown to significantly reduce acid reflux, epigastric pain, cramping, nausea, and vomiting. [1,5] This is primarily attributed to chamomiles antispasmodic properties predominantly caused by the constituent apigenin.[1] In fact, apigenin was shown to provided antispasmodic activity roughly equivalent to papaverine. [6] Studies have also suggested that chamomile ointment and chamomile sitz bath can improve internal and external hemorrhoids. A randomized, double-blinded trial showed that giving MPFF (flavonoid extracted from chamomile) rapidly reduced bleeding from internal hemorrhoids, venous ulcers, and the risk of relapse. [7,8,9]

#2: Gastrointestinal conditions
Chamomile is an excellent herb for digestion and stomach pain. It is used for diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcers, and gastrointestinal irritation. [1] Clinical research has shown to significantly reduce acid reflux, epigastric pain, cramping, nausea, and vomiting. [1,5] This is primarily attributed to chamomiles antispasmodic properties predominantly caused by the constituent apigenin.[1] In fact, apigenin was shown to provided antispasmodic activity roughly equivalent to papaverine. [6] Studies have also suggested that chamomile ointment and chamomile sitz bath can improve internal and external hemorrhoids. A randomized, double-blinded trial showed that giving MPFF (flavonoid extracted from chamomile) rapidly reduced bleeding from internal hemorrhoids, venous ulcers, and the risk of relapse. [7,8,9]

#3 Anxiety

Chamomile has been reported to help treat anxiety, specifically generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). A randomized clinical trial using oral chamomile extract and a placebo in patients with mild to moderate GAD displayed modest analytic effects with a significant reduction in overall anxiety. [10] Another long-term (5 years) double-blinded, placebo-substitution trial found a significant superiority of chamomile versus the placebo in reducing GAD symptoms.[11] The constituent responsible for the sedative activity may be apigenin. Apigenin may have the ability to bind to benzodiazepine site on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain. [6,12] This reduces neuronal excitation throughout the nervous system.

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Important Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only; it is NOT meant to substitute professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should NOT use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem/disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please see your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

References

Author
Dr. Pamela Santapaola Dr. Pamela Santapaola Dr. Pamela Santapaola (AKA Dr. Pam) is a licensed naturopathic physician in the state of Connecticut and co-owner of Healing Duo Integrative Family Medical Practice. Dr. Pam has a passion for educating, whether it be through her writings or in her office in a one-to-one setting. She is an advocate of making small lifestyle changes that can make a big impact in the future. Her goal is to enlighten individuals about holistic medicine and empower them to make the changes necessary to live a healthier life. As her saying goes, "It’s time for you to start feeling like your best self.”

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