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Chamomile Health Article

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DefinitionPurposeDescriptionRecommended dosagePrecautionsSide effectsInteractionsBOOKSPERIODICALSOTHER

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Definition

Chamomile is a plant that has been used since ancient Egypt in a variety of healing applications. Chamomile is a native of the Old World; it is related to the daisy family, having strongly scented foliage and flowers with white petals and yellow centers. The name chamomile is derived from two Greek words that mean "ground" and "apple," because chamomile leaves smell somewhat like apples, and because the plant grows close to the ground.

There are two varieties of chamomile commonly used in herbal preparations for internal use and for aromatherapy. One is called Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), with contemporary sources in Belgium and southern England. Roman chamomile grows to a height of 9 in (23 cm) or less, and is frequently used as a ground cover along garden paths because of its pleasant apple scent. German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is grown extensively in Germany, Hungary, and parts of the former Soviet Union. German chamomile grows to a height of about 3 ft (1 m) and is the variety most commonly cultivated in the United States, where it is used medicinally.

Purpose

Chamomile has been used internally for a wide variety of complaints. The traditional German description of chamomile is alles zutraut, which means that the plant "is good for everything."

Chamomile has been used internally for the following purposes:

·         Antispasmodic: A preparation given to relieve intestinal cramping and relax the smooth muscles of the internal organs. Chamomile is used as an antispasmodic to relieve digestive disordersmenstrual cramps,premenstrual syndrome (PMS), headache, and other stress-related disorders.

·         Anthelminthic: Chamomile has been used to expel parasitic worms from the digestive tract.

·         Carminative: Chamomile is given to help expel gas from the intestines.

·         Sedative: Perhaps the most frequent internal use of chamomile is in teas prepared to relieve anxiety and insomnia.

·         Anti-inflammatory: Roman chamomile has been used to soothe the discomfort of gingivitis (inflamed gums), earache, and arthritis. German chamomile is used in Europe to treat oral mucosities in cancer patients following chemotherapy treatment.

·         Antiseptic: Chamomile has mild antibacterial properties, and is sometimes used as a mouthwash or eyewash. It can be applied to compresses to treatbruises or small cuts.

·         Other: Mexican Americans, especially the elderly, have been reported to use chamomile for the treatment of asthma and urinary incontinence. It is one of the two most popular herbs in use among this population.

The external uses of chamomile include blending its essential oil with lavenderor rose for scenting perfumes, candles, creams, or other aromatherapy products intended to calm or relax the user. Chamomile is considered a middle note in perfumery, which means that its scent lasts somewhat longer than those of top notes but is less long lasting than scents extracted from resinous or gumbearing plants. Chamomile is also a popular ingredient in shampoos, rinses, and similar products to add highlights to blonde or light brown hair.

Other external uses of chamomile include topical preparations for the treatment of bruises, scrapes, skin irritations, and joint pain. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile make it a widely used external treatment foracne, arthritis, burns, ulcerated areas of skin, and even diaper rash. The German E Commission, regarded as an authority on herbal treatments, has recommended chamomile to "combat inflammation, stimulate the regeneration of cell tissue, and promote the healing of refractory wounds and skin ulcers."

Description

The flowers are the part of the chamomile plant that are harvested for both internal and external use. Chamomile flowers can be dried and used directly for teas and homemade topical preparations, but they are also available commercially in prepackaged tea bags and in capsule form. The essential oil of chamomile is pressed from the leaves as well as the flowers of the plant; it costs about $22–$35 for 5 ml. Chamomile is also available as a liquid extract.

The chemically active components of chamomile include alpha bisabobol, chamozulene, polyines, tannin, coumarin, flavonoids, and apigenin. However, no single factor has been credited with all the major healing properties of whole chamomile; it is assumed that the various components work together to produce the plant's beneficial effects.

Recommended dosage

Children may be given 1–2 ml of a glycerine preparation of German chamomile three times a day for colic; or 2–4 oz (57–100 g) of tea, one to three times a day, depending on the child's weight.

Adults may take a tea made from 0.7–1 oz (2–3 g) of dried chamomile steeped in hot water, three to four times daily for relief of heartburn, gas, or stomach cramps. Alternately, adults may take 5 ml of 1:5 dilution of chamomile tincture three times daily.

For use as a mouthwash, one may prepare a tea from 0.7–1 oz (2–3 g) of dried chamomile flowers, allow the tea to cool, and then gargle as often as desired. To soothe an irritated upper respiratory tract during cold season, adults may pour a few drops of essential oil of chamomile on top of steaming water and inhale the fragrant vapors.

For relief of eczema, insect bites, and other skin irritations, adults may add 4 oz (110 g) of dried chamomile flowers to a warm bath. Topical ointments containing 3–10% chamomile may be used for psoriasis, eczema, or dry, irritated skin.

Precautions

Because chamomile is related botanically to the ragweed plant, persons who are highly allergic to ragweed should use chamomile with caution.

Chamomile is generally safe to drink when prepared using the recommended quantity of dried flowers. Highly concentrated tea made from Roman chamomile has been reported to cause nausea; this reaction is caused by a compound found in Roman chamomile called anthemic acid.

Women who are pregnant or lactating should not use chamomile.

Persons taking warfarin or similar blood-thinning medications should use chamomile only after consulting their physician, as it may intensify the effects ofanticoagulant drugs.

Side effects

Chamomile can cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to ragweed.

Interactions

Chamomile can increase the effects of anticoagulant medications. In addition, its tannin content may interfere with iron absorption. Chamomile may also add to the effects of benzodiazepines, including ValiumAtivan, and Versed. No other noteworthy medication interactions have been reported.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.naturalnews.com/034454_chamomile_anxiety_depression.html

 


Chamomile helps with anxiety, sleeplessness and depression

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 by: Celeste M. Smucker, MPH, PhD
Tags: chamomileanxietydepression



Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/034454_chamomile_anxiety_depression.html#ixzz2aYNJYeVn

(NaturalNews) Anxiety and insomnia are health concerns which may appear together and are often also linked to depression. These three health issues have a significant impact on people's lives and on our national health care economy. Within any 12 month period, 18% of adults suffer from anxiety, while nearly 29% will do so at some time during their life. Similarly, as much as 30% of the population may suffer from some form of insomnia, including a high percentage of those individuals diagnosed as depressed. Annual economic costs are significant and range from estimates of $15 billion for medical care to as much as $150 billion in lost productivity. While medical interventions are common, there are a variety of natural solutions including chamomile, a common herb which is inexpensive and readily available with minimal side effects.

 

Chamomile Tames Anxiety

While traditional healers have long recommended chamomile for anxiety, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania were some of the first to examine this relationship scientifically. In a 2009 study, the authors compared scores from standardized tests designed to measure generalized anxiety disorder or GAD. Over a period of eight weeks, one group received a placebo while the other took pharmaceutical grade chamomile capsules. Subjects were then tested to measure changes in symptoms of anxiety during this time. Those who took chamomile enjoyed a reduction in anxiety symptoms and the changes were termed "clinically meaningful and statistically significant."

 

Chamomile is a Great Sleep Remedy

Most of us are familiar with chamomile as a soothing tea that promotes relaxation and feelings of drowsiness at bedtime; its effectiveness is possibly due to its mild sedative action. While researchers have not confirmed a link between chamomile and sleep in humans, there are animal studies which do support a relationship. For example, a Japanese study using sleep-disturbed rats found chamomile worked as well as a tranquilizer in helping them fall asleep. Chamomile also has anti-inflammatory properties and may promote sleep by helping to reduce swelling caused by inflammation associated with allergies.

 

Chamomile May Indirectly Impact Depression

In an article about depression and insomnia which appeared in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the authors concluded that if you are diagnosed with insomnia your risk of also being diagnosed with depression in the next one to three years is very high. Of course anxiety is also strongly associated with depression. As many as 85% of depressed individuals were found to be anxious according to a study reported at the consumer mental health site, Healthyplace.com. The frequency of anxiety and insomnia during depression suggests that chamomile may be helpful for alleviating some of its symptoms as well.

 

Chamomile's Long Lasting Effects

Unlike some supplements which are only effective for a few hours, chamomile seems to stay in your system for a relatively long time. A 2005 study reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry evaluated the urine of volunteers who drank chamomile tea daily for two weeks. They found elevated levels of hippurate, an anti-inflammatory, and glycine, which helps soothe muscle spasms. Two weeks after the volunteers stopped drinking chamomile, levels of these elements were still measurable.

Chamomile is readily available in capsule form and as a tea in most grocery and health food stores. However, proceed with caution if ragweed causes you to sniffle and sneeze. Chamomile is in the same family and could cause a similar allergic reaction.

Sources for this article include

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/034454_chamomile_anxiety_depression.html#ixzz2aYNSR9gP

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