Chamomile - Matricaria recutita (in the Asteraceae or Aster family)
Parts used: Fresh flowers prior to fully opening. Fresh or dry flowers can be used.
Taste/smell: Sweet, aromatic, slightly bitter.
Dosage: Infusion: 1 heaping tablespoon of fresh flowers per cup of water, infused 5-10 minutes; or 1:1.4 fresh + dry liquid extract: 20-75 drops 1-4 times per day.
Mental picture and specific indications: This nervine is specific for neural irritability in persons with a strong and active nervous system. Mental picture is restless, irritable, sensitive, complaining, wants to have their way, argumentative, acting like a baby and cannot be comforted.
Use: (a) Antispasmodic, (b) Anti-inflammatory, (c) Anti-allergenic, (d) Analgesic, (e) Antipyretic, (f) Antiseptic, (g) Antibacterial against Strep. pyogenes(in vitro research), (h) Antifungal, (i) Carminative.
Chamomile is used for indigestion, gas and accompanying pain, gastritis and gastric ulcers and externally for burns, ulcers and wounds. Its anti-inflammatory action can partially be attributed to chamomile's ability to inhibit arachidonic acid metabolism. Being a mild sedative for nervousness and nightmares, it is especially beneficial for infants and elders who are restless when attempting to sleep. The sedative activity is thought to largely be due to the constituent, apigenin, which can produce mild sedation and decrease anxiety without producing marked depression of CNS activity. Chamomile is indicated for menstrual cramps and babies with colic or who are teething. Poultices used over the spine are helpful for viral meningitis. The ability to relieve pain may be due to its prostaglandin-inhibiting action. It contains anti-inflammatory constituents, alpha bisabolol and chamazulene. Alpha bisabolol additionally has antispasmodic and anti-ulcerogenic properties. Matricin and apigenin are also active constituents in chamomile.
Contraindications: The flowers and tea, as well as other products made from chamomile, may cause an allergenic sensitivity in susceptible individuals. It has caused contact dermatitis, anaphylaxis and other hypersensitive reactions in persons allergic to plants in the Asteraceae, formerly the Compositae, family. These reactions are rare occurrences.