Updated 18 February 2013


Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks used this herb to treat frayed nerves, inflammation and gastrointestinal complaints.


The tips of the flowers of the Chamomile herb have been used for centuries. Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks used this herb to treat frayed nerves, inflammation and gastrointestinal complaints. The most commonly administered Chamomile is the German variety but it joins the English Chamomile as part of the Asteraceae, or daisy, family – a family that also includes Echinacea.

Animal studies have revealed the sedative and inflammation reducing qualities of Chamomile as well as its ability to reduce muscle spasm, while laboratory findings have revealed the herb’s antimicrobial properties, explaining its successful treatment of a variety of infections and skin conditions.

Other names

Camomile, matricaria, anthemis, ground apple, Roman camomile, garden camomile, low camomile, or whig plant.

Parts used

Flowering tops of the plant can be dried and used to make tea, or stemmed and crushed for the extraction of chamomile’s distinctive blue oil.

How does it work?

This blue chamomile oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and anti-microbial activities, and as such, useful in reducing swelling and abating the growth of bacterial, fungi and viruses.

Pharmacological research shows that the chamomile constituent a-bisabolol, has ulcer-protective properties and the main anti-inflammatory agent is chamazulene.

As an anti-spasmodic herb, it works on the peripheral nerves and muscles, and so it indirectly relaxes the whole body.

What is chamomile used for?

  • Mouth ulcers
  • Colic
  • Diarrhoea
  • Eczema
  • Gingivitis
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Skin irritations
  • Eye irritation
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Skin wounds
  • Crohn's disease
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Migraine
  • Peptic ulcer

How to take chamomile

Spasms or inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract: 30 to 60 drops of German chamomile liquid extract, undiluted or mixed in juice or water, three times daily.

Tea: 1 cup of boiling water over 1 heaping tablespoons of dried herb (or teabag) left to draw for 10 to 15 minutes.
Digestive problems: Drink three to four times per day between meals. Sedative: 1 cup of tea before bedtime.

(Image: T Voekler)

 - (updated by Birgit Ottermann, Health24, April 2010)


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