(Matricaria chamomilla (L))
Chamomile is a daisy like plant which is often used in herb infusions to help induce sleep. It has traditionally been used for medicinal purposes and is one of the most popular single ingredients in herbal teas or tisanes.1 It contains essential oil, including bisabolol and some of its salts, as well as flavonoids.
Laboratory studies have shown that chamomile can kill bacteria, fungus, and viruses. It also helps relax muscle contractions, particularly in the smooth muscles that make up the intestines.2
A study published by the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that drinking five cups of chamomile tea every day for two weeks increased markers for antibacterial activity as well as levels of glycine, an amino acid which relieves muscle spasms.3
Glycine is also known as a nerve relaxant, which probably explains why the tea acts as a mild sedative and sleep aid.4
Chamomile is used for treating inflammatory conditions including inflammation of the eyes or skin, intestinal inflammation, mouth ulcers, or inflammation of the gums.5 It is used to relieve the discomfort of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).6 It helps relieve menstrual cramps as it works as an anti-spasmodic and muscle relaxant.7 Chamomile has a cooling effect and can be applied to help a number of skin conditions including acne, rashes and fungal infection.8
1 A review of the Bioactivity and Potential Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea by Diane L. McKay and Jeffrey B. Blumberg
2 University of Maryland Medical Centre