Matricaria recutita or German chamomile, also spelled camomile, is an annual plant of the composite family Asteraceae. Synonyms are: Chamomilla chamomilla, Chamomilla recutita (correct name according to the Flora Europaea), Matricaria chamomilla, and Matricaria suaveolens.
Chamomile is used medicinally to treat sore stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a gentle sleep aid. It is also used as a mild laxative and is anti-inflammatory and bactericidal. For a sore stomach, some recommend taking a cup every morning without food for two to three months. It is also used as a mouthwash against oral mucositis. It has acaricidal properties against certain mites, such as Psoroptes cuniculi.
If you have any kind of anxiety or stress, chamomile can help to sooth your stresses away. It helps to relax the body in a natural way. This is especially good for women who are pregnant and can take other types of medications or remedies for relaxation. A cup of chamomile tea is just the answer for someone who needs to calm his or her nerves.
It can be taken as a herbal tea, two teaspoons of dried flower per cup of tea, which should be steeped for ten to fifteen minutes while covered to avoid evaporation of the volatile oils. The marc should be pressed because of the formation of a new active principle inside the cells, which can then be released by rupturing the cell walls, though this substance only forms very close to boiling point.
One of the active ingredients of the essential oil from German chamomile is the terpene bisabolol. Other active ingredients include farnesene, chamazulene, flavonoids (including apigenin, quercetin, patuletin and luteolin) and coumarin.
Chamomile tea is also thought to be useful to suppress fungal growth, for example, misting it over seedlings may prevent damping off.
Possible side effects: Chamomile is a relative of ragweed and can cause allergy symptoms and can cross-react with ragweed pollen in individuals with ragweed allergies. It also contains coumarin and thus care should be taken to avoid potential drug interactions, e.g. with blood thinners.
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