Chamomile Extract (Matricaria recutita) (herb)

Matricaria recutita is the plant commonly referred to as chamomile. It is a member of the Asteraceae family. [1] Chamomile has been widely used in Western herbalism, beginning in ancient times. It is still served as a culinary tea in restaurants throughout the Mediterranean, and has an equally long-standing tradition of use in Germany. Botanically, chamomile is described as a 1-2 feet high herb with an erect glabrous stem. [2] The flower is yellow with white rays, and it is this part of the plant which is responsible for its purported benefits on human health.

Regarded by the public as mostly a calming herb (sedative), chamomile has a wide range of actions, including:

  • carminative (relieve gas in the GI tract)
  • antispasmodic (relieve spasm in the digestive tract)
  • analgesic
  • anti-inflammatory and anti-septic
  • musculotropic
  • anti-peptic
  • anti-spasmodic
  • vulnerary (wound healing)
  • deodorant
  • skin metabolism stimulant
  • anti-ulcer
  • diaphoretic (increases perspiration)
  • anti-diarrheal
  • anti-emetic
  • anti-anaphylactic

There are two forms of chamomile, German and Roman, and each form contains a number of active constituents. In the United States, the German form is the plant that is most often used. The main compounds are the volatile oils (0.3 - 1.5%) and include; alpha bisabolol and alpha bisabolol oxides; sesquiterpenes (such as chamazulene); tricyclic and bicyclic alcohols; dicyclic ethers and matricin (usually converted to chamazulene during the extraction process). [3] Coumarins like umbelliferone and herniarin are also considered relevant substances, influential in chamomile's many medicinal properties.

These volatile oils, also known as essential oils, are of primarily importance regarding the activity of this plant. Chamazulene is the oil that imparts a blue color to the extract. Chamazulene is converted to azulene with steam heat, such as with steeping a tea. The pharmacologic activity of these oils includes anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and anti-microbial. The anti-inflammatory activity is thought to be due to effects on the pituitary adrenal axis, or directly via inhibition of leukotrienes (inflammatory mediators). [4] Spasms of the digestive tract are impacted by compounds (especially flavonoids and alpha bisabolol) that decrease sympathetic nervous system activity, thereby slowing down peristalsis by inhibiting smooth muscle contractions.

Chamomile also contains a number of flavonoids (methoxylated flavones and flavonols, apigenin, luteolin, quercetin) and glycosides (salicylic acid, choline, fatty acids, mucopolysaccharides ), as well. Extracts are often standardized to contain specific amounts of chamazulene and alpha bisabolol.

The chamomile industry is remains “big business” in Europe, and continues to grow in North America. In Germany alone, there are more than 90 licensed products that contain chamomile. [2] In the United States, chamomile is showing up everywhere; from herbal teas to shampoos and skin care products as well.

Products Containing Chamomile Extract (Matricaria recutita) (herb)
Name Price Rating Serving Price # of Servings Manufacturer Health Condition
Lomentum $49.95
$1.67 30 Progressive Health


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