Research on the Health Benefits of Chamomile
Chamomile has antibacterial, and sedative properties. As a cream it is also useful for treating eczema
People should avoid chamomile if they are allergic to plants
in the Asteraceae (Compositae) family. Examples include aster,
chrysanthemum, mugwort, ragweed and ragwort. Chamomile tea has been reported to
cause difficulty breathing, anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) and
allergic skin reactions in some individuals. Chamomile eyewash may cause
allergic conjunctivitis (pink eye).
Pregnancy And Breast-Feeding
In theory, chamomile may act as a uterine stimulant or may
cause abortion; it should be avoided during pregnancy. Chamomile is usually not
recommended during breast-feeding, because there is not enough research in this
Chamomile antibacterial and sedative properties
Holmes et al (2005) found evidence that chamomile tea, a
centuries old cure-all for all manner of ailments, may offer health
benefits, including relief for cold symptoms and menstrual cramps. The article appeared
in the January 26 issue of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural
and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal. ACS is the
world's largest scientific society.
"This is one of a growing number of studies that provide evidence that
commonly used natural products really do contain chemicals that may be of
medicinal value," said study leader Elaine Holmes, Ph.D., a chemist with
Imperial College London. "The healthcare industry is placing increasing
emphasis on functional foods including natural remedies, yet little work has
been conducted on the long term effects of such products on human
The herbal plant used in the study was German chamomile (Matricaria
recutita), also known as manzanilla, whose flowers and leaves are brewed as a
fragrant, flavorful tea.
The study involved fourteen volunteers (seven women and seven men) who each
drank five cups of the herbal tea daily for two consecutive weeks. Daily urine
samples were taken and tested throughout the study, both before and after
drinking chamomile tea.
Increased Antibacterial Activity
The researchers found that drinking the tea was associated with a
significant increase in urinary levels of hippurate, a breakdown product of
certain plant-based compounds known as phenolics, some of which have been
associated with increased antibacterial activity. This could help explain why
the tea appears to boost the immune system and fight infections associated with
colds, according to the researchers.
Drinking the tea also was associated with an increase in urinary levels of
glycine, an amino acid that has been shown to relieve muscle spasms. This may
explain why the tea appears to be helpful in relieving menstrual cramps in
women, probably by relaxing the uterus, say the researchers.
Sedating Effect of Chamomile
Glycine also is known to act as a nerve relaxant, which may also explain why
the tea acts as a mild sedative, Glycine
supplements are sold for that purpose although naturopaths will usually recommend chamomile herbal tinctures or herbal teas..
Levels of both hippurate and glycine remained elevated for up to two weeks
after the study participants stopped drinking the tea, indicating that the
compounds may remain active for quite some time, according to the researchers.
Additional studies are needed before a more definitive link between the tea
and its alleged health benefits can be established, they emphasise.
Further research has also shown that Chamomile cream can be useful in
reducing the impact of eczema and other skin rash conditions
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Study of Smoothing Effect of Camocare Cream on Skin Surface After Chemically
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Study of Efficacy of Camocare Facial Therapy Compared With Leading Department
and Drug Store Brands. Dermatological Clinic and Polyclinic, University of Bonn, Germany.
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Maiche A, Grohn P, Maki-Hokkonen H. Effect of
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