Herb Spotlight: Chamomile

Chamomile is an herb I did not appreciate when younger. I just never cared for the taste of it. But maybe that is more from the way I tried it. The whole chamomile flowers are added into my Lavender Mint Dream tisane. With the blend of chamomile, lavender, and mint, it is a more enjoyable beverage for me. I enjoy the taste while getting the benefits of chamomile.

Our tisane incorporates German chamomile (Matricaria recutita). It is native to Europe, Eastern Europe, North Africa, and parts of Asia. The plant reaches to 3 feet although some wild varieties are low growing. German chamomile is an annual, grows up to 3’. Flowers are harvested between May and August. (1)

Energetically, chamomile is bitter, spicy, but also a little neutral.(2)  The herb is a nervine, sedative, and mildly astringent. It is most often used to calm nervous tension in the stomach, anxiety, insomnia, menstrual disorders, headaches, hay fever, Crohn’s disease and other gastrointestinal disorders. (2, 3, 4)

If using this herb to help with digestive problems, drink a cup after meals. The herb helps to increase intestinal peristalsis while relaxing the central nervous system. (2) Chamomile is frequently used to lessen an allergic reaction. The volatile oil, chamazulene, in the flowers can help to inhibit allergic responses. (5, 6)

It is recommended you avoid chamomile if you have asthma or are allergic to asters, daisies, chrysanthemums, or ragweed. There may also be an increased risk of miscarriage if pregnant. Chamomile may also interact with medications, increasing the risk of bleeding and may increase the effects of medications such as sedatives. If you have questions about herb-drug interactions, contact your physician. (1)

While I love the herb in my Lavender Mint Dream tisane, you can also try chamomile in your bath to help relieve stress and sore muscles. Using it in this way, you can breathe the scent to ease anxious feelings as well. (7)

  1. German Chamomile. University of Maryland Medical Center. Last reviewed March 25, 2015. Retrieved fromhttps://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/german-chamomile

  2. Hoffmann, David (2013). The Complete Herbs Sourcebook. China: Harper Collins.

  3. Srivastava, Janmejai K., Shankar, Eswar, Gupta, Sanjay. Chamomile: A Herbal Medicine of the Past with Bright Future. Published November 1, 2010. Retrieved fromhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/

  4. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). Herbwisdom.com. Retrieved on November 8, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-chamomile.html

  5. Balch, Phyllis A. CNC (2012). Prescription for Herbal Healing 2nd edition. New York: Avery, Penguin Publishing Group.

  6. Stuart, Armando Gonzalez, Ph.D. Chamomile. Published 2004. Retrieved from http://www.herbalsafety.utep.edu/herbs-pdfs/chamomile.pdf

  7. Gladstar, Rosemary (2012). Rosesmary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.