Botanical Name: Matricaria recutita
Botanical Family: Asteraceae (the daisy family)
Plant part used for medicinal purposes: flower
Historical use: A folk medicine of great antiquity in Europe primarily used for anxiety, pain, fever and nervous disorders of the stomach and bowel. According to renowned herbalist Matthew Wood chamomile is “suited to conditions where there is mental and physician tension and spasms”.
Important chemical components: essential oils alpha-bisabolol and chamazulene and flavonoids such as apigenin
Contraindications or warnings: can cause rare allergic reactions. Avoid if have any known sensitivity to other members of the Asteraceae family such as ragweed, daisies, chrysanthemums.
Research on chamomile demonstrates benefits for anxiety, insomnia and spasms. These effects are thought to be due in part to the effect of apigenin on GABA receptors in the brain, which also bind benzodiazepines.
Chamomile studies show:
- Less smooth muscle spasms in the GI tract
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Lower doses showed anti-anxiety effects, higher doses showed mild sedation in animal studies
Yazdi H et al. Hydro-alcoholic extract of Matricaria recutita exhibited dual anti-spasmodic effect via modulation of Ca(2+) channels, NO and PKA(2)-kinase pathway in rabbit jejunum. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2017 Jul-Aug;7(4):334-344
Amsterdam JD et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2009
Amsterdam JD et al. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may provide antidepressant activity in anxious, depressed humans: an exploratory study. Altern Ther Health Med. 2012 Sep-Oct;18(5):44-9
Viola H et al. Apigenin, a component of Matricaria recutita flowers, is a central benzodiazepine receptors-ligand with anxiolytic effects. Planta Medica 1995;61(3):213-216