Articles

Chamomile

Plant Part Used

Flowers

Active Constituents

Flavonoids (apigenin and luteoline), bisabolols, matricin, and essential oils.(1)

[span class=alert]This section is a list of chemical entities identified in this dietary supplement to possess pharmacological activity. This list does not imply that other, yet unidentified, constituents do not influence the pharmacological activity of this dietary supplement nor does it imply that any one constituent possesses greater influence on the overall pharmacological effect of this dietary supplement.[/span]

Introduction

Chamomile has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries. It is most frequently used as a mild sedative for individuals with minor anxiety or nervousness.(2) Chamomile does not seem to induce drowsiness or impair motor activity in most individuals. Chamomile has also been used to soothe digestive upset and is considered a carminative (anti-gas) agent.(3) Chamomile has been used topically for various conditions such as acne, infections, burns, and wounds.(3) Chamomile also has been reportedly used as an anti-infective agent against strains of staphylococcus, streptococcus and candida.(4) Chamomile oral rinse is used in Europe for aphthous mouth ulcerations, especially associated with chemotherapy and radiation. However, one study did not show benefits when using chamomile oral rinse in treating 5-FU-induced oral mucositis.(5)

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

400 to 1600mg (standardized extract) daily, in divided doses.

Tea: Place one heaping teaspoonful in 1 cup hot water; steep 10 minutes, strain. Drink 3-4 times a day as needed.

Topically: Apply to affected area 3-4 times a day as needed.

Gargle/Mouth rinse: Use 2-3 times daily; rinse and expectorate.

Most Common Dosage

400mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day for stress.

Tea: Place one heaping teaspoonful in 1 cup hot water; steep 10 minutes, strain. Drink 3 times a day as needed.

Topically: Apply to affected area 3 times a day as needed.

Gargle/Mouth rinse: Use 2-3 times daily; rinse and expectorate.

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to capsules: 1.2% apigenin and 0.5% essential oil per dose.

Uses

Frequently Reported Uses

  • Stress; anxiety
  • Wound Healing Agent
  • Sleep Aid
Other Reported Uses
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • GI Disorders, including flatulence and “nervous” stomach
  • Mouthwash For aphthous ulcers, gingivitis, stomatitis, pharyngitis
  • Antibacterial
  • Blood sugar regulation

Toxicities & Precautions

Allergy

Use with caution in individuals with severe ragweed allergy or allergy to members of the daisy/chrysanthemum family (Compositae), as Chamomile has been reported to cause atopic dermatitis.(6),(7),(8),(17),(18)

In a study evaluating allergic sensitization to tea in a tea packing facility, 10 (5.6%) of the employees tested had developed specific immunoglobulin E antibodies to black or Chamomile tea, though no specific allergic sensitization was noted.(9)

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

Based on pharmacology, use with caution in pregnancy and lactation.

Age Limitations

Do not use in children under 2 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

Pharmacology

Anxiety/Sedation activity

The bisabolols, chamazulene, and flavonoids contribute to the anti-inflammatory, sedative, and antispasmodic activity of chamomile.(10) Apigenin has been reported to be a ligand for the central benzodiazepine receptors exerting anxiolytic and slight sedative effects, but not being anticonvulsant or myorelaxant.(11) Also, the phytochemicals chrysin and apigenin, both found in chamomile, have been reported in the literature to be potential anxiolytic agents.(12) It should be noted that chemical modification of the flavone nucleus dramatically increases their anxiolytic potency. The essential oil of Chamomile is also used for its sedative/anxiety effects.(19)

A small randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled efficacy and tolerability study in 57 patients with mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) found that Chamomile extract had a modest anxiolytic activity in these individuals, supporting the supportive use of Chamomile in GAD and other anxiety disorders.(20)

A small open trial found that Chamomile extract improved symptoms including hyperactivity, inattention and immaturity factors in 3 adolescent males with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).(21)

Laboratory studies have reported a spasmolytic effect of Chamomile in the GI tract of rats by cAMP-PDE inhibition; support the use of Chamomile in digestive disturbances.(22)

Wound healing activity

Wound healing effects are partly due to the anti-inflammatory activity of Chamomile, where   (-)-a-bisobolol promotes granulation and tissue regeneration.(13) Proprietary Chamomile creams for topical inflammation and wound healing are available.

A proprietary Chamomile cream has been reported to be beneficial in local therapy of atopic eczema, without causing a Chamomile-related allergy.(14) In a partially double-blind, randomized study, the Chamomile cream was tested against a 0.5% hydrocortisone cream and the vehicle cream as placebo in patients suffering from medium-degree atopic eczema. After a 2-week treatment, the proprietary Chamomile cream showed a mild superiority towards 0.5% hydrocortisone and a marginal difference as compared to placebo.

Other activity

Chamomile has demonstrated weak estrogenic agonist activity as well as weak progestational activity.(15) Also of note, in a study evaluating the effect of herbal teas on hepatic drug metabolism in rats, Chamomile tea significantly decreased the activity of CYP1A2 by 39%. No alterations in activity were noted for the CYP2D and CYP3A enzymes.(16)

An in vitro laboratory study reported anticancer effects of Chamomile extract against various human cancer cell lines.(23)

Laboratory studies have reported blood sugar lowering effects when using Chamomile in mice. Chamomile was reported to suppress blood glucose levels, increase liver glycogen levels, and inhibit aldose reductase which can inhibit the accumulation of sorbitol in human erythrocytes.(24)

References

  1. Bradley PR,ed. British Herbal Compendium. vol.1 Bournemouth: British Herbal Medicine Association. 1992;154-57.
  2. Wichtl M, in Bisset NA,ed. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Stuttgart: Scientific Press. 1994; 140-42.
  3. Kell T. More on Infant Colic. Birth Gaz. 1977;13(2):3.
  4. Grochulski A, et al. Influence of Chamomile Oil on Experimental Glomerulonephritis in Rabbits. Planta Medica. 1972;21:289-92.
  5. View Abstract: Fidler P, et al. Prospective Evaluation of a Chamomile Mouthwash for Prevention of 5-FU-induced Oral Mucositis. Cancer. Feb1996;77(3):522-25.
  6. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press;1996:69-71.
  7. Giordano-Labadie F, Schwarze HP, Bazex J. Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Chamomile Used in Phytotherapy. Contact Dermatitis. Apr2000;42(4):247.
  8. View Abstract: de la Torre Morin F, Sanchez Machin I, Garcia Robaina JC, Fernandez-Caldas E, Sanchez Trivino M. Clinical cross-reactivity between Artemisia vulgaris and Matricaria chamomilla (chamomile). J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2001;11(2):118-22.
  9. View Abstract: Abramson MJ, Sim MR, Fritschi L, Vincent T, Benke G, Rolland JM. Respiratory disorders and allergies in tea packers. Occup Med (Lond). Jun2001;51(4):259-65.
  10. Isaac O. Pharmacological Investigations with Compounds of Chamomile I. On the Pharmacology of (-)-alpha-Bisabolol and Bisabolol Oxides. Planta Med. 1979;35(2):118-24.
  11. View Abstract: Viola H, et al. Apigenin, A Component of Matricaria Recutita Flowers, Is a Central Benzodiazepine Receptors-ligand With Anxiolytic Effects. Planta Med. Jun1995;61(3):213-16.
  12. View Abstract: Paladini AC, Marder M, Viola H, et al. Flavonoids and the Central Nervous System: From Forgotten Factors to Potent Anxiolytic Compounds. J Pharm Pharmacol. May1999;51(5):519-26.
  13. View Abstract: Glowania HJ, et al. Effect of Chamomile On Wound Healing--A Clinical Double-blind Study. Z Hautkr. Sep1987;62(17):1262, 1267-71.
  14. View Abstract: Patzelt-Wenczler R, Ponce-Poschl E. Proof of Efficacy of Kamillosan(R) Cream in Atopic Eczema. Eur J Med Res. Apr2000;5(4):171-5.
  15. View Abstract: Rosenberg Zand RS, Jenkins DJ, Diamandis EP. Effects of natural products and nutraceuticals on steroid hormone-regulated gene expression. Clin Chim Acta. Oct2001;312(1-2):213-9.
  16. View Abstract: Maliakal PP, Wanwimolruk S. Effect of herbal teas on hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes in rats. J Pharm Pharmacol. Oct2001;53(10):1323-9.
  17. Vandenplas O, Pirson F, D'Alpaos V, Vander Borght T, Thimpont J, Pilette C. Occupational asthma caused by Chamomile. Allergy. Aug 2008;63(8):1090-1092. No abstract available.
  18. Andres C, Chen WC, Ollert M, Mempel M, Darsow U, Ring J. Anaphylactic reaction to Chamomile tea. Allergol Int. Mar 2009;58(1):135-136. Epub 2008 Dec 1.
  19. Setzer WN. Essential oils and anxiolytic aromatherapy. Nat Prod Commun. Sep 2009;4(9):1305-1316. Review.
  20. Amsterdam JD, Li Y, Soeller I, Rockwell K, Mao JJ, Shults J. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol. Aug 2009;29(4):378-382.
  21. Niederhofer H. Observational study: Matricaria chamomilla may improve some symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Phytomedicine. Apr 2009;16(4):284-286. Epub 2008 Dec 20.
  22. Maschi O, Cero ED, Galli GV, Caruso D, Bosisio E, Dell'Agli M. Inhibition of human cAMP-phosphodiesterase as a mechanism of the spasmolytic effect of Matricaria recutita L. J Agric Food Chem. 9 Jul 2008;56(13):5015-5020. Epub 2008 Jun 13.
  23. Srivastava JK, Gupta S. Antiproliferative and apoptotic effects of Chamomile extract in various human cancer cells. J Agric Food Chem. 14 Nov 2007;55(23):9470-9478. Epub 2007 Oct 17.
  24. Kato A, Minoshima Y, Yamamoto J, Adachi I, Watson AA, Nash RJ. Protective effects of dietary Chamomile tea on diabetic complications. J Agric Food Chem. 10 Sep 2008 10;56(17):8206-8211. Epub 2008 Aug 6.