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Calming with Chamomile

Calming with Chamomile

Friday, July 1st 2005

An Ancient Herb with Modern Uses

German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is a humble daisy-like herb that has been valued for its medicinal properties and used for thousands of years.

Chamomile is best known for its sedative properties and is commonly used as a tea. However, recently its therapeutic properties have been the subject of further studies. The capsules, which contain a concentrated extract, have a major advantage over teas as each capsule is the same whereas teas are usually very weak and the quality varies considerably.

Effective as a tranquilizer, the Europeans have turned to chamomile since the 17th century for a variety of conditions. When women come down with the "vapors", a vague malady with a suspicious likeness to modern-day anxiety attacks, chamomile was the preferred remedy for its calming effects. Apigenin, one of the predominant flavonoids in chamomile has been shown to have clear anti-anxiety activity without the sedation or muscle relaxing effects noted for benzodiazepine drugs (e.g. Valium).

Antispasmodic Activity

Chamomile has very useful antispasmodic activity which helps relax the smooth lining of the digestive tract in cases of an overactive and "knotted-up" or nervous stomach and bowel. It also helps reduce gas. For gastric distress and nervous stomach, chamomile can give immediate symptomatic relief, but should be taken over an extended period of time to help alleviate the problem. The uterus responds to chamomile too, and it is often used to help relieve menstrual cramps.

Chamomile demonstrates anti-inflammatory activity and can help relieve arthritic joint inflammation. Although it doesn't relieve pain as fast as drugs it does not have the drawbacks of these medications.

International Research

British researches have reported that chamomile helps activate macrophages and B-lymphocytes, two important types of the immune system's infection-fighting white blood cells. Used with slippery elm, it can also break up mucus in the head, throat and lungs.

German researchers have found that chamomile is effective against Staphylococcus bacteria and Candida albicans, the fungal infection that can lead to various health problems and vaginal yeast infections.

Safety Proven Since 1887

Chamomile is a very safe herb with only 5 reported allergic reactions to German chamomile between 1887 and 1982! There are no known contraindications, even during pregnancy and lactation.

Nature's Way Standardized Chamomile Extract standardized to 1.2% Apigenin (one of the main active ingredients).

Reproduced unabridged from the July - September 2005 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful for Relaxation:

Avena Comp. Relaxing Drops
Calmunurse
Calm Restore Herbal Drops
Deep Sleep
Mega Magnesium Powder
Magnesium Complex Plus
Mineral Power
Relax and Recharge
SeraTone Relax
Valerian Root Capsules
Superior Magnesium

Related health information can be found here:

Calcium
Depressed, anxious or unable to sleep? You could be low in the brain chemical serotonin
Mineral Power - a supplement high in calcium & magnesium
Nerves
Stress

Related articles can be found here:

Minerals: Critical for well-being
Calm Children at Last
Arctic Stress & Energy Manager
First, Reduce Stress then... Soothe & Stabilise Mood
The mood food connection
Relieve Stress Naturally

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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