Chamomile or Matricaria recutita (biological name) is the common name given to the group of daisy flowering plants that are widely used for medical purposes. The name originates from a Greek word which means “ground apple” which refers to the apple smell of Chamomile plant. It is a native plant of Asia and Europe. Though its benefits have been known since ages but its proper cultivation especially for medical purpose started in the early 20th century.
There are a number of species spread over Europe, North Africa and temperate regions of Asia. They are generally grown during the sunny season and cultivated in 2 to 3 weeks. Fully grown plant has an approximate height of about 25 to 40 centimetres and the flower has white petals with yellow pigmented flower head. The chief chemical constituents common in every species of Chamomile plant include chamazulene oil, apigenine and malic acid.
There can be a huge list of medical benefits and uses of Chamomile plant and it can’t be summarized in a single article. The flower head, petals and herbs are mainly used for medical purposes.
Internal usage: Amongst the most popular and wide usage of Chamomile plant is in herbal tea. It is the chief constituent of herbal tea and is use by people around the world who are suffering from problems such as insomnia, inflammation etc. Mild tea in regular doses is given throughout the day in case of fevers, sore throats, pain due to cold, allergies etc. Twitching and tics in muscles may be relived with proper dose of this tea.
Medicines made using it prove to be a remedy in cases such as nervous indigestion, flatulence, gastritis and inflammations of bowels. They are equally beneficial in conditions such as tension, headaches, menstruation pain and other cramps. It is used in the form of alternative medicine for anodyne, tonic, vasodilatory etc. The anti-inflammatory property of Chamomile chemicals makes it good for arthritis and other painful swellings. Chamomile dosage is also recommended for those who have stomach problems like ulcer, gastritis etc.
External usage: The external usage of Chamomile plant is equally popular and multi-dimensional as internal usage. The antiseptic power of compounds makes it a chief constituent in building strong antiseptic products which can be beneficial in curing earache, toothache, abscesses, neuralgia, burns etc.
Chamomile flower are also used as a constituent in herbal shampoos which provide strength and stability to hair and also prevents hair loss. They are also used as anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory in cosmetics for sensitive skins. Its other cosmetic applications include face steam bath for skin softening, eye bath to remove tiredness and dark circles.
Other usage: The residue of dried flower is used in making insect repellent cream. Chamomile tea boiled in water serves the purpose of plant tonic and prevents it from numerous diseases.
Precautions during usage
Chamomile is safe and important herb but some precautions should be taken during its consumption. People may get sick due to repetitive and high dosage of strong teas. Doctors suggest that chamomile should not be taken during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Use of Chamomile is also restricted for people with bleeding disorder as it contains a naturally occurring compound responsible for blood thinning. It is always recommended that people should consult a homeopathic physician before consuming Chamomile.
Chamomile is definitely a gift of nature to mankind as it has wide verity of healing effect on several disorders. We should always work in a direction so that we do not run out of these natural resources. Hence these valuable species should be conserved and grown in proper quantity so that we can keep the race of these species and mankind alive.