Calming with Chamomile

Chamomile is also known as Matricaria recutita.

Chamomile is one of the most widely used sedative herbs in the Western world. Chamomile is an effective herb for relaxation. Chamomile has been used for thousands of years as a calming agent and for soothing a nervous stomach.

Chamomile has been shown to have a medically proven calming effect on smooth muscle tissue. It is therefore especially effective when stress and anxiety leads to indigestion.

A study in 1994 found that there is an active chemical in chamomile called apigenin. The study showed that apigenin had significant anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) activity. Apigenin was found to cause sedation by acting on benzodiazepine receptors in the brain.

Preparations from chamomile used to treat anxiety are made from the flower heads, which are chosen just before the flower blooms.

Allergic reactions to chamomile are very rare and anyone who has a history of allergies to ragweed, chrysanthemums and other members of the daisy family should be careful about taking chamomile. However most people who are allergic to ragweed are not allergic to chamomile. There have been less than five cases of allergic reactions to Matricaria reported worldwide. 

Chamomile can be found prepared in various ways. In fact it can and be found in all the ways that botanicals are prepared as medicines.

Chamomile herb is available in a standardised extract containing 1.2% apigenin and 0.5% essential oils. A dose of chamomile extract, taken as directed on the bottle, will act as a mild calming sedative, effectively relieving anxiety.

Chamomile tea has a long history of use as a calming drink. Chamomile tea can be taken any time during the day to treat anxiety and taken at night will help to relieve insomnia and aid sleep. Chamomile tea also helps to relieve period pains and menstrual cramps. It is important to note however, that even a strong chamomile tea, which has been steeped in a pot for a long time, will only contain about 10% of the sedative chemicals present in the herb.

Chamomile and other herbal teas such as hops, passion flower, and lemon balm, are only of use for simple relaxation or to calm a nervous stomach.

Aromatherapists often use the essential oil of chamomile in aromatherapy to treat anxiety and stress.

Homoeopathic camomile remedies are used to treat colic and teething pain in infants.

Camomile can also be found in calming creams and ointments which are used externally to treat skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and sunburn. There is even a cream containing the camomile which can be used to treat haemorrhoids.

Specialists in herbal medicine notes that camomile is probably as popular in Europe as ginseng is in the Orient. There are many hundreds of licensed products containing camomile which can be used to treat anxiety. 

Read much more about anxiety on this site here: main anxiety section on site