Chamomile is the colloquial name for several daisy-like plants whose flowers are often used in herbal teas, as aromatherapy, topically, or orally as tablets or capsules, also with other plants such as passionflower, aloe vera. Or mixed with valerian, chamomile essential oil is found in many skin lotions, creams, soaps, and cosmetics.
What is chamomile?
Chamomile is a kind of annual Compositae medicinal plant with a long history and widely used in Eurasia.
The diverse terpenes and flavonoids in chamomile give it special healing effects and are considered to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, analgesic, antispasmodic, sedative and other effects, so it has a variety of uses in traditional medicine and is used in To treat nervousness, insomnia, cough, bronchitis, fever, mouth ulcers, burns, circulatory disorders, indigestion, depression and hair loss.
Among them, German chamomile has the most commercial and medical value, and is made into extract lozenges, essential oils, creams and other products, especially the best-selling tea bags, which are one of the beverages that millions of people must drink every day.
What are the proven benefits of chamomile?
1. Chamomile benefits oral mucositis (due to chemoradiotherapy)
Oral mucositis is an acute inflammation commonly seen in cancer patients receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy or radiotherapy in the head and neck. Clinical manifestations are erythema, painful ulcers, pseudomembrane, edema, and hemorrhage.
Its presence directly interferes with the general health of the patient, further develops serious complications such as dysgeusia, dysphagia, opportunistic infections, and in addition increases the cost of treatment, which may require changes or even interruption of anti-tumor therapy, adverse effects on tumor response and patient Survival has a direct impact.
A systematic review of the literature (6 randomized controlled trials in 492 patients with oral mucositis due to chemoradiation) noted that topical chamomile preparations (dose 1% to 2.5% for a single daily to 4 times) helps prevent or treat oral mucositis.
*Conclusion: For oral mucositis induced by radiotherapy and chemotherapy, topical chamomile preparations may have positive effects.
2. Chamomile benefits primary menstrual pain
Primary Dysmenorrhea is associated with cramping pain in the abdomen during menstrual bleeding, without pelvic disease, and is caused by uterine contractions and ischemia. Fluctuations in prostaglandins, vasopressin, leukotrienes, and emotional factors may also contribute to menstrual pain.
Various non-invasive nutritional and psychological interventions have been suggested as treatments, including psychotherapy, yoga, hypnotherapy, massage, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, vitamins and nutritional supplements, and prescription drugs include: prostaglandin synthesis inhibitors and relievers Painful non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and oral contraceptives, non-drug treatments including acupuncture and surgery.
A systematic literature review (Systematic Review, including 7 clinical studies with a total of 1033 participants) indicated that chamomile may be considered as a possible active ingredient in the treatment of primary menstrual pain and the reduction of menstrual blood.
＊Conclusion: For primary dysmenorrhea, chamomile may bring positive help, but limited by the heterogeneity of the samples contained, more research is needed to further verify.
3. Chamomile improves sleep quality
Sleep plays a vital role in brain function and systemic physiology, including metabolism, appetite regulation, and maintenance of immune, hormonal, and cardiovascular systems.
Causes of poor sleep quality include internal factors such as pain, disease, medication, stress, aging, obesity and psychological changes, as well as external factors such as noise, light, temperature.
The prevalence of insomnia also increases with age, and statistics indicate that more than 57% of the elderly have sleep problems.
A randomized, single-blind, controlled trial (28 days in 60 seniors living in a nursing home) found that oral chamomile extract capsules (400 mg daily) improved sleep in seniors compared to controlled quality.
＊Conclusion: Oral administration of chamomile extract may have positive effects on promoting sleep quality, but limited by the small sample size, more large-scale studies with precise design are still needed to prove it.
4. Chamomile Beneficial for Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive and inappropriate worrying that persists for 6 months or more and is not limited to a specific situation. Anger, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance, three of which must be diagnosed.
The estimated lifetime prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder exceeds 25%, and its causes may be related to traumatic life experiences, conditioning disorders, genetic influences, and neurobiological dysfunction.
A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial (26 weeks in 93 patients with generalized anxiety disorder) found that taking chamomile extract significantly reduced symptoms of moderate to severe generalized anxiety disorder, but did not significantly reduce relapse rates.
The underlying mechanism may be related to the flavonoids in chamomile that can regulate GABA, serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and other neurotransmitters.
＊Conclusion: Chamomile extract may have positive effects on the improvement of generalized anxiety disorder, but limited by the small sample size, more large randomized controlled trials are still needed to prove it.
5. Chamomile benefits migraines
Migraine is a common primary disabling headache, a cyclical disorder characterized by recurring headaches, often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to light, noise, and smell , loss of appetite, intestinal dysfunction, etc.
Migraine is one of the least recognized and untreated neurological conditions, experienced by more than 20% of women and more than 10% of men, and if left untreated, many aspects of a patient’s life are affected, including occupational, academic , social, leisure, family life and responsibilities.
A double-blind, controlled, randomized clinical trial of 100 patients with migraine without aura showed that topical chamomile essential oil gel formulation helped reduce pain, nausea, vomiting, photophobia, and phonophobia compared to placebo Symptoms (measured with the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) questionnaire).
＊Conclusion: Topical application of chamomile essential oil gel preparation may be helpful for migraine relief, but limited by the small number of samples, more large trials are needed to prove it.
6. Chamomile benefits carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a peripheral neuropathy of the upper extremity caused by compression of the median nerve (carpal tunnel at the wrist).
There are many reasons for carpal tunnel syndrome, mainly: occupation, rheumatoid arthritis, acromegaly, diabetes, hypothyroidism, pregnancy, obesity and tenosynovitis, etc.
The main symptoms are pain, numbness, burning and tingling in the compressed area (or fingers), the degree of which varies from person to person.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (4 weeks in 86 patients with mild-to-moderate carpal tunnel syndrome) found that topical application of chamomile oil with carpal splints compared to placebo for improving muscle strength, function, and symptom severity scores.
In addition, the median nerve complex conduction latency was also significantly reduced in the chamomile essential oil group, but other electrodiagnostic measures were not significantly changed.
*Conclusion: Topical chamomile oil adjunctive therapy may have a positive effect on the improvement of carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
7. Chamomile benefits diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, is the chronic disease with the highest proportion at present. The main symptom is hyperglycemia.
At present, the global diabetes population is rapidly increasing, with about 360 million people suffering from the disease, and by 2030, it will reach a staggering 550 million.
The consequence of long-term hyperglycemia is vascular sclerosis, causing lesions in peripheral nerves, retinas, kidneys and other organs (the increase in oxidative stress is the main driving force behind).
A controlled study (8 weeks in 64 diabetic patients) found that chamomile tea helped improve glycosylated hemoglobin, serum insulin levels, insulin resistance and blood malondialdehyde concentration.
In addition, the total antioxidant status, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase activities also increased significantly (ratios of 6.81%, 26.16%, 36.71%, 45.06%).
8. Chamomile benefits for osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis, is the most common joint degenerative disease in adults over 60 years old. The prevalence rate of men and women is about 10% and 13%. The most important factor in joint replacement.
Statistics also show that arthritis patients often have other chronic diseases, such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity, depression, etc., which increases the difficulty of treating the disease.
In a controlled study (3-week period in 84 patients with knee osteoarthritis), topical chamomile oil significantly reduced the patients’ need for anti-inflammatory drugs (compared to the other two with anti-inflammatory gel and placebo). Group). In addition, chamomile essential oil also has some slight improvement in stiffness, pain and mobility.
Are there any side effects of chamomile?
Chamomile, a medicinal herb with a long history, has a high safety profile and is also considered a Generally Recognized as Safe food on the US FDA list.
Nevertheless, although uncommon, allergic reactions to chamomile have been reported in some studies. Possible conditions include skin rash, gastrointestinal discomfort, sneezing, vomiting, asthma, etc. Most of them are related to direct oral intake, and few Some are related to the application and inhalation of essential oils, which may cause anaphylactic shock in severe cases.
Safety Precautions (7 Points of Use Taboo)
- If you have been allergic to Compositae plants, such as ragweed, calendula, daisy, etc., please avoid using such products, which may induce the above allergic reactions.
- The safety of using it in pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, young children, and those with poor liver and kidney function is unknown, please avoid using it.
- Chamomile essential oil is generally for external use, not for internal use. Please do a small-scale test before applying it to the skin to avoid possible adverse reactions.
- It may have an anticoagulant effect, so abnormal blood coagulation, taking anticoagulant drugs, do not use it two weeks before surgery.
- Do not use sedative and sleeping related drugs or herbs (such as valerian, kava, catnip), which may enhance or interfere with the effect of the ingredients.
- Do not use in combination with hypoglycemic or blood pressure drugs, antihistamines, antifungal drugs, contraceptives and other drugs, which may interfere with the effect of drugs.
- The ingredients in chamomile may have estrogen-like effects, so those who have suffered from hormone-related cancers (such as breast cancer, uterine cancer) or are taking anti-estrogen drugs (Tamoxifen), please discuss with professional medical personnel before use.