Found throughout Europe, where it has a long history of use as a medicinal plant, chamomile grows wild in fields along roadsides and is cultivated in gardens. Commercial cultivation occurs in New Zealand and on a smaller scale in Australia.
The bitter taste of chamomile is due to a substance called ses-quit-er-penoid lactones. Its essential oil contains azulene, bisabols, and flavonoids that give the herb its anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and smooth muscle-relaxing properties, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract.
Chamomile has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant, mostly for digestive disorders, where it acts to soothe inflamed or irritated gastrointestinal tissue and reduce spasm of griping pain. It is also used as a mild sedative.
The essential oil has an anti-inflammatory effect on mucous membranes and may help to reduce histamine-induced allergic reactions. A chamomile steam inhalation may help to ease sinusitis, asthma, hay fever and bronchitis.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties of chamomile make it a good remedy for stomach aches and period pain.
Eternally, chamomile cream treats skin inflammation and promotes healing. It is recommended for use with eczema, nappy rash and cracked nipples. It is also used as an antiseptic mouthwash.
The Herbalist and Chittaway Pharmacy makes a herbal compound that contains chamomile, peppermint, and meadowsweet and is used treat a range of gastrointestinal complaints such as bloating, indigestion, abdominal discomfort, and nausea. Come in and talk to our herbalist about how herbs can help you.