What is chamomile and what is it used for

It is used for its well-known relaxing and mildly sedative activities.

What is it

Chamomile, botanical name Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria Recutita, is an annual herbaceous plant, with an erect and branched stem, which reaches a height of about 80 centimeters. The leaves are very thin and pointed in shape.

The inflorescences (called flower heads) are composed in the center by yellow tubular flowers of small diameter, surrounded by white tongue-shaped flowers, similar to petals and is the part that contains the active substances.

Common in meadows and cultivated fields, it blooms in the period between May and June and gives off an intense aroma.

It has anti-inflammatory, sedative, spasmolytic, healing and antibacterial properties. It is one of the most well-known and used medicinal plants in the world.


The relaxing and mildly sedative action for which chamomile is known depends on the presence of apigenin that binds directly to the same receptors to which benzodiazepines bind.

Bisabolol exerts spasmolytic activity, promoting relaxation of the stomach muscles and intestinal wall. It improves the elimination of gas from the intestine, reducing swelling.

It also has antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory properties that are added to those of flavonoids and azulenes, also endowed with analgesic, antioxidant, healing and emollient activity.

Why is it used

Chamomile can be used for both internal and external use to treat a wide variety of ailments.

Due to its slightly sedative effect, it is a classic remedy to alleviate anxiety and irritability, treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. It has the advantage that it can also be used in children.

Very effective in cases of digestive difficulties, chamomile relieves stomach and intestinal cramps, particularly if due to states of emotional tension or irritable bowel syndrome. Also useful in case of flautulence and diarrhea.

In the presence of allergyconjunctivitis or red eyes can be used as eye drops, eye washes. Oral rinses are also used in case of toothache, sore throat and to soothe inflammation in the mouth.

Chamomile-based compresses or ointments have a healing and soothing effect on reddened skin and mucous membranes, ulcers, wounds, eczema, sunburn and infections. And it is decongestant in case of hemorrhoids and mastitis.

The anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving action is obtained by rubbing with chamomile oil the areas affected by neuralgia, sciatica, rheumatism, stiff neck and gout.

How to use it

The flower heads are used, harvested a few days before flowering, dried in the shade and in a ventilated place, with which essential oil, infusions, compresses, creams, lotions are prepared. In addition, in cosmetics chamomile is an essential component of shampoos, solutions and lightening creams for hair. Let’s see how it can be used according to the disorder to be treated.

As a sedative

To treat stomach cramps

Infusion of chamomile prepared with 3 grams of inflorescence every 150 cc of hot water. The dose is about three cups a day
For external use

For compresses to be applied to injured skin, in inflamed and painful areas or as a decongestant of bags and dark circles

More concentrated infusion suitable for nasal, ocular or washes
For clutches Chamomile oil that can be added (10 drops) to warm bath water as a relaxant.


Allergic reactions are rare but cases of hypersensitivity, conjunctivitis and contact dermatitis have been reported following eye washes and the use of chamomile ointment.

The intake of excessive amounts of infusion can trigger the so-called “paradox effect”, with the appearance of agitation and irritability.


Excessive doses may interfere with anticoagulant therapy. No other significant interactions are known.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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