• Clinical data 90%
  • Efficacy 80%
  • Security 70%
  • Toxicity 30%

Matricaria chamomilla
Flos Chamomillae

Synonyms

Matricaria chamomilla L., M. recutita L., M. suaveolens L. In most formularies and reference books, Matricaria chamomilla L. is regarded as the correct species name. However, according to the International Rules of Botanical Nomenclature, Chamomilla recutita (L.) Rauschert is the legitimate name for this species. Asteraceae are also known as Compositae.

General appearance

Flos Chamomillae consists of conical flower heads, each bearing a few white ligulate florets and numerous yellowish orange to pale yellow tubular or disk florets on conical, narrow hollow receptacles with a short peduncle; disk florets perfect and without a pappus; ray florets pistillate, white, 3-toothed and 4-veined; involucre hemispherical, composed of 20–30 imbricate, oblanceolate and pubescent scales; peduncles weak brown to dusky greenish yellow, longitudinally furrowed, more or less twisted and up to 2.5 cm long; achenes more or less obovoid and faintly 3- to 5 ribbed; pappus none, or slightly membranous crown.

Major chemical constituents

Flos Chamomillae contains an essential oil (0.4–1.5%), which has an intense blue colour owing to its chamazulene content (1–15%). Other major constituents  include α-bisabolol and related sesquiterpenes (up to 50% of the oil). Apigenin and related flavonoid glycosides constitute up to 8% (dry weight) of the drug.

Medicinal uses of Matricaria chamomilla

Uses supported by clinical data

Internal use

Symptomatic treatment of digestive ailments such as dyspepsia, epigastric bloating, impaired digestion, and flatulence. Infusions of camomile flowers have been used in the treatment of restlessness and in mild cases of insomnia due to nervous disorders.

External use

Inflammation and irritations of the skin and mucosa (skin cracks, bruises, frostbite, and insect bites), including irritations and infections of the mouth and gums, and haemorrhoids.

Inhalation

Symptomatic relief of irritations of the respiratory tract due to the common cold.
Uses described in pharmacopoeias and in traditional systems of medicine
Adjuvant in the treatment of minor inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.
Uses described in folk medicine, not supported by experimental or clinical data
As an antibacterial and antiviral agent, an emetic, and an emmenagogue. It is also used to relieve eye strain, and to treat urinary infections and diarrhoea.

Pharmacology

Experimental pharmacology

Both camomile extract and (-)-α-bisabolol demonstrated antipeptic activity in vitro. A hydroalcoholic extract of camomile inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, group B Streptococcus, and Streptococcus salivarius, and it had a bactericidal effect in vitro on Bacillus megatherium and Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae. In vitro, the volatile oil of camomile also inhibited Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis. In vitro, camomile extracts inhibited both cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase, and thus the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, known inducers of inflammation. Both bisabolol and bisabolol oxide have been shown to inhibit 5-lipoxygenase, but bisabolol was the more active of the two compounds. Numerous in vivo studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of the drug. The antiinflammatory effects of camomile extract, the essential oil, and the isolated constituents have been evaluated in yeast-induced fever in rats and against ultraviolet radiation-induced erythema in guinea-pig models. The principal anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic constituents of camomile appear to be the terpene compounds matricin, chamazulene, (-)-α bisabololoxides A and B, and (-)-α bisabolol. While matricin and (-)-α-bisabolol have been isolated from the plant, chamazulene is actually an artefact formed during the heating of the flowers when an infusion or the essential oil is prepared. The anti inflammatory effects of these compounds in various animal models, such as inhibition of carrageenin-induced rat paw oedema, have been demonstrated, although their activity was somewhat less than that of salicylamide.
In the mouse model for croton oil-induced dermatitis, topical application of either the total camomile extract, or the flavonoid fraction only, was very effective in reducing inflammation. Apigenin and luteolin were more active than indometacin and phenylbutazone. Activity decreased in the following Flos Chamomillae 91 order: apigenin  luteolin  quercetin  myricetin  apigenin-7-glucoside  rutin. The spasmolytic activity of camomile has been attributed to apigenin, apigenin-7-O-glucoside and (-)-α-bisabolol, which have activity similar to papaverine. Intradermal application of liposomal apigenin-7-glucoside inhibited, in a dose-dependent manner, skin inflammations induced in rats by xanthine oxidase and cumene hydroperoxide. Intraperitoneal administration to mice of a lyophilized infusion of camomile decreased basal motility, exploratory and motor activities, and potentiated hexobarbital-induced sleep. These results demonstrated that in mice camomile depresses the central nervous system.

Clinical pharmacology

A double-blind study of the therapeutic effects of a camomile extract on reepithelialization and drying of wound weeping after dermabrasion demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in the wound size and drying tendency.
In clinical trials, topical application of a camomile extract in a cream base was found to be superior to hydrocortisone 0.25% for reducing skin inflammation. In an international multicentre trial camomile cream was compared with hydrocortisone 0.25%, fluocortin butyl ester 0.75% and bufexamac 5% in the treatment of eczema of the extremities. The camomile cream was shown to be as effective as hydrocortisone and superior to the other two treatments, but no statistical analysis was performed. Camomile preparations have also been found to be beneficial in the treatment of radiation mucositis owing to head and neck radiation and systemic chemotherapy.

Contraindications 

Camomile is contraindicated in patients with a known sensitivity or allergy to plants of the Asteraceae (Compositae) such as ragweed, asters, and chrysanthemums.

Warnings

No information available.

News and Journals

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