Chamomile (American English) or camomile (British English) or camomille (French spelling) is the common name for several daisy-like plants of the family Asteraceae. Chamomille is an ancient herb. The first uses of chamomille date back over 5,000 years ago, in particular in Europe where it often accompanies Mediterranean cultures, in particular in France. Two of the species (named below) are commonly used to make herbal infusions for medicinal uses. (1). In this analysis, I will first examine different uses of this plant, including for longevity (Part A) and follow-up with a few words on mechanisms and modalities of use. (Part B)
Two Species often used as Herbal Infusions
Chamomile tea is often used as herbal infusion made from dried chamomile flowers and hot water. Two types of chamomile used are German chamomille (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomille (Chamaemelum nobile). (Ibid.)
Traditional non-allopathic Uses of Chamomille
Way before the synthetic pharmaceutical-promoter agency FDA came into existence, chamomille has been used for thousands of years for treating numerous ailments. Even though the FDA and most of mainstream allopathic medicine experts deny that herbal teas can have significant health benefits, the evidence show that they do, from helping with Inflammation and menstrual Pain to gastrointestinal disorders, insomnia, muscle spasms, anxiety, depression,and dozens of other conditions.
Traditionally, chamomile has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, mild astringent and healing medicine. (2) As a traditional medicine, it is used to treat wounds, ulcers, eczema, gout, skin irritations, bruises, burns, canker sores, neuralgia, sciatica, rheumatic pain, hemorrhoids, mastitis and other ailments. (3) Externally, chamomile has been used to treat diaper rash, cracked nipples, chicken pox, ear and eye infections, disorders of the eyes including blocked tear ducts, conjunctivitis, nasal inflammation and poison ivy. (4) Chamomile is widely used to treat inflammations of the skin and mucous membranes, and for various bacterial infections of the skin, oral cavity and gums, and respiratory tract. Chamomile in the form of an aqueous extract has been frequently used as a mild sedative to calm nerves and reduce anxiety, to treat hysteria, nightmares, insomnia and other sleep problems. (5) Chamomile has been valued as a digestive relaxant and has been used to treat various gastrointestinal disturbances including flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, anorexia, motion sickness, nausea, and vomiting. (6) Chamomile has also been used to treat colic, croup, and fevers in children (7). It has been used as an emmenagogue and a uterine tonic in women. It is also effective in arthritis, back pain, bedsores and, among other conditions, stomach cramps. Chamomille is so useful that we, at the NIHAOL institute sip it throughout the day and break the FDA rules by offering it to cancer patients in lieu of cytotoxic and cancer-causing chemo-therapy and other synthetic poisons. (8)
Chamomille and Longevity
Just like with quality wine, chamomille was shown to be a factor in all-cause-mortality decline, which means that it is qualified to be a longevity herb that could replace a significant amount of FDA promoted synthetic drugs. In this perspective, a 7 years study showed that people who regularly took this herbal tea had a significant reduction from all causes of mortality. This study explored the connection between consumption of chamomille tea and 7-year all-cause mortality in a sample of older Mexican American adults residing in the Southwestern United States. (9)
Chamomille Tea was shown to be Linked to a 29% Decreased Risk of Death
In this above-mentioned study, the researchers analyzed data from 1,677 Mexican-Americans living in five different states. The study examined the effect of chamomile tea intake on the risk of death in Hispanics aged 65 or older. According to the results of the study, 14% of participants drank chamomile tea. Of these, the risk of death was 29% lower from all causes, compared to non-drinkers. The results however only held true for women. (Ibid.) See Discussion for the explanation.
Chamomille Tea as a anti-cancer Therapy
Evidence indicates chamomile also displays anti-cancer properties. A study published in 2007 examined the effects of chamomile extracts on cancerous cells. During the course of the study, chamomile extracts were tested on healthy human cells and cancerous cells. The researchers found that the extracts caused minimal growth inhibition on healthy cells but a remarkable reduction in cancerous cells. In fact, the chamomile extracts facilitated apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells but not in normal cells.
Another study in 2015 also concluded chamomile’s potent anti-cancer properties. Researchers found that thirty years of consumption of chamomile significantly reduced the risk of thyroid cancer and benign thyroid disease by 80%.
The researchers connected to this above-mentioned study, from the University of Athens, studied over 500 people, including 399 Greek patients who had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer or associated benign thyroid conditions. These included 113 people with thyroid cancer. Along with the thyroid cancer patients the researchers also tested 138 healthy subjects who provided the control group.
The patients and healthy controls were extensively interviewed regarding their diet and other lifestyle habits. The interviews were conducted personally with trained interview technicians. The researchers eliminated the effects of known thyroid condition associations including alcohol, smoking, coffee consumption, age and obesity. The research (published in the European Journal of Public Health) thus concluded that drinking chamomile tea regularly over a 30-year period reduced the risk of thyroid cancer by nearly 80 percent. (10) More specifically, those who drank chamomile tea two to six times each week reduced their risk of any thyroid disease by 74 percent. Common thyroid disorders include hyperthyroidism, goiters and others. (Ibid.)
“Thirty years of consumption significantly reduced the risk of thyroid cancer and benign thyroid diseases development by almost 80%. Similar, although weaker protective association, was found for sage and mountain tea. Adjustment for smoking, alcohol and coffee consumption did not alter the results. Conclusions: Our findings suggest for the first time that drinking herbal teas, especially chamomile, protects from thyroid cancer as well as other benign thyroid diseases.” (Source)
Active Components and Mechanisms of Action
The flowers of chamomile contain 1–2% volatile oils including, but not limited to alpha-bisabolol, alpha-bisabolol oxides A & B, and matricin (usually converted to chamazulene and other flavonoids which possess anti-inflammatory and antiphlogistic properties (Cf 6, 7) These properties have been shown to have antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiplatelet, and, inter alia, anti-inflammatory characteristics (McKay & Blumberg, 2006), in particular, luteolin, rutin, caffeic acid, and quercetin as well as the antioxidant apigenin, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Other constituents of chamomile flowers are polyphenol patuletin. Furthermore, there are essential oil components extracted from the flowers that are called terpenoids.
Farnesene: a hydrocarbon terpenoid can reduces oxidative stress, which is an important aging hallmark. (Source) A-bisabolol is an aromatic oil terpenoid that has cancer controling properties. (Source) Bisabolol oxide A & B: compounds, also contained in chamomile oil, can relieve pain. (Source). Chamazulene is an aromatic compound that has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties, both of which have longevity benefit. (Source)
Apigenin and other compounds may interact with synthetic FDA promoted medications causing “drug-drug” interactions. Possible interactions include those with antiplatelet agents, anticoagulant agents, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents. (11) Apigenin was also found to interact with antiarrhythmic agents and antihypertensive agents in animal research. Other interactions include those against sedative agents, antibiotic agents, and antianxiety agents.
While chamomile exhibits some anti-inflammatory effects by itself, it is not recommended that it be taken concurrently with Aspirin or non-salicylate NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) as it is unknown if a clinically significant herb-drug interaction exists.
“Chamomile consists of several ingredients including coumarin, glycoside, herniarin, flavonoid, farnesol, nerolidol and germacranolide. Despite the presence of coumarin, as chamomiles effect on the coagulation system has not yet been studied, it is unknown if a clinically significant drug-herb interaction exists with antiplatelet/anticoagulant drugs. However, until more information is available, it is not recommended to use these substances concurrently”. (Ibid.)
It is up to the patient to choose what approach he or she prefers, the synthetic toxic-effects approach or the synergistic holistic approach. Often, both approaches can’t be used at the same time.
People who are allergic to ragweed (also in the daisy family) may be allergic to chamomile due to cross-reactivity.
Concerning the Longevity study mentioned above, it is noteworthy that the men who drank chamomile tea were no less likely to die than men who didn’t. However, the researchers did note that only a small group of men drank chamomile, and they speculated that it may have been more of an occasional thing rather than a habit. The men also drank more alcohol and smoked more heavily and women tend to live longer anyway, for reasons we now know.
Even for women, the study doesn’t strongly prove that chamomile is the elixir of life because they may have introduced in their lifestyle other healthy factors. It’s also possible that Mexican-American women who regularly brewed and sipped té de camomila may simply have less stress in their lives. Also, not sure the researchers adjusted the data for socio-demographic variables (which have an effect on longevity), health behaviors and chronic conditions.
Given the results from other cohort studies on the health protective effects of consumption of black and green tea, (13) it is nonetheless plausible that camomile tea is at least in part responsible for this 28 percent boost in longevity among Hispanic women.
The dried flowers should be kept in a sealed air-tight container to retain more of the healthful volatile oils. To make one cup of tea, put a tablespoon of dried minced flowers into a teapot, teacup or mug. Pour boiling water over the herb, cover and steep for 15 minutes.
To get the volatile oils that are contained in chamomile’s active ingredients, it helps to keep the chamazulene-forming steam from escaping by placing a saucer over the cup and steeping the tea for the full 15 minutes (reheat as necessary).
Most herbalists recommend drinking a cup of chamomile tea three times a day to ease short-term bodily ills such as indigestion, while one cup a day will do for long-term benefits. (14)
Bathing in Chamomille
For a soothing ritual, adding organic chamomile to one’s next bath good be therapeutic. Soaking with Matricaria recutita flowers (a traditional skin revitalization treatment) as one sips a cup of well-steeped chamomile tea can be good if not very good medicine.
Common chamomille versus German chamomille
Most people refer to chamomile as the common or Roman variety – Chamaemelum nobile. This species is also considered English chamomile. Another species altogether is German chamomile – or Matricaria chamomilla. Both of these species are used in chamomile tea – but they are different plants with different therapeutic effects and indications.
To find out which type of chamomille tea is best suited for one’s needs, and with what other herbal teas, supplements and more in order to mazimize Chamomille’s healing effects and optimize longevity, consider scheduling a Consult with the Institute’s Tea & Longevity masters.
(1).“Chamomile”. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, US National Institutes of Health. September 2016. Retrieved 6 November 2018. McKay, D. L.; Blumberg, J. B. (2006). “A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita L.)”. Phytotherapy Research : Ptr. 20 (7): 519–30. doi:10.1002/ptr.1900. PMID 16628544.
(2) 28. Weiss RF. In: Herbal Medicine. Arcanum AB, editor. Beaconsfield, U.K: Beaconsfield publishers; 1988. pp. 22–28.
(3) 29. Rombi M. Cento Piante Medicinali. Bergamo, Italy: Nuovo Insttuto d’Arti Grafiche; 1993. pp. 63–65 Awang -Dennis VC. Taylor and Francis group. New York: CRC Press; 2006. The herbs of Choice: The therapeutic use of Phytomedicinals; p. 292.
(4). Martens D. Chamomile: the herb and the remedy. The Journal of the Chiropractic Academy of Homeopathy. 1995;6:15–18. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal medicine: A guide for health care professionals. Vol. 296. London: Pharmaceutical Press; p. 996.
(5). Forster HB, Niklas H, Lutz S. Antispasmodic effects of some medicinal plants. Planta Med. 1980;40:309–319. [PubMed]
(6) Crotteau CA, Wright ST, Eglash A. Clinical inquiries; what is the best treatment for infants with colic? J Fam Pract. 2006;55:634–636. [PubMed] Sakai H, Misawa M. Effect of sodium azulene sulfonate on capsaicin-induced pharyngitis in rats. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2005;96:54–55. [PubMed]
(7) Peña D, Montes de Oca N, Rojas S. Anti-inflammatory and anti-diarrheic activity of Isocarpha cubana Blake. Pharmacologyonline. 2006;3:744–749.
(8). To review why it is ethically necessary to break rules that lead to un-necessary suffering and premature deaths, see our sister Institute called holisticjustice.org
(9). Bret T. Howrey, PhD, is an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. His study was published in The Gerontologist. Date: June 30, 2015 Publication: Bottom Line Health The Gerontologist, Volume 56, Issue 6, 1 December 2016, Pages 1146–1152, https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnv051
(10). Riza E, Linos A, Petralias A, de Martinis L, Duntas L, Linos D. The effect of Greek herbal tea consumption on thyroid cancer: a case-control study. Eur J Public Health. 2015 Apr 4. pii: ckv063.
(11). Miller, LG (1998). “Herbal medicinals: selected clinical considerations focusing on known or potential drug-herb interactions” (PDF). Arch. Intern. Med. 158 (20): 220–2211. doi:10.1001/archinte.158.20.2200. PMID 9818800.
(13). Kris-Etherton & Keen, 2002; Kuriyama et al., 2006; Peters et al., 2001; Tsubono et al., 2001; Zheng et al., 1996.
(14). See also McKay, D. L.; Blumberg, J. B. (2006). “A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita L.)”. Phytotherapy Research : Ptr. 20 (7): 519–30. doi:10.1002/ptr.1900. PMID 16628544.