Roman chamomile

Chamomile is one of the most popular herbs in the Western world. There are two plants known as chamomile: the more popular German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman, or English, chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Although they belong to different species, they are used to treat the same health problems. Both are used to calm frayed nerves, to treat stomach problems, to relieve muscle spasms, and to treat skin conditions and mild infections.

Many people drink chamomile tea. Chamomile can also be found in face creams, drinks, hair dyes, shampoos, and perfumes.

Most research on chamomile has been done with German chamomile. It has similar active ingredients, but they are not exactly the same.

Traditionally, Roman chamomile has been used to treat nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and gas. It is often used today to relieve anxiety. Used on the skin, it may also reduce inflammation from cuts or hemorrhoids. It is sometimes used to ease the discomfort from eczema and gingivitis (swollen gums).

Although chamomile is popular, there are not many studies about it. Test tube studies have shown that chamomile can kill bacteria, fungus, and viruses. It also helps relax muscle contractions, particularly in the smooth muscles that make up the intestines.

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Review Date: 3/25/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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