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Veterinarian Reviewed on January 9, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
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Matricaria is flowering plants belong to the sunflower family. These plants are commonly found in the moderate regions of Asia, America, and Europe. The southern and northern Africa, as well as in Australia have their own Matricaria plants. Native to North America is the species Matricaria occidentalis where they are introduced.

Matricaria is a robust, nicely aromatic annuals that grows along the roadside and in fallow area that is rich in nutrients. Although most people take these plants as nuisance weeds, they are perfect for herb and rock gardens, as well as border plants.

These plants have many-branched stems that are desperate to erect, glabrous, and have many leaves. The leaves contain number of lines, narrowly lobed leaflets. Their flowers are radiating and symmetrical. The capitula that are greenish-yellow are oblong. Its white ray florets may be present or lacking. The disc florets number from four to five dentate. The pappus is short and crown-shaped.

History and Origin

Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) originated from the ancient Greece and Rome. Its name is taken from the two Greek words “group apple” that means apple-like smell. The Egyptians considered it as cure from their sickness. Chamomile is widely documented medicinal plants.

Ancient Use

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is used in ancient Rome and Greece as medicinal plant. In ancient Egypt, they considered the plant as a sacred gift came from Ra (the sun god), and utilized the same to cure fever and sun stroke. It was used in the 6th century for the treatment of insomnia, neuralgia, back pain, rheumatism, indigestion, skin disorders, headaches, gout, and flatulence.

Modern Use

The tea prepared from chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is a superior herbal tea. Many people who have difficulty in sleeping are recommended to drink this tea. It is also useful in soothing indigestions and relaxing the gastro-intestinal tract. It is helpful in relaxing and soothing a weary mood, as well as relieving stress before bedtime.

Chamomile tea contains essential oil that helps our digestive system to function well. In addition, Chamomile is good for the skin. A cloth can be dipped directly into the tea and use it to wipe clean the skin.

The Matricaria recutita (German chamomile) extract is served as a strong tea. It is used as herbal medicine and an anti-inflammatory. Its other uses are lotions and ointments, and a mouthwash in order to avoid mouth and gums infections. The aromatherapy utilizes two kinds of essential oils of chamomile, these are the “true chamomile” (German chamomile from Matricaria recutita) oil, and Roman chamomile (from Anthemis nobilis) oil.

Side Effects

Allergic reactions may happen to any naturally sensitive individual. Although allergic reactions to Matricaria recutita (chamomile) are rare, the properties that may be responsible for allergies are attributed to matricarin and sesquiterpene lactones. People who are allergic to some members of the compositae family such as ragweed, chrysanthemums, and asters are also allergic to chamomile. Side effects include dyspnea, contact dermatitis, bronchitis, asthma, and rhino conjunctivitis. Drinking of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita) is not recommended to a person having an existing allergic condition in order not to aggravate the allergy.

Suggested Products

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Read also: Bupleurum

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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