Monday, 24 April 2017

6 Health Benefits and Uses of Chamomile


Researchers assessed the antimicrobial activity of an extract of German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria recutita) against the fungus Candida albicans and the bacterium Enterococcus faecalisC. albicans is the cause of a common fungal infection that is often referred to as a yeast infection while E. faecalis is an antibiotic-resistant and often life-threatening infection that sometimes inhabits root-canal-treated teeth. According to the study, a high potency extract of chamomile was highly effective at killing both of these microbes.


A study in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry found that a mouthwash made of German chamomile was effective at treating mouth ulcerations and the associated pain, without any side effects. 


Chamomile has a lengthy history of use by herbalists in the treatment of skin conditions like chicken pox rash, diaper rash, eczema and psoriasis. For these purposes it is usually added to a bath or applied to the skin as an infusion or alcohol extract. Keep in mind, however, that the alcohol extracts can be drying to the skin.


In a new animal study published in the medical journal General Physiology and Biophysics, researchers found that a decoction of German chamomile protected the livers of animals against the damaging effects of alcohol, suggesting the potential for liver protection for humans as well. Further research is needed, but considering that chamomile is a valuable healer with almost no side effects, it may be worth a try.


A study published in the Journal of Natural Products assessed the purported anti-inflammatory properties of Roman chamomile. Researchers found that it contains at least one anti-inflammatory compound and can even be beneficial in treating metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms that includes high blood sugar and cholesterol as well as abdominal fat.


Additional research in the journal Food Chemistry found that Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) had both antioxidant and anti-tumor properties. It also found that an infusion of chamomile had significantly greater antioxidant and anti-tumor effects than a decoction or extract.
Using Chamomile
When using chamomile, make sure you choose the correct species for the condition you have (Roman or German, which are indicated above). Avoid using chamomile if you have an allergy to ragweed. Also, the drug warfarin negatively interacts with chamomile so it is best to avoid using both at the same time. Other blood thinners may also interact with chamomile, so it is best not to use both at the same time.


Brew a chamomile infusion by adding one teaspoon of dried herb per cup of boiled water and let steep for at least 10 minutes. Drink one cup, 3 times daily for best results.


Follow package instructions for the tincture (alcohol extract) you choose. A typical dose is 30 drops three times daily.


Use one cup of chamomile tea as a mouthwash, 2 to 3 times daily. Store the tea in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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