Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is commonly known as German chamomile, or Wild chamomile. Not to be confused with Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Matricaria is derived from mater meaning mother-caring. Recutita means skinned, circumcised (appearance of the central flower head when the ray florets are reflexed back).
Chamomile is sometimes called mother of the gut because her qualities promote a healthy digestion and help ease many minor digestive upsets. Chamomile flowers are recognised as a nervine relaxant, helping to calm an overstimulated nervous system and relieve anxiety, tension and spasm. Chamomile flowers have a gentle cooling and soothing effect on the intestine, and on the skin, and can help heal minor irritations.
Parts Used - flowers (ideally gathered just after the ray florets have reflexed)
Constituents - Volatile oil – contains alpha-bisabolol, chamazulene, bisabolol oxides. (NB: The chamazulene is formed from matricine on heating so that it is not present in non-heated preparations; however it is likely that matricine can be converted to chamazulene in the gut by gastric acid, this has been demonstrated in rats). Flavonoids – apigenin; coumarins; phenolic acids; mucilage; GABA.
Chamomile helps calm the nerves, support the digestion and soothe the skin. Use Chamomile to help animals with digestive upsets or skin problems, especially when associated with emotional upset or psychological stress. Chamomile can be added to the food to benefit an animal’s digestion, skin and nervous system, and used topically to benefit the skin. Topical application of chamomile cream was shown to have 70% of the activity of hydrocortisone ointment, another test showed a superior effect to 1% hydrocortisone ointment. Chamomile oil has shown antimicrobial activity against Staph. aureus, and Candida albicans amongst others. There appears to be a synergistic effect of various chamomile components combining to produce antimicrobial effects. Alpha-bisabolol promotes granulation tissue and tissue regeneration.
- Digestion - Poor Appetite; Diarrhoea; Constipation; Vomiting; Travel Sickness; Colic; Worms; Bad Breath; Liver
- Skin & Coat - Cuts & Scrapes; Itchy Skin; Dry Skin
- Behaviour - Nervous; Depressed; Aggressive; Restless; Obsessive; Immunity
Dosage – Topically as needed.
Safety - Safety: Chamomile is generally considered a very safe herb for animals. Take care in cats due to coumarin content. There are rare cases of sensitivity to this plant causing a contact allergy.
German chamomile Matricaria recutita is a delicate looking annual herb with ferny foliage and small white daisy flowers with yellow center. Roots penetrate only flatly into the soil and the plant grows up to a height of 80cm. Chamomile likes sun but will also tolerate light shade for part of
the day, especially in Cape Town areas of high wind and very sandy soil. As a member of the daisy family Asteraceae, Chamomile is hardier than she looks and can grow on a range of soils.