German Chamomile – Farmacy Friday

German Chamomile, or “earth apple” in Greek, is a member of the daisy family and has a sweet, satisfying smell. While there is a Roman and German variety of this herb, German chamomile is the more potent variety and the type most often used for medicinal purposes. Historically, it has been used as a medicine since the time of Hippocrates (the father of medicine (500 BC)). Germans often refer to chamomile as alles zutraut, which means “capable of anything.” In fact, chamomile was considered such a “cure all” that one writer called it “the medical duct tape of the pre MacGyver days.” Therfore, it should be no surprise that the list of conditions it allegedly remedies is extensive. A contributing factor to its expansive use may be due to the more than 120 chemical constituents derived from chamomile’s essential oil and flower extracts, many of which are pharmacologically active (effective).

While chamomile may be best known as a sleep-aid, the biggest strength of this herb may be in its ability to reduce anxiety. Though not as widely researched, chamomile has also been used historically to reduce fevers and headaches; balance kidney, liver, and bladder issues; inhibit the bacteria that causes ulcers; reduce digestive upset, colic, and muscle spasms; heal bruises, sunburns, rashes, sores, and other skin irritations; lower blood sugar; reduce gingivitis; treat menstrual disorders/disorders of the female reproductive system; increase estrogen; kill viruses and bacteria; and lesson inflammatory conditions such as rheumatic pain and gout. Chamomile is also a naturally occurring anticoagulant (blood thinner).

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