Scientific: Matricaria recutita [WikiPedia]
Composition: The dried
flowers of the chamomile plant contain terpenoids and flavonoids, which
lend themselves to the plant’s medicinal properties.
Appearance: Chamomile is
characterised by its ½ to 1-inch flowers, each with a yellow disk
surrounded by ten to twenty white rays (petals).
Parts Used: Flowers
Common Uses: Chamomile has
been used an herbal remedy since ancient times. The dried flower head of
the chamomile plant contains beneficial medicinal properties, the major
Chamomile is commonly used in human herbal medicine
as a mild sedative, and as an antispasmodic to relieve menstrual cramps.
Both effects are contributed by one of its constituents, apigenin,
which is one of the more well studied active ingredients in plant
medicine. Apigenin acts similarly to aspirin by inhibiting production of
the chemical mediators of inflammation. It also dilates smooth muscle
to relieve cramping abdominal pain and is a mild sedative and anxiolytic
(anti-anxiety). Another active ingredient of chamomile is chamazulene,
which also acts like aspirin to inhibit production of the chemical
mediators of inflammation.
Because of these muscle-relaxing, anti-inflammatory
and anti-spasmodic properties, chamomile may provide relief in a variety
of common small animal disorders. It may be applied topically as a
concentrated tea to relieve skin inflammation, in keeping with the
results of a small double-blind study in 1987 where chamomile reduced
inflammation and accelerated healing of skin abrasions.
Chamomile can also be used as a sedative, especially
where anxiety leads to gastrointestinal disorders such as gas, pain,
and bloating. Chamomile has a reputed ability to soothe inflamed
intestinal surfaces just as it does the skin, leading to its use to heal
gastric ulcers. Indeed, one of the most common uses of chamomile in
small animal medicine is to soothe and heal irritated intestines in
inflammatory bowel disease.
Chamomile is often administered orally to dogs and
may be used topically in both dogs and cats. It is given orally to
relieve anxiety and to relieve inflammation in patients with
inflammatory bowel disease (which can have many causes). It may be used
alone or in combination with other western herbs such as mint, wild yam,
liquorice, and ginger. The relaxation and immune-boosting properties
may also aid with the following conditions, although different people
may experience different effects:
Alternatives and Adjuncts:
For irritable bowel, diarrhoea and other gastric disorders, combine with
plantain, slippery elm and marshmallow. For inflammatory urinary tract
application, combine with corn silk, plantain, white oak bark, couch
grass and marshmallow.
Topic Specific References:
PLEASE NOTE that herbal and
other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe
and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any
other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.
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