Camomile, a member of the daily family, is one of the longest-used medicinal herbs known. Camomile, which has a pleasant fragrance and mild flavor, is most commonly consumed as a tea, though capsules and tinctures are also available. Some research supports the use of camomile for relief of muscle cramps. Check with your doctor before using camomile to treat a medical condition.
If menstrual cramps are what you seek to relieve, give camomile a try, says Maureen Miller Pelletier, co-author of the book "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Menopause." This pleasant, soothing herb has gentle sedative properties and relaxes smooth muscle, such as the muscle that lines the wall of your uterus. Camomile is easy to consume as a tea brewed from the dried flowers of the camomile plant. Chamomile is a member of the daisy family and can cause allergic hay fever-like reactions in susceptible people.
Researchers at the Department of Urology & Nutrition, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio include muscle spasms in a list of ailments that respond well to treatment with camomile. Flavonoid antioxidants and terpenoid compounds -- precursors to steroids -- in the dried flowers are responsible for camomile's medicinal effects. Other conditions for which camomile has been used include hay fever, inflammation, menstrual disorders, digestive disorders and arthritic pain. The study was published in the November 2010 issue of the journal "Molecular Medicine Reports."
Camomile tea is good for reducing inflammation and muscle spasms, according to researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. Camomile also relieves anxiety and may fend off bacterial and viral infections, all of which can result in less muscle tension. Researchers of the study, published in the July 2006 issue of the journal "Phytotherapy Research," note that human studies on the sedative effects of camomile are lacking.
A constituent of camomile essential oil has similar properties to a compound found in poppies called papaverine that relieves muscle spasms in the intestinal tract and in blood vessels, according to Gail Mahady, co-author of the book, "Botanical Dietary Supplements: Quality, Safety and Efficacy." Chamomile has been shown to reduce the occurrence of stress-induced ulcers. Chamomile inhibits inflammation in a similar manner to anti-inflammatory drugs known as COX inhibitors, but without harmful side effects. Mahady recommends doses of 2 to 8 g for adults and 2 g for children prepared as a tea and taken three times per day.
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Menopause by Maureen Miller Pelletier, Deborah S. Romaine
- Chamomile: a Herbal Medicine of the Past with Bright Future. Srivastava Jk,
- A Review of the Bioactivity and Potential Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea (Matricaria Recutita L.). Mckay Dl,
- "Botanical Dietary Supplements: Quality, Safety and Efficacy."