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19. Matricaria recutita

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Lec.No. 15.

Selected Medicinal Plants
19-. Matricaria recutita

Syn Chamomilla recutita


German Chamomile



  • German chamomile's aromatic, slightly bitter taste is familiar to herbal tea drinkers.

  • The herb's varied medicinal uses, however, are not as well known.

  • It is an excellent herb for many digestive disorders and for nervous tension and irritability.

  • Externally, it is used for sore skin and eczema.

Plant Descriptions:

  • A sweetly aromatic annual growing to 60 cm.

  • With finely cut leaves and white flower heads.

Habitat and Cultivation:

  • German chamomile grows in much of Europe and other temperate regions.

  • Flower heads are picked in full bloom, in summer.

Parts used: fresh and dries flower head

-They should be picked on the day they open, when the active constituents are at their strongest

Active Constituents:

      • Volatile oil (proazulenes, farnesine, alpha-bisabolol, spiroether).

      • Flavonoids (anthemidin, luteolin, rutin)

      • Bitter glycosides (anthemic acid)

      • Coumarins

      • Tannins

Key Actions

          • Anti-inflammatory

          • Antiallergenic

          • Antispasmodic

          • Relaxant

          • Carminative

          • Mild bitter

Traditional and Current Uses:

  • Digestive problems:

-German chamomile has been taken for digestive problems since at least the 1st century AD.

-Gentle and efficacious, it is very suitable for children.

-The herb is valuable for pain, indigestion, acidity, gas, gastritis, bloating, and colic.

-It is also used for hiatus hernia (فتق الحجاب الحاجز), peptic ulcer, and irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Tension:

-German chamomile, which contains spiroether, a strong antispasmodic, eases tense muscles and menstrual pain.

-It also relieves irritability and helps sleep, especially in children.

  • Irritation:

-German chamomile is useful for hay fever and asthma.

-The proazulenes (volatile oil) produce chamazulene on steam distillation, which is anti-allergenic.

-Externally, it can be applied to itchy skin, eczema, and sore nipples.

-This herb also relieves eyestrain (حسور العين).


  • Trials in Germany:

-A cream made from German chamomile was tested in 1987 for its ability to heal wounds and produced very positive results.

-In 1993, a trial using German chamomile and 4 other herbs showed them to be most effective at easing infantile colic.

Related Species: Matricaria aurea Golden Chamomile بابونج بلدي
20 – Mentha x piperita

Family Lamiaceae (Labiatae)

Peppermint النعناع الفلفلي


  • Dried leaves of peppermint were found in Egyptian pyramids dating from about 1000 BC.

  • It was highly valued by the Greeks and Romans but only became popular in Western Europe in the 18th century.

  • Peppermint's chief therapeutic value lies in its ability to relieve gas, flatulence, bloating, and colic, although it has many other applications.

Plant Description

  • A strongly aromatic, square-stemmed annual, growing to 80 cm, with serrated leaves.

Habitat & Cultivation:`

  • Peppermint is grown commercially and in gardens throughout Europe, Asia, and North America.

  • Peppermint harvested just before it flowers in summer, in dry sunny weather.

Active Constituents:

  • Volatile oil (up to 1.5%), including:

    • Menthol (35—55%).

    • Menthone (10-40%).

      • Flavonoids (luteolin, menthoside)

      • Phenolic acids

      • Triterpenes.

Parts used: fresh or dries aerial parts.

Key Actions:

          • Carminative

          • Relieves muscle spasms

          • Increases sweating

          • Stimulates secretion of bile

          • Antiseptic

Traditional and Current Uses:

  • Digestive problems:

-Peppermint is excellent for the digestive system, increasing the flow of digestive juices and bile and relaxing the muscles of the gut.

-It reduces colic, cramps, and gas, and helps to soothe an irritated bowel.

-In soothing the lining and muscles of the colon, it helps diarrhea and relieves a spastic (مشلول) colon (often the cause of constipation).

      • Pain relief:

-Applied to the skin, peppermint relieves pain and reduces sensitivity.

-It also relieves headaches and migraines linked to digestive weakness.

          • Infection:

-Diluted oil is used as an inhalant (مستنشق) and chest rub for respiratory infections.

-The whole herb is important for digestive infections.


  • Volatile oil:

-Research has shown that the volatile oil is strongly antibacterial.

-Menthol (a constituent of the oil) is antiseptic, antifungal, cooling, and anesthetic to the skin, although it is also an irritant.

      • Whole herb

-The whole plant has an antispasmodic effect on the digestive system.

-Clinical trials in Denmark and Britain during the 1990s have confirmed its value in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.

Remedy for gas bloating:

Make an infusion, and drink up to 5 cups a day

21-Nigella sativa

Family Ranunculaceae

Black Cumin قزحه

Plant Description:

  • Annual herb growing to 30 cm.

  • Has an upright branching stem, fine deeply cut leaves, gray-blue flowers, and toothed seed pods.

Habitat & Cultivation:

  • Native to western Asia.

  • Black cumin is grown throughout much of Asia and the Mediterranean region for its seeds and as a garden plant.

  • The seeds are gathered once they are ripe.

Parts used: seeds.

Active Constituents:

  • The seeds contain:

-40% fixed oil.

-Saponin (melantin)

-Up to 1.4% volatile oil.

History and Folklore:

  • Black cumin was found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, but its role in ancient Egypt, medicinal or otherwise, is unknown.

  • Dioscorides recorded that black cumin seeds were taken to treat:

    • Headaches,

    • nasal congestion احتقان

    • toothache,

    • intestinal worms,

      • And, in large quantities, as a diuretic, a promoter of menstruation, and to increase breast-milk production.

      • In our country it is used to treat heart diseases, blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia and sexual weakness, lactation deficiency, general weakness, common cold, inflammation and skin diseases.

Medicinal Action & Uses:

  • Like many culinary herbs, black cumin seeds benefit the digestive system, soothing stomach pain and and easing gas and colic.

  • The seeds are also antiseptic and are used to treat intestinal worms, especially in children.

  • The seeds are much used in India to increase breast milk.

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