Some herbs are very humble. They have been around so long and used so commonly that we forget they are medicine. Chamomile is one of those herbs. It can be found in countless herbal pleasure teas at the grocery store and growing wildly all-around. It can be used dried, fresh, infused in oil or water and distilled as a essential oil. Used topically or internally is it generally considered very safe. A recent study used Chamomile topically, as an infused oil, to treat carpel tunnel syndrome. The researchers, in a similar study, also looked at topical chamomile infused oil for knee osteoarthritis. It was found in both studies to be helpful and improved symptomatic and functional status of the patients and decreased the need for pain medication. The infused oil was prepared in the traditional Persian method by boiling aqueous extract of chamomile in sesame oil and further concentrated by vaporization. The preparation included both essential oils (chamazulene and bisabolol oxide) and polyphenols (a flavonoid such as apigenin and its derivatives). Because they used sesame oil as the vehicle for the active constituents of the chamomile flower, they cannot attribute the results solely to the chamomile.
In Western Herbal Medicine Chamomile is utilized more for stress, anxiety, insomnia and to increase digestion through its bitter principles. It is also used topically in balms and salves primarily for skin irritations, rashes and swellings. Balms would contain the infused oil or essential oil or both. Uncommonly, it is used for arthritis alone and may be part of a larger herbal topical formula but it is not thought of as a strong topical anti-inflammatory for musculo-skeletal issues.
Efficacy and safety of topical Matricaria chamomilla L. (chamomile) oil for knee osteoarthritis: A randomized controlled clinical trial.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. (using Traditionally prepared Persian Chamomile oil)