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July 24, 1972

Herb Drinks: Camomile Tea

JAMA. 1972;221(4):410. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200170054024

To the Editor.—  The question asked in The Journal (219:626, 1972), "Do herb drinks have less effect on the nervous system than coffee or tea?" received, for the most part, a cursory answer. We would like to point out, especially as regards the biological activity of camomile tea (Matricaria chamomilla), that from readily accessible literature, M chamomilla contains chamazulene, which has been shown to have antiallergenic as well as anti-inflammatory properties.1 Further, an en-yn-dicycloether isolated from M chamomilla, has also been shown to elicit anti-inflammatory, anti-anaphylactic, spasmolytic, and bacteriostatic activity.2 Apigenin-7-D-glucoside has also been shown to contribute to the spasmolytic activity of chamomile preparations.3The pure substances mentioned above probably would not exert a significant biological effect at concentrations obtained in a normal human dose of a camomile tea. However, such teas are usually used by the laity over a long period of time, during which a