NATURE’S MEDICINE: Chamomile—calming and healingAs bacteria become more resistant to existing drugs, it becomes more difficult to find an effective way to kill the bacteria. So, people are increasingly looking to herbal medicines to cure these diseases.

For a high school science project I chose to research the plant, chamomile, and how well it kills the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus. The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus is responsible for various infections that can cause skin conditions and lead to inflammation.

Over the span of five months I was able to conduct my experiment at a local hospital. To measure the results of the experiment I counted how many colonies of Staphylococcus aureus formed after treated with chamomile, and compared this to how many colonies formed without the treatment of chamomile.

I found that chamomile did have some effect on the StaphylococStaphylococcus aureususcus aureus samples that had were injected with it. They had less colonies then the ones that were left untreated.

Though it’s hard to judge the effectiveness of the treatment with just a few trials, it has been shown in other studies that chamomile is effective as an antibiotic.

Chamomile is a plant that’s widely used in Europe and Asia for various complaints, such as migraines, indigestion, anxiety, insomnia, gingivitis, and eye irritations. It’s used in many forms, including tea (insomnia), ointment (skin conditions) or infusion into bathwater (soothe sunburn).

Many studies have been and are still being done on the effectiveness of herbal medicines to treat illnesses, and the use of herbal remedies is growing in popularity worldwide.

In Germany, herbal remedies are dispensed by pharmacies and prescription drugs are sold alongside essential oils, herbal extracts, unguents, powders and pills. Herbal remedies are often preferred to the industrially produced pharmaceutical compounds.

Herbal remedies are so widely used in India that their federal government has created a separate department, AYUSH, under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and in 2000 established The National Medicinal Plants Board to deal with the herbal medical system.

Although scientists are constantly developing new drugs to treat illnesses, herbal medicines will always remain one of the most widely used treatments for non-industrialized societies. And, as people are losing trust in pharmaceuticals being prescribed by the compromised medical profession in industrialized nations, more are looking to nature to treat whatever ails them.

by Navreen Kaur