Matricaria chamomilla L. from Asteraceae commonly is known as German chamomile and it is used in folk medicine and various herbal remedies for centuries. The drug is obtained from the dried flower heads and is used for the preparation of herbal teas, while their infusions and essential oils have aromatic, flavoring and coloring properties. Approximately 120 bioactive constituents have been identiﬁed in chamomile, including 28 terpenoids and 36 ﬂavonoids. Chamomile contains some terpenoids like α-bisabolol, chamazulene and acetylene derivatives etc. A plethora of biological activities has been described for chamomile extracts and essential oils i.e. anti-inflammatory, antiulcerogenic, against gastrointestinal disorders, antispasmodic, wound healing etc. In addition, chamomile in the form of an aqueous extract has been frequently used as a mild agent to sedate agitation, anxiety, and sleep-related problems.
Poor sleep quality is one the main characteristics of chronic insomnia and a common health problem among elderly people. Any sleep pattern disturbances can directly or indirectly affect physical and psychological health. Thus, sleep assessment and sleep quality improvement, particularly among elderly people, are among the most important care\ measures. Studies show that the prevalence of sleep disturbances increases with age. The most common sleep disturbances that affect elderly people are dyssomnia and insomnia. Due to the side effects of sleep medications, special attention has been given to traditional and herbal therapies in recent years. Chamomile is one of the medicinal plants which are used in Iranian Traditional Medicine as hypnotic and tranquilizer.
In this regard, an experiment was conducted to evaluate the eﬀects of chamomile extract on sleep quality among elderly people. A convenient sample of sixty elderly people who aged sixty or more were randomly allocated to a control and a treatment group. The treatment group received chamomile extract capsules (200 mg) twice a day for 28 consecutive days while the control group received wheat ﬂour capsules (200 mg) in the same manner. After the intervention, sleep quality in the treatment group was signiﬁcantly better than the control group (P < 0.05). The chamomile extract can signiﬁcantly improve sleep quality among elderly people. Thus, it can be used as a safe modality for promoting elderly people’s sleep.