Dec 2004 | Volume 1| Issue 12

Chamomilla…Peevish Child

Dr. Daxa V. Vaishnav



Dr. (Mrs.) Daxa V. Vaishnav is an Asst. Professor and Physician at Smt. CMP Homeopathic Medical College, Mumbai, India. She is serving as Head of the Department in Gynaecology and Obstetrics Therapeutics, She had presented many scientific papers in India and abroad. She had conducted workshops in London, Portland and Oregon.Her lecture on “The Homoeopathic Management of Emergencies” is very popular

Matricaria chamomilla is a plant that belongs to the Compositae family. It therefore shares a botanical relationship with other drugs of the same family like Arnica. The whole plant is used to prepare the tincture. Matricaria chamomilla (Chamomile- chamois, earth; melon, apple, so called from the apple-like smell of the flower.)

We have found this drug very useful in complaints of newborn children and during dentition. It is also a very important drug for the ailments of women (especially with light or brown hair) during menses and pregnancy. Coffee and narcotic addicts have also benefited by the use of this drug.
An excellent name for Chamomilla is “Cannot bear it”.


“Can’t bear himself.”
“Can’t bear other people.”
“Can’t bear pain” (Coffea, Acon.).
“Can’t bear things: wants them, and hurls them away.Everything is simply intolerable.

This is because of its action on the mind and emotions and on the nerves- both sensory and abdominal. The nerves are in a state of irritation and this causes hypersensitivity and hyperaesthesia. This makes the pains unbearable he is driven to frenzy and is mad from the pains and hence the mental symptoms of the drug. (Children are extremely crossed, irritable and whining. Older patients requiring Chamomilla are peevish and impatient and extremely sensitive to pain, so that they speak of the slightest twinge as unbearable.)

(“The fact,” says Dunham, “that Chamomile exalts the general susceptibility, causing pains to be felt very keenly, so that a pain which might be supposed to be only moderately severe is, to the patient, intolerable,” furnishes us with the most characteristic symptom and the keynote for the use of the remedy.) Pains are associated with numbness, fainting or profuse sweating.

Chamomilla is therefore known as the homoeopathic Morphine.

There is an acuteness of the senses esp. to NOISE, which they cannot tolerate.

Chamomilla also acts on the motor nerves and on the nerves of the abdomen (Belladonna acts on the cranial nerves). There is a colicky pain in the abdomen rising upwards- cutting, griping wind colic, and the abdomen is distended like a drum. Colic with irritability- screams the place down.

Its effect on the motor nerves causes spasms, jerks, twitches and convulsions. During convulsions, they become stiff, roll the eyes, distort the face, clench the thumbs and bend the body backwards.

Its action on the mucous membranes of the digestive tract causes gastralgia of coffee drinkers. They may also suffer from colic with green diarrhoea. The stools are grassy green, sour, corroding and hot. They look like chopped eggs or chopped spinach and are very offensive- smell like sulphuretted hydrogen (rotten eggs).

Another important sphere of action of Chamomilla is the liver, which is inflamed and the patient may get jaundice.

The most important causation in Chamomilla is undoubtedly an emotional cause. The symptoms appear as a result of ANGER, MORTIFICATION or CHAGRIN. Anger causes colic, diarrhoea, jaundice, twitches and convulsions and we have often seen Chamomilla useful for convulsions in infants after anger in the mother. At this point I want to ask- what is the difference between mortification, vexation and chagrin? We as homoeopaths often read certain words in our Materia Medica and because our mother tongue is not English we do not understand their correct meaning and hence apply them incorrectly in our practice as well as the understanding of the drug. The dictionary meanings of these words are as follows:


Mortification : Humiliation, wounded feelings
Vexation      : Anger by slight or petty annoyance
Chagrin       : Acute disappointment

The other causative factors of Chamomilla are DENTITION and abuse of coffee, narcotics, and tobacco. (Hering says: “As long ago as 1830, I gave Chamomilla in cases spoiled by the use of opium or morphine, at least as an intercurrent before giving other remedies, and mostly with brilliant results.”)

Most of the complaints are < ANGER, NIGHT (upto midnight), 9 am / 9 pm. (It is useful to know the time modalities of our drugs so let us see what are the drugs for < at various times of the day:

Midnight: Ars alb; 1-2 am: Ars alb; 2-4 am: Kali c; 3 am: Kali c, Thuja, Ammon carb, Ant. Tart; Daybreak: Nux vom; 9am: Chamomilla; 10 am: Nat mur; 11 am: Sulph, Midday (11am- 1 pm): Ars alb; 3 pm: Bell, Apis; 4-8 pm: Lyco; Twilight: Puls;


9 pm: Bry, Cham; Sunset- sunrise: Aur met, Syph)

Chamomilla is also < DENTITION, COFFEE, Narcotics, Taking cold, Cold damp and cold air, Heat (to teeth)

There is an > of the complaints from BEING CARRIED, Sweating, Heat, and Passive motion.

The mental symptoms of this remedy point to its use in practice. The mental symptoms appear due to ANGER, PAIN and in infants- TEETHING. They are known to be UGLY, CROSS and IRRITABLE. They are QUARRELSOME and are vexed at every trifle. They are snappish and cannot return a civil answer.

They have an aversion to being spoken to or touched. They are extremely OVERSENSITIVE to people and especially to PAIN with great irritability and crossness. They go mad with the pain and there is a frenzy of rage. This is often seen as a bad temper (Nux vom has a malicious temper) < before and during menses (Nux vom- but Nux is conscious of it).

Dr. Tyrell once said, “When the husband complains of the wife’s cross and irritable nature, and he can’t get along with her, give him a dose of Chamomilla.”

Chamomilla is one of the “out-of-proportions” drugs. Ars has prostration out of proportion with the illness, and Chamomilla has pain out of proportion (such as pains of labour- toothache-rheumatism, etc.). There is no consideration for the feelings of others. If you go to visit the patient at his home or in the wards, you should not be surprised or feel offended if the Chamomilla patient says, “Doctor, I don’t want you, GET OUT”. Or if you ask him what ails him, he is most likely to snap at you, “How the hell am I to know that? That’s for you to find out.”

This state of anger and irritability will persist and he becomes excitable as the day goes on with the peak at 9 pm. Then at the stroke of the midnight hour, he suddenly calms down and there is no trace of the mental storm that had been brewing throughout the day.
In infants and young children we find that in addition to the above mental state, the child whines and sputters about everything. He is RESTLESS- goes from one person to another; the mother, the nurse, the father and so on, but each time dissatisfied with that person and is liable to strike as it leaves him. The key to handling a Chamomilla child is to jog it about. As soon as you lift him and carry him about, he feels happy; stop doing that and he will pull your hair or punch you in the eye or kick you in the abdomen!
The child asks for many things but immediately refuses it when it is given.

The child does not seem to know what it wants but the doctor knows- it wants Chamomilla!
Chamomilla is one of Clarke’s “Nursery A.B.C. drugs”-Acon, Bell, Cham. Aconite is turmoil in circulation. Belladonna is turmoil in brain. Chamomilla is turmoil in temper. The child is capricious- wants something new every minute but when offered refuses it and throws it away in irritation (Bry, Staph, Kreos, Cina).

It is always important to keep in mind the fact that MENTAL CALMNESS CONTRAINDICATES CHAMOMILLA.

I want to share with you the physical symptoms of Chamomilla where I have seen good results. When treating the earaches in children, three drugs will stand out- Allium cepa, Pulsatilla and Chamomilla. In Allium cepa, it will be an accompanying symptom of the acute coryza and the characteristic nasal discharge will guide you to it. The Pulsatilla child with an earache will be very mild, yielding and tearful. She wants her mother to hold her and comfort her and she is relieved from sympathy and consolation. The Chamomilla child is always hot and thirsty, has a red flushed face with one cheek red and hot and the other pale. He is restless and irritable due to the pain and becomes extremely ugly and cross. You generally end up petting and comforting the Pulsatilla child but you feel like thrashing the Chamomilla child!

The Chamomilla ear troubles are due to exposure to cold air. There is a sensation of heat and fullness with a sense of obstruction. The child must cover the ears and often there is the tell tale red and hot cheek that points to this remedy. It has been of great value to me in the treatment of disease of women. The menses are of clotted dark blood. There are copious black clots and violent irregular pains tearing down the thighs. Sometimes there is a constant oozing of dark blood, with occasional gushes of bright blood. (Here one should remember Mag carb which has similar menstrual symptoms and is the mineral analogue of Chamomilla. Platina is also similar in the menses and like Chamomilla has hypersensitivity to touch. She is so sensitive that even the touch of the napkin may bring on a convulsion.)

Chamomilla is also a remedy for membranous dysmenorrhoea. The menstrual colic is < from anger. During labour, you can always recognize the Chamomilla patient. The pains are unbearable and she magnifies them. They are spasmodic, press upwards or go down the inner side of the thighs. Sometimes the pains are felt in wrong places, clutching here and there (due to irregular uterine contractions). The labour cannot progress due to a rigid os.

I have often prescribed Chamomilla to my patient in labour when she curses the nurses and the ayah. Or, with every pain, she screams and uses abusive language for her mother-in-law or her husband. One patient was so angry due to the pains that she kicked out at the nurse during labour. If the patient is intolerant of the pain and quarrels with the doctor and insists on a Caesarean section, I would be tempted to give her Chamomilla.

The after pains are also quite distressing to the patient. The lochia is too profuse or suppressed. There are violent cramps in the uterus every time the child is put to the breast. The nipples are inflamed and tender to touch.
There are some other peculiar symptoms of Chamomilla that need our attention:

Toothache < warm drinks (Bry, Coffea, Puls)

Cough in children at night during sleep. Irritating cough at night but does not wake up the child (Verbascum, Tub, Lachesis).

Burning of feet at night, must keep them out of bed.

Feels that she is walking on the ends of her legs, as if she had no feet.

Ankles turn in easily, especially in the afternoon.

I have found Chamomilla not just a drug for children and infants during teething, but also for adults and especially women in my practice.

Dr. Daxa V. Vaishnav
Asst. Professor and Head
Dept. of Gyn. & Obst.
Smt. CMP Homoeopathic Medical College