Chamomile Extract as a potential replacement for benzodiazepines in the treatment of anxiety and sleep disturbance.

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Presenting Author(s): Dr. Kevin W. Morin, B.Sc.(Pharm), MD, PhD, FRCP(C)

Date and time: 24 Mar 2018 from 13:30 to 13:50

Location: Hawthorn B  Floor Map

Learning Objectives:

  1. To learn about the evidence supporting the use of chamomile extract in clinical practice.
  2. To learn about emerging tools in Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) and new computational approaches to data analysis including machine learning.
  3. Learn about why decreasing benzodiazepine use in clinical practice is desirable and how chamomile extract may have a role where benzodiazepines have traditionally been used.


Literature Reference:

Flavonoid modulation of the GABA-A receptors. J.R. Hanrahan, M. Chebib, G.A.R. Johnson. British Journal of Pharmacology (2011)163, 234-245

A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial of Oral Matricaria Recutita (Chamomile) Extract Therapy of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. J.D. Amsterdam, Y. Li, I.Soeller, K. Rockwell, J.J. Mao and J. Shults. J Clin Psychopharmacol (2009) 24, 378-382



Recently, there has been considerable interest in decreasing the use of benzodiazepines and antipsychotics for treatment of anxiety and sleep problems. Quality improvement using natural products that are known to be safe is one approach to address some clinical challenges to changing prescribing practice.  It has been estimated that more than a million cups of chamomile tea are consumed nightly in North America. There has been some investigation into the pharmacological properties of the flavonoid, apigenin, thought to be most responsible for the anxiolytic and sleep-inducing properties of chamomile tea.1. A standardized formulation of German Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita) of 1.2% apigenin has demonstrated efficacy in a double blinded placebo-controlled clinical trial for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.2 Techamex® is a chamomile extract product containing 1.2% apigenin that is marketed over the counter in Canada with approval from Health Canada Natural Products Directorate for use indications of anxiety and as a sleep-aid. We present some evidence regarding the anxiolytic mechanism of Techamex® using frameless stereotactic image-guided neuronavigation for exact localization of electrode placement and pharmaco-EEG functional connectivity analysis with machine learning paradigms.3 We have observed significant treatment-induced pharmaco-EEG effects that differ significantly from previous pharmaco-EEG studies of benzodiazepines. The workshop will discuss these results and how the clinical use of chamomile extract for treating anxiety and sleep disturbances is particularly compelling when consideration is given to mechanisms of memory consolidation.

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