Brittany Kothari and Teresa DeGolier
Modern medical practices for labor induction demonstrate success yet sometimes cause unwanted side effects for mothers and infants. Some individuals have turned to herbal remedies to induce labor, replacing current medical practices, such as Pitocin administration. One remedy, German chamomile, Matricaria chamomilla, is noted to induce contractions as an oral capsule in vivo and hydro-alcoholic extract in vitro. However, one of its constituents, α-bisabolol, has been associated with relaxation of smooth muscle tissue in vitro. The primary goal of this project was to determine whether or not M. chamomilla would contract the isolated uterine horns of mice, and if the contractions were concentration-dependent. Results showed that concentrations of M. chamomilla (0.07-1.16 mg/mL) produced contractile forces equivalent to 75% of the tissue’s contractile response to the positive control (oxytocin 10-5 M). Additionally, M. chamomilla produced contractile forces almost 2.5 times greater than the tissues’ own spontaneous motility (p<0.0001). These outcomes show M. chamomilla may augment labor, however, further research is required before it can be utilized with confidence in labor.
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