The hectic demands of life often leave us overwhelmed and too anxious to switch off. We miss out on deep sleep and relaxation when we need it most. Chamomile has long been a tried and trusted remedy for sleeplessness. A warm cup of soothing chamomile tea is not only a natural calming remedy, but can be safely used to treat other stress-related ailments.
It’s no surprise that Victoria Zak refers to chamomile as ‘The All-Around Comforter’, in her book, “20,000 Secrets of Tea”. Chamomile has been popular for centuries—the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians used the flowers for their healing properties. Modern scientific research confirms the amazing health, nutrition and cosmetic benefits of chamomile and its popularity as a modern day remedy continues to grow.
What is Chamomile?
Chamomile is a member of the daisy family Asteraceae, native in many countries throughout Europe, and cultivated in Germany, Egypt, Morocco and parts of Eastern Europe. The two commonly used species are German and Roman chamomile—their active ingredients and uses are similar.
The plant’s healing properties come from its flowers, which contain essential oils and flavonoids—particularly a compound called apigenin, also found in parsley.
Chamomile is commonly used to make herb infusions to serve various medicinal purposes both for adults and children. You can buy chamomile in the form of dried flowers, tea (infusion), liquid, tinctures or as a lotion.
A Surprisingly Popular Brew
Rob McCaleb, President of the Herb Research Foundation based in Colorado USA, estimates that over one million cups of chamomile tea are enjoyed worldwide every single day, making it one of the most widely consumed herbal teas!
Chamomile tea is naturally caffeine-free and very mild. Add two to three grams of the herb to a cup of water, and enjoy this calming brew three or four times a day. You can add a dash of honey but you might find the subtle taste, with just a hint of apple, pleasant enough.
What Are the Health Benefits of this Amazing Herb?
Calms and Relaxes
Both chamomile tea and oil have a calming effect and promote a general sense of well-being in cases of nervousness or anxiety.
In fact, studies on animals have shown that chamomile contains substances that act on the same parts of the brain and nervous system as anti-anxiety drugs. That said, it is not advisable to stop taking prescription medications without consulting your physician.
Chamomile’s mildly sedative and muscle-relaxing effects may help those who suffer from insomnia to fall asleep more easily. A study published in the May 2005 edition of the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin showed that chamomile reduces the time it takes to fall asleep. Try drinking a cup about an hour before bedtime.
Aids Digestive Problems
Coumarin is a naturally occurring active ingredient which gives chamomile its anti-inflammatory properties. Sometimes called a “herbal aspirin”, chamomile helps to soothe spasms that occur in the muscles lining the stomach and intestines. It is recommended in the treatment of gastrointestinal complaints such as:
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (such as Crohn’s disease)
- Nausea, heartburn, and stress-related flatulence
- Menstrual cramping
Chamomile flower is a common ingredient in skincare because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. The oil has a delicate, sweet and fruity scent.
It can be applied to the skin, used as a lotion or even added to a bath. Try it and experience its healing power for yourself:
- Soothes redness, irritation and itchiness
- Soothes skin rashes, minor burns and sunburn
- Speeds up the healing of skin ulcers and wounds
Fights infection and inflammation
Cooled chamomile tea is an exceptionally versatile remedy:
- Use as a compress to soothe tired, irritated eyes
- Clean and protect wounds from infections
- Use as a mouthwash to heal mouth sores or a dental abscess
- Use it as a vapor to alleviate cold symptoms or asthma
Essential oils are generally safe, however we advise you consult your physician before use if:
- You suffer from allergies to plants such as daisies, ragweed and chrysanthemums
- You are pregnant or nursing; the US National Institute of Health recommends avoiding chamomile
- You use blood thinners, due to the presence of coumarin in chamomile
Nature’s Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory and Anti-bacterial Remedy
With heaps of health benefits and almost no side effects, chamomile is a timeless go-to remedy for almost every ailment in the body, from indigestion to insomnia and dry skin. Brew a cup of chamomile tea, add a few drops of oil to a diffuser, pillow or bath, or mix in with your favorite massage oil to ease away tension and promote a sense of calm. Just what you need to cope with the challenges of modern life!