You may already know that a cup of chamomile tea can be a great anxiety soother, but did you know the herb can also be used to ease the symptoms of teething pain, indigestion, and can help heal wounds faster? Chamomile is an herb that’s been used for hundreds of years as a natural remedy for many different ailments.
Coming from a plant in the daisy family, chamomile can be used fresh or dry to create chamomile tea—its most popular form—or it can be taken in capsule or tincture forms, as well as in balms. The active ingredient in chamomile is known as bisabolol, and has been shown to have various anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Research has identified chamomile's specific anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-allergenic and sedative properties, validating its long-held reputation. Some of the most popular uses of chamomile are listed below.
Warning: Chamomile can cause serious allergic reactions (including anaphylaxis) in some people. If you are allergic to other plants in the same family such as daisy, ragweed, aster, chrysanthemum, or marigold you should use caution when using chamomile.
Chamomile should be avoided during pregnancy and by people with bleeding disorders or on blood thinners.
1. Sleep Aid and Anxiety Soother
Chamomile has a gentle, calming effect on the central nervous system. It contains substances that act on the same parts of the brain and nervous system as anti-anxiety drugs. It can relieve anxiety and day-to-day stress that affects our lives, as well as support a healthy night’s sleep. Sipping on chamomile tea throughout the day is a great way to keep anxiety at bay.
Because many headaches are caused by anxiety and tension, incorporating chamomile into your daily diet can help reduce the occurence of migraines and tension headaches. The powerful herb has mildly sedating and muscle relaxing properties making it a great choice to turn to for help with insomnia.
2. Muscle Relaxant
One of the top uses of chamomile is for muscle relaxation. Your local health food or supplement store may have it in the form of a balm that can be rubbed directly onto sore muscles. Otherwise, drink two to three cups of chamomile tea per day keep muscles relaxed. Chamomile can also calm the muscle spasms caused by menstrual cramps.
3. Stomach Soother
Chamomile is helpful for a variety of stomach problems. It soothes stomachaches, eases the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, stomach and bowel inflammation, and constipation. It also assists in overall digestion. It can promote proper functioning of the stomach, improve digestion and also dispel gas. Chamomile is often partnered with peppermint making a great combination to help ease stomach troubles.
4. Helps Fight the Common Cold
The anti-bacterial and immune boosting properties of chamomile can lessen the duration of the common cold. It helps promote perspiration, which in turn can have a beneficial effect on fevers, colds and flu.
5. Eases Colic and Teething Pain
Babies with colic can also benefit from chamomile. By easing stomach spasms and helping relax a baby’s tummy, chamomile can be an excellent alternative to pharmaceutical remedies. It can also be taken in dissolvable tablet form to ease teething pain. Always consult with your baby's physician before administering chamomile (or any other herbs).
6. Speeds the Healing Process
Chamomile promotes the healing of wounds. Either through drinking chamomile tea, or by applying a chamomile balm or paste of dried chamomile flowers, wounds have been shown to heal faster. In the balm form, chamomile has also been shown as a natural way to help with hemorrhoids and their associated symptoms.
7. Diabetes Management
Chamomile tea is also being studied for its beneficial effects in the management of diabetes. In one study, daily consumption of chamomile tea was found to prevent the progression of diabetic complications and hyperglycemia. While chamomile may not replace pharmaceutical medication in diabetic patients, it may help stabilize blood sugar.
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Image: Josef Seibel