We’ve all heard of chamomile tea and it is widely known to be good for health. We’ll get into the health benefits in a minute but for starters, we know that it’s been used in traditional medicine for a long, long time. Here’s a little more about chamomile health benefits so that we can consume it responsibly and soak up all its benefits.
What Exactly Is Chamomile?
Strictly speaking, there’s Roman and German chamomile. This is a plant that is typically used as a low-dose sedative and it’s also something that’s good for your stomach, among other things. Medical studies involving chamomile, however, are conducted by combining the chamomile plant with a few others.
So, while we’re happy about the results, it’s good to remember that we don’t actually know that all the credit belongs only to chamomile. We also don’t really know if these health benefits are universal because there isn’t a lot of research on what it does to treat individual medical conditions like insomnia or diarrhea.
But we do know that in ancient medical history from Rome, Greece and Egypt, it has often been described as a medicinal herb. Its benefits probably come from the flower and oil extracts of the plant.
Chamomile has over 120 active pharmacological chemicals. For example, it contains chamazulene, which is anti-inflammatory. It also has apigenin, which is anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial. These are just two examples. Let’s see what else chamomile can do for us.
Chamomile Health Benefits
Chamomile is touted as a hero when it comes to healing a variety of problems. Here are some big ones.
As you probably already know, this is a condition where an individual has trouble sleeping. Chamomile is a popular ingredient in alternative therapies in treating insomnia because it is known to promote sleep. There isn’t a lot of solid research to support this claim which is why the German version of the FDA refused to approve it as a sleeping aid in 1984.
Some studies have established that even when chamomile is helpful in promoting sleep, the effects don’t last in the long run. Research on animals shows that it does have qualities of sedatives which also reduce anxiety. This is because apigenin, present in chamomile, impacts the human brain as benzodiazepines (like valium).
Chamomile is also a popular choice in treating anxiety and this has been given a thumbs up by the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database which measures the effectiveness of herbal remedies on the basis of scientific evidence.
Chamomile is also said to work like an antidepressant in some cases. That’s why you will find chamomile being recommended for individuals who have these mental health conditions.
Chamomile is also suggested for individuals who have diabetes because there’s research to support the premise that it lowers blood sugar levels. It has also shown itself to help with obesity. There’s a need for longer and larger studies, but at the moment, it’s seen as an aid in treating diabetes.
Chamomile is also recommended in treating gastrointestinal problems as it has anti-inflammatory compounds. It also has a role to play in reducing some muscle spasms that are the result of certain bowel diseases. And its antibacterial components can help in treating stomach ulcers as well.
Chamomile also has antioxidant properties which were seen to help rats that were being treated for diarrhoea caused by castor oil. There’s also a 2015 study in which humans were treated with the flower extract from chamomile for acute diarrhoea.
There are commercial creams that contain chamomile. These are used to treat skin conditions like sunburn, rashes, eczema and some types of eye inflammation. There isn’t a lot of research to support this premise, but it is considered to be effective.
Chamomile is also known to help heal wounds because of its ability to kill bacteria and viruses that cause staph infections. Studies have shown that the combination of chamomile oil and lavender can help individuals who have chronic leg ulcers.
It is also considered to be better than some ointments that are used to treat skin lesions after surgeries.
Chamomile-flavored mouthwash is said to help reduce plaque and gingivitis. The anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial elements of the plant are believed to be responsible for this.
Which Foods Have Chamomile?
When it comes to consuming it, chamomile is largely present in flavored tea. But you can also find some other drinks and foods which have chamomile flavor.
How Much Chamomile To Take Every Day
Since most of its healing properties are part of alternative therapies, there is little research that tells us how much is too much. The estimate is that 900 to 1,200 milligrams of chamomile in the form of a capsule is recommended. If you are consuming it in tea, you want to keep it between one and four cups a day.
If you want to try chamomile in other forms, it is best to consult a doctor.
Are There Any Side Effects?
It’s critical to know that chamomile belongs to the same family as chrysanthemum and ragweed. So, there is a likelihood of the same trouble with chamomile if you are allergic to these plants.
Some of these allergies can be pretty severe. This is more often the case with Roman chamomile. So, check what you are planning to consume and talk to your doctor if you experience wheezing, tightening of the chest, skin irritation or vomiting after consuming chamomile.
Chamomile Health Benefits: In Conclusion
Chamomile is an ancient herb that has been lauded for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. In dried form, the flowers contain flavonoids and terpenoids which are used to cure inflammation, ulcers, insomnia, wounds, and more.
The essential oil from this plant is used in aromatherapy and cosmetics. But its most popular form is probably tea which humans like to consume a lot.
It is clear that despite lacking in solid scientific research, this plant is often a go-to in the treatment of many everyday medical conditions. It is used as a therapeutic agent and if it works for you, why not, right?