Plants

Health Benefits of Chamomile

Known to mankind as one of the oldest and most versatile medicinal herbs, dried chamomile flowers have numerous general health purposes, thanks to the high level of disease-fighting antioxidants with terpenoids and flavonoids (responsible for the pigments in fruits and vegetables).

Chamomile’s vital antioxidants are found in the plant’s potent oil, the main contributor to its natural healing properties.

As an effective alternative medicine with almost no known negative side effects, chamomile has been used for nearly 5,000 years in teas, herbal extracts and cosmetic forms to promote tranquility, vitality, youthful appearance and longevity.

Chamomile, which means “earthly apple”, was used for centuries in the Roman Empire, during Egyptian rule and in Ancient Greece.

Unlike green or black tea, chamomile tea actually grows, not from a tree, but from a daisy-like plant. The plants in this family produce chamomile tea which is best known for its relaxing and sleep-inducing properties.

This herb produces an apple-like fruity tea and, in addition to being delicious, has a number of valuable therapeutic properties.

Chamomile was found to contain 28 terpenoids and 36 flavonoid compounds, including the bioactive components of coumarins, flavonoids, terpenoids and mucilage. Together, these properties give the delicate little flower its potent healing touch.

Dried chamomile flower is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal, antispasmodic, antiulcer and astringent healing properties.

BENEFITS OF CHAMOMILE

  • Upset stomach  The strong antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties found in chamomile tea make it an effective remedy for stomach cramps. Drink tea twice a day, morning and evening to relieve pressure and pain.
  • Helps sleep – Do you suffer from insomnia like millions of others? If the answer is yes, you may find relief in a hot cup, as chamomile tea makes you sleepy taken about 30 minutes before going to bed. Chamomile is widely used as a mild tranquilizer and sleep inducer. The sedative effects may be due to the flavonoid and apigenin that bind to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain.
  • Migraine – As soon as you feel a headache coming on, drink a cup of chamomile tea. The key is to drink the tea before the headache gets too bad.
  • Diarrhea – If you have a loose bowel, try a hot cup of chamomile tea. It can bring relief from the cramps and pain that accompanies diarrhea. Also, it can help relieve excess gas and bloating.
  • Immune – If you suffer from frequent colds and flu, picking up on any outbreaks that occur, you can benefit from a cup or two of chamomile tea daily. One study found that when German chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita) was consumed five times a day for two weeks, markers of antibacterial activity increased in participants.
  • Burns and Scratches – Not only is chamomile an effective herbal infusion, but it can also be used directly. The Egyptians, Romans and Greeks used a poultice made of chamomile flowers for wound healing. Intensely rub a small amount of tea on simple scratches and burns or compress with a clean cloth. To make really strong tea, prepare 3 bags in a cup of boiling water. Be sure to wait for the tea to cool to use.
  • Dark Circles – If you hate that tired look that comes with dark circles, you can try to smooth them out with chamomile tea. The tea reduces inflammation and tightens the skin, leaving you looking refreshed and vibrant. Soak two tea bags in warm water and leave them there for five minutes. After cooling, place them in your eyes at night for a relaxing compress.
  • Lightens up the skin – The skin can become blemished as we age. To help moisturize and even smooth out uneven blemishes, use chamomile tea for your skin. Just boil two cups of water with two chamomile tea bags. Pour into a bowl and carefully steam the face. To intensify the treatment, place a towel over your head. This will relax you while the chamomile conditions and soothes your skin.
  • Prevents acne – Chamomile is loaded with beneficial antioxidants that help fight free radicals. This makes it useful in preventing acne causing bacteria. Use the same steaming method as mentioned above a few times a week to keep your pores clean and bacteria at bay.
  • Reduces swelling and pain – Swelling from overuse or injury can be very painful. Rather than taking anti-inflammatory medication that can cause serious side effects, try chamomile tea. The tea is loaded with natural anti-inflammatory properties that work to help your body reduce swelling. Drink a few cups of tea to relax your muscles or compress the painful area, use fresh tea.
  • Lowers Blood Sugar – According to research, drinking a cup or two of chamomile tea after meals is an effective way for diabetics to lower blood sugar and lower the risk of vision, nerve and kidney damage. Studies suggest that chamomile improves hyperglycemia and diabetic complications by suppressing blood sugar levels and increasing liver glycogen storage.
  • Reduces risk of thyroid and breast cancer – The flavonoids in chamomile, such as apigenin, also found in celery, fruits, herbs and parsley, are suspected to contribute to its anti-cancer ability. In animal studies, apigenin has been used to shrink cancerous tumors.
  • Skin Irritation – Sunburn, skin rash, eczema and insect bites can be irritating and painful. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, chamomile can relieve pain and irritation. In one study, chamomile was found to be 60% as effective as hydrocortisone.
  • Muscle Spasms – Chamomile tea raises glycine levels which has been shown to calm muscle spasms. Glycine is a known nerve relaxant, which also makes it an effective pain reliever.

CHAMOMILE PROPERTIES

The chamomile plant is native to Western Europe and North Africa, but currently grows worldwide in different temperate regions. The main chamomile exporters today are Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, Poland and Germany.

Chamomile plants are members of the Asteraceae family, Compositae. There are two common types of chamomile used today:

  • German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla);
  • Roman chamomile (chamomile fine);

Chamomile tea and herbal extracts that are now sold worldwide for human consumption are prepared from dried flowers of the Matricaria species.

A cup of chamomile tea has two calories, two milligrams of sodium and no cholesterol. Chamomile is commonly used to improve many different health conditions.

HOW TO MAKE CHAMOMILE TEA

Some say that the potency of tea depends on how it is made. Here is a suggestion for making the best cup of chamomile tea, which among many of the benefits already seen, can help your baby sleep better. In addition, it is a natural anxiolytic due to its calming effects, reducing cravings and allowing chamomile tea to help you lose weight.

Chamomile tea for the baby can be offered mordo from the sixth month.

  • Pour fresh water into a clean pot (one you reserve for making tea).
  • Boil the water while you clean and wash the chamomile flowers (fresh or dried) in cold water.
  • Put 2-3 teaspoons of flowers (per glass of water) into the water once it comes to a boil.
  • When the water is colored and smells like the flowers, turn off the heat.
  • Put the tea in a cup.
  • Add honey to taste.

Chamomile has properties very similar to fennel, thus, among the benefits of fennel, and we have the calming effect, reduction of gas and stomach problems, reduction of bloating, among others that can also transform this herb into an ally, as well as chamomile, for health problems.

Chamomile tea also has some practical uses for moisturizing and lightening hair in summer. Or you can still, with the flowers, make a homemade chamomile shampoo, without spending anything, taking advantage of all the advantages of a hydrated hair with naturally lightened streaks.

CHAMOMILE TEA – CONTRAINDICATIONS

If you are going to use chamomile oil, remember that it is only on the skin, not for ingesting.

Do a touch test first, on a small part of your skin, to make sure you don’t have negative reactions to the plant oil before using it for other applications.

Chamomile oil should not be used by people with allergy symptoms. If you suffer from frequent hives or dermatitis, it is not a good idea to use chamomile products or at least talk to your doctor before doing so.

Another thing to consider is that chamomile products are thought to be mild uterine stimulants, so if you are pregnant, talk to a professional before taking chamomile extracts.

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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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