Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and nothing in this article should be taken as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor before using any of the herbs and/or remedies mentioned in this article. Most people have tried chamomile tea for its calming properties, but how far do those effects really go? Like other healing plants, chamomile has several health benefits that make it a valuable addition to your garden, medicine cabinet, and pantry.
The chamomile flower is in the Asteraceae family of daisies. With several varieties, it is important to note that the German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and English chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) are most used medicinally.
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Chamomile is named from the Greek word αμαίμηλον (khamaimēlon), which means “ground apple” or “earth apple.” Crushing the chamomile flower emits a light and fruity scent reminiscent of an apple.
Both flower petals and leaves can be used from the chamomile plant, though the flowers have a lighter, more pleasant flavor. Take caution if you are allergic to any plants in the daisy or ragweed family. As with any herbal remedy, check into any medicine interactions before you add chamomile to your personal routine.
Chamomile is most used as a tea, though you can make a tincture or take encapsulated powder made from the dried flower. You can also add chamomile to skin products. The flowers can be used fresh or dried.
Like many herbal remedies, Chamomile has been used for thousands of years for a variety of purposes. Within the essential oils in the chamomile flower is bisabolol which has anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, and anti-microbial properties.
Chamomile has been proven to have anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties for sore muscles and injuries built into the flavonoids and essential oils of the flower. Beyond the scientific proof, people have been utilizing this flower for generations for the healing and soothing properties it offers.
There are studies on using chamomile as a long-term anxiety reducer. Though more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of this treatment long term, some individuals claim that it has been a helpful tool in managing anxiety, and it is a known herbal supplement to aid relaxation.
Chamomile tea and chamomile tea baths have both shown to be helpful for babies struggling with colic, and also aids relaxation before bed.
Eye Irritation and Pinkeye
Many people have claimed success in treating eye irritation and infection with tea or tea bags like chamomile. Though there have not been studies on the effectiveness of this, the calming and anti-inflammatory properties of the plant are sure to help.
Chamomile is a commonly used ingredient in natural remedies for hemorrhoids, ranging from creams to chamomile sitz baths. The anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties within the flower will help calm flare-ups.
Chamomile aids relaxation and has sedative properties. Having a cup of tea before bed can help for a restful sleep. For enhanced benefits, you can try making a chamomile tincture.
Some women say that regularly drinking chamomile tea prior to and during menstruation helps reduce the pain with uterine cramping. It’s believed that it is likely due to the calming effects of chamomile.
Though there are some scientific studies with positive results, the general consensus is that more information is needed to label chamomile as an effective treatment for menstrual cramps.
Respiratory Issues, Bronchitis, Congestion, and The Common Cold
Drinking chamomile tea, inhaling the steam of boiled water with the flowers, or inhaling steam from boiling water and the essential oil of chamomile, may reduce the phlegm and irritation accompanied by many of these ailments.
Chamomile has anti-bacterial properties that can speed up the healing of some sicknesses. One of the longest uses of chamomile historically was to treat illness and boost the immune system.
From diarrhea, IBS, Crohn’s disease, gas, and general stomach upset, the chamomile flower can be a help. There are studies proving the calming effects of chamomile similar to an antacid medicine.
Additionally, there have been studies on reduced vomiting in cancer patients while on chemotherapy while taking high doses of chamomile and ginger. With several other similar studies proving different calming stomach and digestive aid benefits, this flower in any form is worth keeping on hand. Even a simple cup of chamomile tea may help with digestive unease.
The antioxidants in chamomile tea help reduce free-radical damage to the skin while also aiding in skin regeneration.
Eczema and Skin Allergic Reactions
Chamomile essential oil or a Chamomile poultice may help to ease skin irritation from eczema and allergic reactions. Chamomile essential oil has gone through a steam distillation process that changes the chemical properties of the flower and adds allergenic properties when applied topically or inhaled.
Puffy Eyes and Dark Circles
Try refrigerating spent chamomile tea bags to use as a cooling and natural anti-puffing and regenerating under-eye mask.
Skin Irritation and Acne
Bisabolol, the essential oil in chamomile flower, helps calm and heal acne, rosacea, psoriasis, rashes, and other skin irritation by being anti-inflammatory and calming to skin conditions. There are creams made with chamomile flower, but you can even apply chamomile tea topically or create a flower poultice as a mask.
There have been studies that chamomile applied topically aids in wound healing. Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties help the healing process.
Because the flower and leaves are edible, there are a variety of ways to enjoy the plant beyond medicinal purposes. The leaves have a bitter taste, but the flowers are light with a slight sweetness that can accompany a variety of flavor profiles.
Chamomile’s flavor makes it a tasty addition to an herbal butter or infused oil that you can add to a variety of sweet or savory dishes. You can add chamomile to cocktails by making an infused flavorful liqueur, simple syrup, or cordial adding honey and lemon. For a burst of color in a meal, you can add the edible flowers to baked goods or even a salad.
Much of the information on super plants makes it feel like they are inaccessible. Meanwhile, chamomile—with a multitude of healing properties and advantages—is readily available in many formats (teas, tinctures, skincare products) at many local stores across America. Whether you add chamomile tea to your pantry or your garden, your health can be vastly improved.
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