Chamomile is a small, leafy, flowering plant that is often made into an herbal tea by drying the flowers and submersing them in hot water in a tea bag or a tea ball. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) has a soothing aroma and taste and, because it doesn’t contain caffeine, many people find that it helps them to fall asleep. Many believe that the medicinal properties of chamomile go far beyond just making you drowsy.
Calming Of Muscles And Nerves
According to Llewellyn’s Herbal Almanac, chamomile helps people fall asleep because it has a general calming effect on the nerves.
This trait can be used to help people to combat chronic stress and anxiety, or just to relax after a hard day. Also, because chamomile doesn’t have caffeine, Llewellyn’s Herbal Almanac recommends rubbing chamomile tea on the gums of teething children to calm them down and help with gum inflammation.
My daughter’s friend has used chamomile and catnip for her baby’s teething and nap time. She has had great success.
You can make a wonderfully soothing body oil for the soothing of sore muscles or general relaxation using chamomile, lavender, and almond oil. Of course, if you are allergic to nuts, another oil would be a better choice… maybe olive oil. Simply infuse the herbs in the oil and bottle it to use when you need it most.
Protection From The Common Cold And Food-Born Illness
While drinking chamomile tea can be soothing, a 2010 meta-analysis of the health benefits of chamomile published in Molecular Medicine Reports suggests that inhaling steam from chamomile tea may help combat the common cold. A later article published in the journal Industrial Crops and Products found that the anti-inflammatory effects of chamomile may also help to combat food-born illnesses.
The study reported that anti-inflammatory chemicals found in the tea may have a number of immune system benefits, and while it also said that this is an area that deserves further research, there’s certainly no harm in trying.
Control Of Blood Sugar
A 2008 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that daily consumption of chamomile tea may help to prevent the progression of diabetic complications, including high blood sugar.
The study found that, when taken with a meal, chamomile tea helped to prevent the cells’ accumulation of sorbitol – a slowly metabolized sugar alcohol that is created as a bi-product of sugar metabolism.
This does not suggest that chamomile tea can replace dietary prescriptions or other controls like insulin, it does suggest that a cup of tea may help your body to self-regulate its glucose levels, assisting other interventions.
Can Chamomile Fight Cancer?
An article published in the journal Industrial Crops and Products in 2012 found that chamomile contains high volumes of antioxidants which have long been thought to combat various severe ailments including cancer and heart disease.
While chamomile tea alone probably won’t protect you from cancer, incorporating a cup of tea into a diet rich with other antioxidants may certainly help.
Notes On The Growth And Ingestion Of Chamomile
Chamomile tea can be purchased from most grocery stores as well as from most health food stores and online shops, but the plant also grows wild in many parts of the United States and Europe. Starter plants can also be purchased from many greenhouses or Farm & Ranch stores.
Chamomile does resemble some unrelated weeds, so be sure to consult a local herbalist or forager before trying to ingest any plant that you didn’t purchase from a reliable source.
There are also virtually no reported ill side-effects of chamomile, though there have been reported cases of severe allergic reactions to chamomile by people who were also allergic to ragweed or other plants in the Asteraceae family.
A study by The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggested that this can occur due to cross pollination of the chamomile plant, so if be cautious when experimenting with chamomile if you are allergic to ragweed, especially if you are growing your own plants.
Recent and on-going research has identified the medicinal properties of chamomile. Namely, specific anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, muscle relaxant, anti-spasmodic, anti-allergenic and sedative properties, validating its long-held reputation. This attention appears to have increased the popularity of the herb and nowadays Chamomile is included as a drug in the pharmacopoeia of 26 countries.
- http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-chamomile.html 16 February 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- Covington, Linnea “Get Cooking With Chamomile” http://www.foodrepublic.com/2015/10/22/get-cooking-with-chamomile/” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Get Cooking With Chamomile
- Bergner P, Becker M. Materia Medica Intensive Seminar. Boulder, CO: North American Institute of Medical Herbalism, Inc; 2005.
- Srivastava J, Shankar E, Gupta S (2011) Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Mol Med 3: 895-901.
- The Book of Herbal Wisdom by M. Wood (201-202)
- Medical Herbalism by D. Hoffmann (565)