Chamomile has been prized for its medicinal qualities since the days of the Roman Empire, and in ancient Egypt and Greece. It was used to treat a variety of external and internal conditions. To this day, it holds a special place in the herbalist’s pantry to soothe and to heal. Here are some well-known health benefits of chamomile:
Soothes the Digestive System
Chamomile contains a wide variety of beneficial compounds for the digestive tract. Bisabolol, for example, has anti-inflammatory properties and relaxes the smooth muscle lining of the digestive tract. Chamomile has an antispasmodic effect on the digestive system.
Promotes Relaxation and Sleep
Chamomile tea is often used as a natural sleep aid. One of the compounds present in the chamomile is called apigenin, which is thought to promote mild sedation. Chamomile helps in reducing nervous activity in the evenings, allowing you to fall asleep with more ease.
Chamomile inhibits inflammation in a similar manner to anti-inflammatory drugs known as COX inhibitors, but without harmful side effects. Papaverine, a compound in chamomile, relieves muscle spasms in the intestinal tract and in blood vessels.
Soothes the Skin
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, a topical application of chamomile can help relieve itching, swelling, and redness. Chamomile is used to treat dermatitis, eczema, burns and other minor forms of skin irritation. Try applying chamomile tea to your skin with a clean spray bottle. Just be sure to test a patch a skin first for a reaction. Even people who drink chamomile just fine can have a skin reaction.
Preliminary studies indicate that drinking chamomile results in higher levels of an amino acid called glycine in the urine. Glycine has been shown to be effective in reducing muscle spasms, which may explain how it helps to relieve menstrual cramps in women.
Does it Help with the Immune System?
Preliminary studies indicate that drinking chamomile causes you to bulk up on beneficial compounds with antibacterial properties. Also, breathing the steam of chamomile tea may help relieve cold symptoms.
Does it Help with Diabetes?
Preliminary animal studies have shown that chamomile consumption results in a decrease in blood glucose levels. It also inhibited two enzymes, both of which have a role in the development of diabetic complications such as diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), cataracts, retinopathy (retinal damage of the eye), and nephropathy (kidney damage).
Chamomile is a flower in the Asteraceae, or daisy, family. People who are allergic to ragweed, aster, or chrysanthemums may also have a reaction to chamomile. This is a rare occurrence, but anyone taking chamomile should be aware of this possibility.