Chamomile Benefits

Chamomile is widely used throughout the world due to a wide range of health benefits. Chamomile is Greek for ground apple and exists in two forms. Most are familiar with the tea version, but the oil form is valuable as well. Benefits abound for both chamomile oil and chamomile tea, but precautions should also be taken for best results.


Benefits of chamomile oil

1. Antiseptic and antibiotic

Chamomile oil cleans and prevents infection when used on the body. It is excellent for use on the skin and hair, but does not damage the scalp. Many use it to kill mites and lice. This powerful oil also helps stop the spread of an existing infection and cures the infection altogether.

2. Stress relief

This is perhaps one of the most popular uses of chamomile. It works as an antidepressant and helps calm nerves and soothes anxiety. Chamomile functions as a mild relaxant and helps calm worry and alleviate stress.

3. Painkiller

Many migraine sufferers rely on chamomile to help ease headache pain and provide relaxation. It is also effective in relieving sore muscles and joint pains. Chamomile works on decreasing pain and swelling and interestingly enough, helps fight tooth decay.

4. Anti-inflammation

The Europeans discovered long ago that chamomile can be used topically on the skin in the form of a cream or ointment and works wonders to soothe irritated skin. It also helps soften skin, reduces rashes and can provide relief for sunburn. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, chamomile is moderately effective in treating the chronic skin condition eczema.

To alleviate inflammation, add chamomile tea or oil to a warm bath and soak away your pain and inflammation. Another option is to soak a compress in warm chamomile tea and then apply to the sore area on your body or skin.

5. Other benefits

  • Chamomile can be used as a mouth rinse and helps alleviate the discomfort of mouth sores due to chemotherapy and radiation treatment. It also helps battle tooth and gum disease.
  • Chamomile oil helps strengthen muscles, skin and internal organs by improving their energy. It also works to detoxify the blood and flush the urinary tract. Chamomile is used by many to treat the symptoms of common cold and flu and also for easing infant colic.

Benefits of chamomile tea

This is the most popular way to consume chamomile. Simply steep the tea for 5 minutes (10 minutes maximum) and then enjoy.

1. Soothing stomach

Spasms and cramps are common complaints and even those who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) will benefit from chamomile tea. It has potent anti-spasm effects and alleviates stomach cramps and discomfort.

2. Muscle relaxation and immune boost

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry noted several therapeutic benefits of drinking chamomile tea. Chamomile tea boosts levels of hippurate and is known to provide antibacterial activity. These plant-derived compounds called phenolics are known to boost immune function and improve our ability to fight off infections. This study also noted added benefits of fighting the common cold, muscle relaxation and acting as a mild sedative.

3. PMS and menstrual cramp relief

The relaxing effects of chamomile tea help ease the menstrual cramps experienced during premenstrual and menstrual cycles. The muscle relaxant and pain relieving effects provide relief for PMS. Drinking chamomile tea also boosts the mood and helps soothe nerves.

4. Better skin

The antibacterial properties help improve your skin’s appearance and also calm inflamed and sensitive areas. Simply make a paste of brewed chamomile tea with coarse cornflower or cornmeal. Apply this to your face and allow it to dry. Then use a soft cloth and gently scrub it off. This soothes the skin and helps heal sores.

5. Other benefits

Chamomile has a number of other health benefits. It is a well-known sleep aid and promotes restful sleep patterns. Chamomile ointment is effective in treating the discomfort and inflammation of hemorrhoids. There is some evidence that it may be beneficial in diabetes management and helps prevent complications and fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Laboratory studies show some promise that chamomile tea has anti-tumor effects, but more research is needed.

Risks of taking chamomile

1. Side effects

Chamomile is generally considered safe but can cause drowsiness. Excessive doses can trigger vomiting and allergic reactions. Chamomile is part of the daisy family and those allergic to daisies should avoid chamomile. The oil can be irritating to the eyes and should be kept away from sensitive areas.

2. Risks

Chamomile contains coumarin and has very mild blood thinning effects. The effect is most notable for large doses of chamomile that are taken over long periods of time. If you anticipate a surgical procedure, stop chamomile at least two weeks prior to the surgery date.

3. Interactions

Like any supplement or herbal product, talk to your doctor before adding chamomile supplements to your diet. Potential interactions include: aspirin, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen, sedatives and any blood thinning medication (Coumadin, Plavix, Pradaxa, aspirin, Lovenox). Chamomile has the potential to interact with other supplements. Ask your doctor or herbalist if you also take ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto, St. Johns wort, valerian or garlic.

4. Pregnancy

The best evidence shows that chamomile should be avoided during pregnancy. It has the potential to act on the uterine musculature and is felt to increase the risk of miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. It should be avoided in breastfeeding and consult your doctor before giving chamomile to infants.

5. Recommended dosage

Data from studies cite a range between 400 mg up to 1,600 mg per day. Start low and gradually increase until the desired health benefits occur.

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