Chamomile is an herbal treatment that has been in use since the times of ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome. There are two different species of chamomile that are used – German and Roman chamomile. Both strains have the same effect and are extremely safe for use by humans. It has always been a popular herbal remedy as it has few side effects and many benefits. Read on to learn more.
The Properties of Chamomile
Chamomile is anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and antibacterial. Chamomile soothes inflammation on the inside and outside of the body. On the inside, it soothes the small muscles that line the digestive tract, relieving irritable symptoms. On the outside, chamomile is used to treat mild burns, including sunburn, rashes, sores, and even eye inflammation.
As an anti-spasmodic, chamomile can relax both muscles and nerves. It is commonly used to treat anxiety disorders and insomnia, as well as muscle pain associated with menstrual cramps and muscle strains. Certain active compounds found in chamomile work similar to anti-anxiety medications, which promote relaxation in the brain and nervous system.
Chamomile fights bacterial infections by destroying the bacteria that are the cause of them. One of the active ingredients in chamomile, Azulene, directly fights staphylococcus and streptococcus infections. By destroying the bacteria that cause infection, chamomile helps to speed recovery times.
The active ingredients found in the chamomile flower are volatile oils, such as essential oils and flavenoids. Essential oils work by soothing irritated skin or tissue and are proven to help with skin irritations. These are the oils that help with acne, skin complaints, and other problems. Flavenoids are antioxidant and help with the body’s healing and protect against the damage caused by free radicals.
Benefits of Chamomile
Specifically, chamomile can be used in the following ways:
- As a tea for lumbago, rheumatic problems, and rashes
- As a salve for haemmorhoids and wounds
- As a vapour for cold symptoms and asthma
- To relieve restlessness, teething problems, and colic in children
- To relieve allergies
- To aid in digestion when taken as a tea after meals
- To relieve morning sickness
- To speed the healing of skin ulcers, wounds, or burns
- To treat gastritis and ulcerative colitis
- To reduce inflammation and facilitate bowel movement
- As a wash or compress for skin problems and inflammation
- To promote general relaxation and relieve stress
- To control insomnia
- To treat diverticular disease, irritable bowel problems, and various gastrointestinal complaints
- To soothe skin rashes, minor burns, and sunburn
- To treat eye inflammation and infection
- To heal mouth sores and prevent gum disease
- To reduce menstrual cramp
How Chamomile is Used
Chamomile can be used in many ways – as a tea, pill, tincture or cream. It is most renowned in its tea form. Use chamomile tea at bedtime as a relaxant to combat insomnia and promote restful sleep. If you use pills or tinctures, ensure that they contain at least one percent Apigenin, one of chamomile’s most beneficial active compounds. When buying creams to use externally, look for at least three percent chamomile.
Safety of Chamomile
Chamomile is generally regarded as being safe to take, and has little or no side effects. However, be aware that chamomile is a cumulative treatment, meaning that the more regularly and the longer term you use chamomile, the greater the effect of it will be. If taken at the recommended dosage, there are no ill effects associated with chamomile, and is thus safe to take over a long period of time. Please note that those that take more than the recommended dosage have reported nausea accompanied by vomiting. If you are allergic to plants from the Compositae family, such as daisies, ragweed, asters, and chrysanthemums, be cautious about using chamomile at first. Those that are allergic to chamomile should not take it in any shape or form.Originally published on Dec 27, 2008