Regarded as one of the safest and gentlest of herbs, chamomile has been used for years to improve overall health. It has an active ingredient known as bisabolol, which lends it anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
You can use chamomile to treat a number of ailments:
- Depression: Use the essential oil to lift your mood and ease symptoms of depression. Research shows that chamomile significantly reduces feelings of sadness, depression, and sluggishness and induces a happy feeling.
- Lack of sleep: Chamomile contains chrysin [a flavonoid that relieves anxiety and promotes sleep] and glycine [a nerve relaxant]. These are the main ingredients responsible for its soothing properties.
- Stomach cramps: Chamomile contains anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory constituents. Hence it is effective in treating stomach and intestinal cramps. A cup of chamomile tea in the morning and evening provides great relief.
- Premenstrual syndrome [PMS] and menstrual cramps: Drinking chamomile tea twice a day has been found to be beneficial in treating PMS and menstrual cramps. It works by raising as it raises levels of glycine in the urine, which helps calm muscle spasms.
- Migraine: Research shows that chamomile is a wonderful cure for migraine. It works best if you have a cup of tea just when you notice the initial signs of a migraine starting [aura].
- Burns: Chamomile oil is useful in treating burns. Rub a small amount of oil gently across the burned area once, to ease discomfort. The essential oils present in chamomile act by soothing irritated skin or tissue.
- Skin: Chamomile is useful for lightening your skin tone due to its essential oils. To keep your skin healthy and lighten a tan, add few chamomile flowers to your bath water or a add a few drops of the essential oil.
- Cold: The immune-boosting and antibacterial properties of chamomile tea help in fighting cold.
- Irritable bowl syndrome: The anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties of chamomile relax smooth muscles lining of the stomach and intestine. It thus reduces cramping and pain in the bowels and helps relieve excessive gas and bloating in the intestines.
A word of caution
Chamomile is not recommended if you are currently taking blood thinners, since it contains a substance called coumarin that is also a blood thinner. Individuals who are allergic to other plants in the same family such as daisy, aster and chrysanthemum may have difficulty using chamomile. It is best to avoid consuming chamomile during pregnancy as it may lead to abortion.
Taste the goodness
The best way to have chamomile is in the form of tea. Boil one cup water and turn off the flame. Then add one teaspoon fresh or dried chamomile flowers [fresh flowers need to be rinsed and cleaned in water]. Cover and allow the leaves to steep for 1 – 2 minutes, till the flowers leave their fragrance and colour. Strain and serve. You may add a natural sweetener if you prefer.
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