I was introduced to chamomile tea by my friend, who insisted that I should try it at least once. The soothing and calming effect that I experienced after that, prompted me to pen down the immense health benefits of this super herb.
Regarded as one of the safest and gentlest of herbs, chamomile has been used for years to improve overall health and wellbeing. It has an active ingredient known as bisabolol, which lends it anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
Chamomile can be used to treat a number of everyday ailments like:
- Depression: Chamomile oil is used in aromatherapy as an anti-depressant. Research shows that chamomile eliminates feelings of sadness, depression, and sluggishness and induces a happy feeling.
- Lack of sleep: Chamomile has chrysin [a flavonoid that relieves anxiety and promotes sleep] and glycine [a nerve relaxant]—the main ingredients behind its soothing properties.
- Stomach cramps: Chamomile contains anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory constituents and hence 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, 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 before the headache gets worse.
- 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. Taking steam with chamomile or having a bath with water mixed with it, helps keep your skin healthy and lightens it too.
- 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 add one teaspoon fresh or dried chamomile flowers [fresh flowers need to be rinsed and cleaned in water]. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 – 2 minutes, till the flowers leave their fragrance and colour. Strain the liquid and add sugar or honey as per taste.
Tip: It also tastes good without sugar.
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