The potential wonders of chamomile tea!
Fresh and dried chamomile flowers have been used in teas for thousands of years. And chamomile has now become one of the world's most popular teas, with around a million cups consumed daily.
One reason for chamomile's popularity may be its delicious smell and flavor but research also suggests that the essential oil bisabolol, found almost exclusively in chamomile, offers anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and immune-boosting properties. But, every part of the chamomile plant is believed to offer health benefits as they are used in all sorts of cosmetics, bath soaks and even for gargling. In fact, studies indicate that inhaling steam with chamomile extract is helpful in treating common cold symptoms.
By drinking just two to four cups of chamomile tea per day, many people claim they've found relief from a variety of common aliments, including:
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Anxiety and Panic Attacks
- Muscle twitches
- Stomach problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual cramps, stomach flu, ulcers, colic and diarrhea
- Migraine headaches
- Preventing colds and/or relieving symptoms
- Sore throat
- Possible activities against certain types of cancers
In a study published in the January 26, 2004 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 14 volunteers drank 5 cups a day of chamomile tea, every day for 2 weeks. At that point, urine samples showed a significant increase in infection-fighting and nerve relaxant compounds. Two weeks later, during which the subjects had no longer been consuming chamomile tea, the beneficial compound levels remained elevated.
Used topically as essential oils, wet tea bags, gels or creams, chamomile may be beneficial for:
- Wounds, burns, and scrapes
- Skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, chickenpox, diaper rash
- Lightening skin tone
- Reducing circles under the eyes
- Eye fatigue
One note of caution: Chamomile is "generally recognized as safe" by the FDA. However, approximately 4% of the population may develop a chamomile allergy -- with this being more likely to occur in people who suffer from hay fever.