Chamomile is a herb that has both medicinal and cosmetic benefits. It looks similar to a daisy when in flower and there are several species of chamomile, or camomile, as it is most often referred to in the UK. The most common varieties of Chamomile are Roman and German.
It is a herb with a long history and was used as far back as Egyptian times to help heal all manner of ills. Chamomile is grown around the world; the plant is common in Europe, South America, Australia, the UK and is also the national flower of Russia. It is an easy plant to establish and cultivate from seed.
The herb has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and is full of health giving flavonoids such as quercetin. In addition, Chamomile contains B vitamins, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Health Benefits of Chamomile
Several studies have highlighted the numerous health benefits associated with Chamomile. Detailed below are just some of the health conditions that the herb can be used for.
Stress and Anxiety
Chamomile is often the herb of choice when it comes to aiding relaxation and reducing anxiety. This is because the herb is known to have a mild sedating effect when consumed.
The herb is often used to ease muscle spasms, cramps and pain. Chamomile has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, which probably accounts for its ability to act as an analgesic.
A cup of Chamomile last thing at night has long been used as a remedy for insomnia. It can help the mind and body unwind, helping to assist in getting a good nights rest. Use it as part of a nighttime blend, add some Chamomile essential oil to a bath, or put some drops on the pillow for the best effects.
Chamomile is known to be beneficial for indigestion and will reduce the discomfort caused by gas. It will relieve stomach upsets, ease colic, and can be helpful for patients with gastric ulcers.
Studies have shown Chamomile to help lower glucose levels in diabetics. Researchers believe it may help prevent some of the complications of diabetes due to Chamomile's ability to lower the blood sugars. However, more research is needed to understand how chamomile could be used to successfully manage diabetes.
When applied as a cream, there is evidence to show that Chamomile could ease eczema. One study showed that it was more effective than cortisone creams at reducing the irritation caused by this painful skin condition.
Putting Chamomile essential oil in a bowl of hot water can reduce the symptoms of a cold. The herb is equally useful for patients with sore throats and hay fever.
Beauty Benefits of Chamomile
Due to its calming qualities, Chamomile is often used in skin products due to the soothing effects it has. It is especially beneficial for people prone to sensitive skin or to those who suffer from inflammations.
It is included as an ingredient in some eye balms as its astringent qualities can help reduce puffiness under the eyes. As an alternative to eye balms, cooled tea bags can also be placed over the eyes to help relax them.
People with skin complaints such as acne could find some benefit from using chamomile. It is best applied to the skin as an astringent application.
Chamomile tea bags can also be used as a rinse to help add natural highlights to blonde hair. Moreover, Chamomile can make an effective mouthwash to help ease inflamed gums, and ease sunburn.
How to use Chamomile
There are several ways of taking Chamomile. It is available in the form of an essential oil, in capsules or as a tea. Other ways of using Chamomile include tinctures and skin creams.
Most supermarkets sell Chamomile in tea bag form, but the taste might not be appealing to some. It is often suggested that the tea is sweetened with honey or it is available as part of a nighttime blend or with added flavours such as spearmint.
To use the flowers as a tea, use two heaped teaspoons of Chamomile. Add it to a tea strainer and pour hot water over it and let the Chamomile strain into the cup. Allow to cool before drinking and add honey for flavour.