This herb is daisy-like in appearance. Chamomile refers to several plants of the Asteraceae family. Two of the species, Matricaria recutita and Anthemis nobilis, are commonly used to make herbal infusions for traditional medicine.
Chamomile has been used for centuries to relax the nervous system, promote healthy digestion and aiding sleep. Also, chamomile tea is loaded with antioxidants that may play a role in lowering the risk of developing several chronic diseases.
Common benefits from chamomile:
Methods of action:
Chamomile is a mild sedative; it helps the transition from a sympathetic nervous system state (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic nervous system state (rest and digest). It also helps relax muscles [i].
Likewise, parasympathetic nervous system activation is needed to digest. Sodium azulene sulfonate is a water-soluble derivative, which is an anti-inflammatory component of chamomile. Through this compound, Chamomile offers relief from digestive complaints including bloating, cramps and excess gas [ii]. Chamomile contains bitter compounds and aromatic volatile oils, which increase gut secretions and local blood flow to the digestive organs. Chamomile is a good option for infants with colic, it is often recommended to breastfeeding mothers [iii].
Ulcers can appear anywhere in the digestive tract from causes such as stress, use of NSAID drugs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen) [iv] as well as food allergies [v]. Chamomile has proven beneficial in the prevention and treatment of ulcers [vi] .
Blood sugar balance:
In one study of 64 diabetic people, those who consumed chamomile tea daily with meals for eight weeks had significantly lower average blood sugar levels than those who consumed water [vii]
Additionally, animal studies suggest that chamomile tea may lower fasting blood sugar levels by a considerable amount, it may also be beneficial for preventing blood sugar spikes after eating [viii] [ix].
One study of 64 diabetic patients found that those who drank chamomile tea with meals had noteworthy improvements in their total cholesterol, triglyceride and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, compared to those who drank water [x].
As a traditional medicine, it is used to treat wounds, ulcers, eczema, gout, skin irritations, bruises, burns, canker sores, neuralgia, sciatica, rheumatic pain, haemorrhoids, mastitis and other ailments [xi] [xii].
Other reported benefits:
Other uses with anecdotal and traditional use include:
Safety and Interactions:
Generally considered safe, however use in pregnancy is not advised.
Avoid use with warfarin and related anticoagulant medications. Also avoid use concomitantly with any drugs of sedative action, for example: opiates, alcohol, benzodiazepine, try cyclic anti-depressants or anti-epileptic drugs.
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