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Most people are probably familiar with chamomile tea. It is so popular that people drink around a million cups of chamomile tea every day. But chamomile is much more than just tea. Chamomile has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. It is known to calm anxiety and settle an upset stomach. It is even used in topical preparations to treat a number of skin ailments.
Chamomile is one of the most widely used and well-documented medicinal herbs. Many people consume it regularly to benefit their overall health and wellness. That is because chamomile benefits are abundant. If you do not already know about all of the chamomile benefits you can get from introducing chamomile into your routine, here is everything you need to know about this amazing plant.
What is Chamomile?
Chamomile, native to parts of Europe, India, and Asia, is one of the most ancient herbs in the world. Chamomile was once considered one of nine sacred herbs by the ancient Saxons in Germany. It was also so highly regarded by the ancient Egyptians that they dedicated it to the sun god Ra. Although not native to the United States, it now grows freely across most of the country. You have likely seen it growing in fields or even by the side of the road and not even realized it.
Chamomile is a member of the daisy family. There are different varieties, but when in bloom, their flowers look like small white daisies and some varieties have a sweet, appley smell (like the tea). Chamomile tea and other extracts are made from dried chamomile flowers, most frequently from one of two popular varieties of chamomile.
Chamomile benefits have been known for centuries. Chamomile has so many benefits that it can be ingested or used topically to treat a number of skin issues and ailments because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and astringent properties. The chamomile benefits most people are familiar with are linked to drinking chamomile tea.
Chamomile tea is known best for its calming effect. It has been used in this way to calm and reduce anxiety. There are few studies of chamomile for reducing anxiety, but a few do seem to suggest that moderate chamomile benefits seem to be realized in people with generalized anxiety. It is also used to help relieve, nightmares and as a treatment for insomnia and other sleep problems. That is because chamomile contains an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in your brain that promotes sleepiness and reduces insomnia. So the next time you find yourself wide awake at night, brew a cup of chamomile tea and let it relax you to sleep.
Since chamomile benefits include a calming effect, chamomile has also been used to treat colic and croup in children. Since colic is believed to be linked to digestive issues, giving a colicky baby chamomile tea might aid digestion and soothe their stomach, helping them to calm down and sleep better.
Chamomile benefits also include digestive health. Chamomile is frequently used to treat a number of stomach issues such as indigestion, gas, diarrhea, and nausea. It is especially helpful in dispelling gas and relaxing the intestinal muscles that move food through the digestive system. It can also help soothe acid reflux. Easing motion sickness is another one of the awesome chamomile benefits you can get from consuming chamomile. Chamomile likely soothes your stomach and eliminates acid reflux because it is believed to reduce acidity in the stomach and stop the growth of bacteria. You can thank its anti-inflammatory properties for all that.
Some surprising chamomile benefits especially if you are new to chamomile include numerous topical applications that promote skin health. Because of anti-inflammatory chamomile benefits, chamomile is widely used to treat skin inflammation and bacterial infections. It is commonly used to treat things like wounds, eczema, skin irritations, burns, diaper rash, and to soothe chicken pox and poison ivy. For example, creams with chamomile extract have been found to be fairly effective as an alternative to steroid creams for treating certain types of eczema. It is usually applied to the skin through lotions and soaps or through essential oil extracted from the dried flowers.
The Fine Print on Chamomile
Since chamomile is such an ancient herb, a lot is known about it. Chamomile is generally considered a safe herbal remedy. It can be consumed daily without problems. However, since chamomile is made using the flowers of the plant, if you are allergic to pollen or pollen-producing plants, it would be wise to proceed with caution. Chamomile is related to the ragweed plant, so it may be a good idea to either avoid or use chamomile with caution if you are highly allergic to ragweed.
Likewise, before using chamomile to soothe a fussy baby be sure to consult your pediatrician. Although chamomile benefits are helpful with a fussy baby, chamomile is not recommended for babies under six months old.
Finally, when consumed in excessive amounts, chamomile can cause dizziness and nausea, so be sure to monitor how much you are drinking each day and how you feel afterward. Although since chamomile is so mild, it would likely take an awful lot to make you feel unwell.
Chamomile benefits are vast. From helping you sleep to soothing irritated skin, chamomile is a must-have medicinal plant. It is gentle and relatively safe. It is also widely available and can be found pretty much anywhere that sells tea. As long as you are not allergic to pollen and ragweed, add a cup of chamomile tea to your bedtime routine or start using a few skincare products with chamomile. You will feel better for it. Because as the ancient Saxons and Egyptians realized, chamomile is much more than just a cup of tea.
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