10 Chamomile Tea Benefits for Your Overall Health
In today’s hectic climate, having a way to destress is an extremely important part of keeping it together. You can do yoga, complete crossword puzzles, practice meditation, or simply unwind on the couch with a nice cup of chamomile tea.
Chamomile tea is one of the most versatile natural remedies in the world. You can not only use it to relax but also as a natural supplement for managing various illnesses. Therefore, if you want to learn about all the ways chamomile tea benefits your health, here is everything you should know about this most healing plant.
What Is Chamomile Tea?
Image source: Pinterest
When looking up the most common herbs used in folk medicine, chamomile will regularly take the number one spot. This incredible plant has been a staple in many cultures for centuries, where it was used to treat various ailments.
Chamomile belongs to the Asteraceae plant family, the same family that includes over 32.000 flowering species such as daisies, chrysanthemums, and dandelions. Like all the other flowers in this family, chamomile is best recognized by its distinct white flower head. The flaring flower head consists of several strap-shaped petals and a yellow floret in the center.
Though there are several distinct types of chamomile, the two most widespread ones are the German chamomile and Roman chamomile. Both types share many of the same healing properties, but German chamomile is much more common. Thus, it’s the type typically used to make teas.
Chamomile tea is one of the favorite types of herbal teas enjoyed worldwide. Though most people like to drink their plain, you can also use the tea to create various infusions for a quick burst of flavors.
For example, in the summer, you can cool off with a nice blend of ginger iced tea. In case you’re a fan of lattes, feel free to use the tea to brew a chamomile and cinnamon latte. You can also make a chamomile hot toddy for those special occasions when you want to add just a drop of alcohol to your favorite herbal remedy.
10 Chamomile Tea Benefits
Image source: Pinterest
Not only is chamomile tea incredibly versatile, but it also packs some pretty impressive health benefits. This tea is one of nature’s most potent remedies; you can use it to manage a whole host of conditions, from anxiety to some autoimmune disorders.
1. A Natural Anxiety Remedy
When you think of chamomile, the first thing that most likely comes to your mind is ‘soothing’. This isn’t a coincidence. For centuries, people have used this plant as a way to relieve stress and manage anxiety.
So far, the evidence on this is largely anecdotal. However, there are a few studies that show that chamomile behaves similarly to benzodiazepines when ingested. The compounds in the plant influence neurotransmitters in the brain, and stops them from misfiring. This results in the reduction of overall stress.
But, it’s important to note that while chamomile soothes anxiety symptoms, it doesn’t stop them from occurring. Consequently, you shouldn’t use tea as a replacement for real anxiety medication. Instead, you can use it as a supplement to help you deal with the condition more easily.
2. May Help You Sleep
Apart from calming your nerves, chamomile tea can also help you sleep better. The flower contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which is known for its sedative properties. The compound induces muscle relaxation and can make you feel drowsy.
As a result, you will have an easier time falling asleep, and staying in a deep sleep longer. Plus, the longer you drink the tea, the better the results. For instance, a few studies revealed that after drinking chamomile for two weeks, 60 participants reported better sleep quality and less fatigue.
However, despite helping you fall asleep quicker, the researchers weren’t able to find any proof that chamomile can reduce rates of insomnia. So, they concluded that more research was needed to establish chamomile as a potential treatment for insomnia.
3. Helps With Menstrual Pain
If you’re someone who menstruates, then you know that period pain is no joke. A new poll revealed that over 80% of women who menstruate experience painful cramping at least once during their cycle. In some cases, these cramps can be so severe that they can trigger hot flashes, fever, and even a nasty case of diarrhea.
However, if you’re hesitant to reach for a painkiller to soothe the aches, feel free to turn to chamomile. The tea is one of the most potent remedies for menstrual pain that nature has to offer. This is because the plant is rich in tannins and various antioxidants you’ll find only in herbal teas.
When your body breaks down tannins during digestion, it produces an amino acid called glycine. Studies have shown that elevated glycine levels have a positive impact on reducing muscle spasms. Therefore, it’s highly effective for relieving menstrual pain.
So, whenever you get those telltale cramps, feel free to brew yourself a warm cup of chamomile to soothe the pain.
4. Could Potentially Slow Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is often called ‘the silent disease’. This is because it takes years to develop, and you may not even realize you have it until it’s too late to reverse the damage. The illness is characterized by a loss of bone mass and bone density.
Though it most commonly affects the elderly, it can strike at any age. It’s also much more common in women than men, especially if they go through early menopause.
Estrogen plays a vital role in the absorption of calcium and vitamin D. During menopause, your estrogen levels go down, which inhibits your body from using up the calcium to regenerate your bones. As a result, your bones become brittle and weak and tend to break more easily.
Sadly, there’s no known cure for osteoporosis. Even more troubling is that any damage to your bones is irreversible, especially if you’re past the age of 40. Nevertheless, you can still slow down the disease’s progression and preserve the bone mass you have.
While the best way to get stronger bones is to eat calcium-rich foods and do weight training, you can also include chamomile tea in your routine. Since the tea has anti-estrogenic properties, it helps regulate your hormone levels. Balanced hormones mean an increase in calcium absorption, which in turn yields denser bones.
Plus, since the tea is a natural muscle relaxant, it may aid in your recovery time between training sessions. As a result, you’ll be able to work harder and grow muscles and save your bones all at once.
5. Treats Flu Symptoms
The most common reason people drink chamomile tea is that they’re sick. There is a longstanding belief in folk medicine that this incredible plant can help you fight off the common cold. And for once, these claims aren’t just a placebo.
When breaking down the flavonoids in chamomile tea, the body produces two compounds — hippurate and glycine. Hippurate has various antibacterial properties which can boost your immune response during an infection. Meanwhile, glycine is a potent nerve relaxant that can lull you to sleep, and speed up healing.
Therefore, chamomile, in conjunction with other medication, is the fastest way to recover from a cold. What’s more, even if you don’t drink the tea regularly, your hippurate and glycine levels will stay elevated for weeks. This, in turn, will keep your immune system strong long after you’ve recovered from your illness.
6. A Good Way to Soothe Irritated Skin
Image source: Pinterest
Chamomile doesn’t just soothe the mind — it can also soothe your skin.
The plant’s antioxidants are the perfect antidote for rashes, acne, or irritated skin. It can help reduce redness and swelling, especially when you apply it topically. Simply mix the tea with honey and oatmeal for a natural face scrub that will hydrate your skin and remove any dirt clogging up your pores.
Apart from clearing your skin, chamomile can help rejuvenate it too. The plant contains phytochemicals and bioactive compounds that trigger cell regeneration. This, in turn, can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and improve the elasticity of your skin. Plus, you can also use the tea to heal any sunburns and cool down your skin after a trip to the beach.
7. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s immune response — it’s a sign your body is working hard to repair any injury or infection currently bothering you. However, the issue arises when there is too much inflammation.
Excess inflammation is unpleasant and painful. What’s more, it’s often a symptom of various autoimmune diseases like arthritis, gout, or hemorrhoids. In most cases, you’ll need to manage the inflammation with prescription medication. However, you can also supplement them with chamomile for extra relief.
The plant contains many beneficial chemicals that can calm an overactive immune system. Similarly, because of its anti-stress properties, it may have a positive impact on the amount of pain you experience during an arthritis flare-up. So, if you struggle with excess inflammation, brew yourself a cup of chamomile and let the tea work its magic.
8. Can Help Manage Diabetes
Out of all the preventable diseases plaguing the world, diabetes is the most common. Currently, over 415 million people worldwide suffer from type 2 diabetes. What’s more, the CDC estimates that by 2040, that number will increase to a staggering half a billion.
These figures are quite concerning, so health experts have taken to doing whatever they can to combat the illness. Mostly, they recommend patients manage blood sugar levels with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and various supplements — such as chamomile tea.
The antioxidants in chamomile can help stop liver cell damage that occurs when you have chronically elevated blood sugar. Similarly, researchers discovered that drinking chamomile tea improved fasting blood sugar levels in mice with diabetes. It also prevented drastic spikes in blood glucose shortly after a meal, which is vital for managing diabetes long-term.
Nevertheless, these findings are strictly related to animal testing. More research is needed to confirm if chamomile can help human diabetes patients as well.
9. Improves Digestive Health
A surprising number of people suffer from digestive issues. Be it food intolerances, allergies, or IBS, between 15%-20% of the world’s population experience an upset stomach. If you’re among them, then chamomile tea may offer the relief you’ve been searching for.
In a recent study, scientists uncovered that giving chamomile extracts to rats with every meal reduced rates of stomach ulcers. This is because the plant is rich in antioxidants that specifically interact with stomach acid, and help soothe a distressed belly.
Likewise, they can also inhibit the growth of bacteria that are responsible for causing ulcers, as well as reduce nausea and relieve stomach cramps. In short, drinking chamomile tea may be the key to preserving long-term gut health.
However, it’s important to mention that these were animal trials. Scientists have yet to see if the plant has the same impact on the human digestive tract.
10. Protects the Heart
The last, but certainly not least, of chamomile’s impressive properties is its role in preventing heart disease.
As of 2018, around 30 million adults in the US have been diagnosed with some form of heart disease. The CDC says it’s currently one of the leading causes of death nationwide, with 1 in 4 people dying of heart-related issues. Though the causes of heart disease are many and varied, the most common one has to do with elevated levels of cholesterol.
Increased LDL cholesterol causes plaque to build up in your arteries. This makes your blood pressure rise as your heart struggles to pump enough blood and oxygen to the rest of your body. Over time, the added stress leads to the weakening of your heart muscle, and the development of various illnesses.
However, drinking chamomile tea could potentially help you avoid these issues. Chamomile plants are naturally rich in flavones. Recent research has shown that this class of antioxidants has the ability to lower chronically elevated blood pressure. Likewise, the flavones impact cholesterol, decreasing LDL levels while boosting HDL or good cholesterol.
Consequently, if you’re worried about your future heart health, consider adding a cup of chamomile to your daily routine. It may be exactly what your heart needs to stay working at top speed.
Potential Risks of Chamomile Tea
Image source: Pinterest
Even the most powerful remedies have their downsides, and chamomile is no exception. Granted, it doesn’t have quite the same negative impacts as hibiscus or yerba mate. However, it does have a few side effects you should be aware of before you decide to start drinking it.
1. Not Recommended for Pregnant People
While chamomile is beneficial for period pain, it’s not something you want to consume when pregnant. As mentioned, the plant has anti-estrogenic properties. This means that the phytoestrogens in chamomile mimic the effects of estrogen in the body.
So, ingesting chamomile during pregnancy could throw off your hormonal balance. Though the evidence on this is sparse, some researchers theorize that it can overstimulate the uterus, and potentially induce a miscarriage.
2. Can Trigger Asthma
If you’re allergic to chamomile, then avoiding it is a no-brainer. However, you may want to refrain from using it even if you aren’t allergic to this flower, specifically.
As mentioned, chamomile belongs to the daisy flower family. This order of plants includes common allergens like ragweed, marigolds, dandelions, and chrysanthemums. Consequently, if you’re sensitive to any of these plants, then there is a chance chamomile may trigger the same rashes, watery eyes, and even bouts of asthma.
But, if you’ve already taken chamomile and felt fine, then it’s likely the plant is completely safe for you.
3. Interacts With Medications
Most herbal teas can interact with various prescription medications — and chamomile is no different.
Research shows that the plant can increase the risk of bleeding if you’re taking blood thinners like naproxen. Likewise, consuming too much chamomile when you’re on blood pressure medication could make your blood pressure decrease too much. This can trigger dizziness, nausea, and even induce fainting spells.
Therefore, it’s vital to consult with your doctor before drinking chamomile to avoid aggravating your pre-existing illness.
4. May Cause Too Much Drowsiness
Drinking chamomile before bed is a fantastic way to catch quality sleep. However, too much of it can also interfere with your ability to stay alert and focused. Chamomile is a natural sleep aid with some pretty sedative properties.
So, when taken in conjunction with other sleep supplements, it can increase your drowsiness, and make it harder for you to stay awake. Thus, you should only drink it before going to bed to avoid feeling fatigued throughout the day.
Is it OK to Drink Chamomile Tea Every Day?
The beauty of chamomile is that it’s one of the safest teas you can drink. Unlike other herbs such as green tea or yerba mate, chamomile doesn’t have the same negative side effects that come from overconsumption.
If you don’t suffer from any of the above-mentioned conditions, then you’re welcome to drink it every day. Anywhere between 1-5 cups a day is fine if you enjoy the tea. To make it a bit more palatable, feel free to sweeten it with honey, or squeeze some lemon juice for a dose of vitamin C.
Featured image source: Pinterest.com