Chamomile is one of (if not my) absolute favorite herbs! As someone who is always on the go and occasionally under stress, the gentle quality of Chamomile helps to prepare me for the day ahead and/or also to set my mind at ease at the end of a long hectic day. It can be taken as a tea, diffused as an oil, and is used in numerous over the counter beauty and health products for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Typically, the two varieties used are either German Chamomile, or Roman Chamomile. Some of the benefits of Chamomile are:
1. Ease Anxiety – Those with anxiety disorder, Type A personality, or a general feeling of uneasiness or nervousness will find that this herb is very calming. It’s best to drink a cup of chamomile tea in the morning before your day begins to help keep you calm and centered. Make it a ritual by sipping it leisurely and enjoying the light taste. You can also diffuse Chamomile oil in your home or car as the scent is also effective. For added benefit, diffuse the oils while taking a warm bath (you can even put chamomile tea bags in your bath water).
2. Help Sleep Better – Because it helps to relax the mind, the gentle and naturally caffeine free tea makes it a great one to sip before bedtime. It can also be taken as a tincture or the oil diffused at your bedside. It will help in falling asleep faster, staying asleep during the night, and preventing nightmares/night terrors.
3. Digestive Health – This herb is great for stomach issues pertaining to inflammation such as Chron’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. However, it is also effective against other GI issues such as general stomach upset, diarrhea, or gas. Its anti-spasmodic qualities help to reduce pain associated with cramping such as general lower abdominal cramping from stomach ache, or menstrual cramping. Since Chamomile is a big stress reducer it can also quell symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) since this syndrome is exacerbated with stress or emotions.
4. Skin Health/Sensitive Skin – Being fair skinned myself, my skin is super sensitive to a lot of chemicals and products out on the market. There are now a number of products such as facial creams, masks, or cleansers that contain Chamomile for it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties (acne, eczema, rosacea, etc.) and I highly recommend them for all skin types and especially for sensitive skin. If you’d rather not buy anything over the counter, you can make your own skin tonics using the tea water or grow your own Chamomile plant and dry out the flowers for use in your own homemade products. As mentioned above, you can put chamomile tea bags in your bath for a relaxing and mellow treat for your skin. It’s also good for conditions such as wounds, canker sores, or cuts and bruises.
5. Puffy Eyes – The anti-inflammatory properties of Chamomile also help to reduce eye puffiness, swelling and redness. I like to save my used tea bags (put them in a plastic or paper cup) and stick them in the refrigerator for a little bit to cool. Once they’ve reached the desired coolness take them out, lay down, put the cool tea bags over your eyes and relax! It’s like treating yourself to a spa treatment minus spending all of the money.
6. Allergies – Chamomile is a part of the Asteraceae or Compositae family (daisies, dandelion, ragweed are also part of this group just to name a few others). If you are allergic to ragweed pollen then Chamomile and its tea may irritate you or cause an allergic reaction. Otherwise, Chamomile has been found to be a helpful homeopathic remedy in treating hay fever due to it’s anti-histamine qualities. Adding a bit of local made honey to the tea will enhance the benefits further as local honey is also effective in treating allergies (especially seasonal allergic rhinitis).
7. Oral Health – The mouth is where our digestion begins. In addition to helping the further reaches of our gastrointestinal track, Chamomile helps with mouth sores/canker sores, toothaches, gum pain or inflammation and helps fight bacterial infections/gingivitis, and bad breath.
8. Boosts Immunity – Regular consumption of chamomile tea can boost immunity thereby helping fight against the common cold and cough. Bonus – If you incorporate Elderberry Syrup (separately) into your routine along with Chamomile tea then you’ve got a great “flu shot” or flu fighting regimen perfect just in time for flu season!
9. Hemorrhoids – Hemorrhoids can arise for many reasons but the type I’m referring to are the result of straining which can commonly stem from emotional symptoms such as a fear of letting go or letting things happen naturally, trying too hard or worrying too much about things (from a Chinese Medicine perspective). Since Chamomile is found to be a calming and soothing herb, incorporating the tea into your diet can help ease these symptoms and help treat hemorrhoids for this reason. For additional relief you can make a salve or apply the oil directly to the site of discomfort or take a warm bath using Chamomile flowers or tea water.
**It’s important to note that pregnant women or those with allergies to ragweed pollen should not include chamomile in their diet until speaking with their medical doctor as it could increase risk for miscarriage or worsen symptoms of allergic reaction.