Mild and beautiful, for thousands of years chamomile has been a prized folk remedy and surely each of us drank it in childhood as a tea against cramps, stomach aches, to improve digestion. Everyone is familiar with its fragrant flower heads with dense tiny yellow flowers in the center and oblong white petals.
It blooms from June to August, loves dry and warm conditions. It probably originated in Eastern Europe and is now grown all over the world. Along with the German chamomile, the most famous to us is the Roman chamomile (Matricaria nobilis).
Indigestion is not the only pain that chamomile can alleviate. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and antiseptic effects, soothes menstrual and other pains, stimulates the liver, is good for hair and skin care and is a common ingredient in cosmetic preparations. It is rich in flavonoids, plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It is not yet known whether some other chemicals are responsible for its health benefits, but it is known that chamomile tea contains ingredients that can reduce inflammation, and inflammation is associated with many diseases – heart, digestive, autoimmune, arthritis, depression.
Some studies show that drinking chamomile tea can lower blood glucose in people with diabetes and that tea can be a useful support to therapy. This tea is widely used for relaxation and easier falling asleep, and this has been confirmed by several studies on humans. In studies in rats, chamomile extract helped sleep-deprived rodents fall asleep. Scientists believe that chamomile tea acts like benzodiazepines, anti-anxiety and insomnia medications, and research suggests that chamomile ingredients bind to the same receptors as this drug. Some studies suggest that chamomile ingredients can target cancer cells and even prevent the development of cancer cells, but there is no solid scientific evidence. Most research on this topic has been conducted on animals.
Tea, coatings, inhalations…
To prepare the tea, it is necessary to pour one to two tablespoons of chamomile flowers with 2.5 dl of boiling water. Stir, cover and leave for 30 minutes. Strain and drink. Similarly, compresses are prepared, pour a full spoonful of the flower with 2.5 dl of boiling water, let it stand for a short time and strain it. The dressings are used for wounds, for inflammation of the eye, to relieve fever. In addition to tea, compresses and creams, lotions and oils are prepared from chamomile, it is used in baths, for inhalation – the traditional method in the treatment of colds is inhalation of chamomile vapor placed in hot water.
The side effects of chamomile are not known. However, it can cause allergies. People allergic to pollen should be careful, because chamomile can be contaminated with pollen from other plants, and those who are allergic to other plants from the head family (in addition to chamomile, it contains more than a hundred genera, including ragweed, burdock, dandelion, chrysanthemum… ). Chamomile interferes with the absorption of homeopathic remedies so do not drink it if you are on a homeopathic cure.
Great for skin
One of the most well-known effects of chamomile is on the skin. Applying chamomile extract directly to the wound helps to heal, chamomile can help with eczema and mild inflammatory skin conditions, as well as acne, protects the skin from UV radiation and can improve the skin structure damaged by pollution, sun exposure, etc. It is also good for hair – prevents hair loss and gives it a glow.