Soothing chamomile is one of the most popular herbs for making tea. From decreasing stress to helping you sleep better, here are 7 health benefits of chamomile tea.
Mild, sweet, and slightly earthy, dried chamomile flowers make a wonderfully soothing cup of herbal tea. It is no wonder that this calming herb is popular around the world.
Perhaps best known for helping us find peace and calm, chamomile tea is often used as a natural remedy for insomnia and stress. But its benefits for our health don’t stop there. Chamomile’s soothing nature is also great for supporting digestion, easing menstrual pains, and relieving cold and flu symptoms.
What Is Chamomile?
Chamomile is a member of the daisy family, which becomes clear as soon as you see its cheerful white petals and yellow centre. There are many varieties, but only two are typically used to make herbal tea; German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).
Chamomile is native to Europe and western Asia but is now cultivated in many countries around the world. The tea is made from dried chamomile flowers and is one of the most popular herbal teas, with an estimated million cups drunk globally every day.
The popularity of this herbal tea goes back millennia. The Ancient Egyptians considered chamomile sacred, a gift from the sun god, Ra. The Greeks and Romans both used it for its medicinal benefits, and it remained popular in medieval Europe as a treatment for a wide range of ailments, including stomach complaints, fever, and insomnia.
Today, chamomile tea is still prized for its many health benefits, which are increasingly supported through scientific studies. Here are some of its main benefits for our health and wellbeing.
1. A Better Night’s Sleep
One of chamomile’s most famous uses is as a sleep promoter and a natural remedy for insomnia. It contains a flavonoid called apigenin, which has a similar effect in our brains to benzodiazepines – a type of sedative medication used to treat anxiety and sleeplessness.
Drinking chamomile tea regularly may help you fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep. Since sleep is vital to our physical and mental health, getting that extra rest will have a knock-on effect on the rest of your life too.
2. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Chamomile’s apigenin content isn’t only great for helping us sleep better. It also helps to calm stress and anxiety. Chamomile acts as an anxiolytic, which means it reduces the symptoms of anxiety and helps us find peace and relaxation.
If your worries are keeping you up at night, chamomile’s ability to soothe anxiety and promote a good night’s sleep is a great combination.
3. An Aid to Digestion
We’ve already seen how chamomile can help to soothe our minds. Fortunately, it has a similar effect on our bodies, especially the digestive tract.
Chamomile has been used for centuries to treat stomach complaints and digestive issues, including gas, diarrhoea, and colic. As an anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic, chamomile acts to relax the muscles of the digestive tract and reduce inflammation.
4. Soothes Sore Throats and Coughs
As an antispasmodic, chamomile helps to suppress the cough reflex and ease throat spasms. It helps to lubricate the throat too, which can relieve some of that scratchy, painful feeling. And its anti-inflammatory properties mean it can soothe swollen and irritated tissues.
5. Manages Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar levels can be a cause for concern, especially in people with diabetes. Long-term high blood pressure is an issue for anyone, however, as it can increase the risk of damage to our nerves, blood vessels, heart, and other organs.
Chamomile tea may help to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Drinking it regularly can have a noticeable effect on average blood glucose levels and may also help to protect your pancreas, the organ responsible for making insulin.
6. Supports Your Heart Health
Chamomile is full of flavonoids, a group of antioxidants found in plants that help to protect our bodies against the effects of oxidative stress. Over time, damage from oxidative stress can cause chronic inflammation and lead to a range of health issues, including cardiovascular disease.
Getting plenty of flavonoids in our diets can help to lower our risk of developing heart problems. Chamomile may also reduce our LDL cholesterol levels – this is the type of cholesterol that narrows our arteries and can lead to high blood pressure.
7. Eases Menstrual Cramps and PMS
Chamomile’s ability to relax our muscles and prevent spasms can help to relieve menstrual cramps. It also inhibits the production of prostaglandins. These compounds play a role in inflammation and are thought to be responsible for period pains in cases where there isn’t another underlying cause (such as endometriosis).
Chamomile can also help to reduce heavy bleeding. And its mildly sedative effect might combat the symptoms of PMS too, balancing our mood and reducing the anxiety and depression that often accompany this stage of our cycles.
Is It OK to Drink Chamomile Tea Every Day?
Chamomile tea is generally safe and well-tolerated. Like many herbal teas, it works best when you drink it regularly – it is fine and even encouraged to drink two-three cups a day.
However, people with allergies to members of the daisy family will probably want to avoid this herb. There also haven’t been many studies on its effects in children, or during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
If you are taking any medication, consult your doctor before taking herbal remedies – some herbs can interact with other medicines.
When Should I Drink Chamomile Tea?
Chamomile tea is a delicious choice at any time of day. If you want to relieve sleeplessness or insomnia, you might want to drink it in the evening before you settle down for the night. It is also a calming choice to reach for when you are feeling stressed or worried.
We like to use chamomile alongside other calming herbs to combine the benefits into one soothing cup of tea, which is why we came up with NutraRelax, our premium blend designed to promote relaxation and give you a better night’s sleep.