For many centuries, people have used herbs to treat illnesses. The medicinal properties of these plants have benefited people's health in more ways than we can imagine. Even up to now, when modern advancements in medical care have been made and synthetic drugs have become the dominant tool for treating diseases, many still rely on the natural goodness of these herbs. One example is chamomile.
What is Chamomile?
Chamomile is the common name used to refer to the plant from the family Asteraceae with the appearance like daisies. It contains a flavonoid called chrysin, which has anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects on rodents and sleep-inducing qualities for humans. It's the national flower of Russia that is also known as a great way to reduce stress.
Types of Chamomile
For many years, people in the United States have used this herb as tea to relieve stomach ailments and help induce sleep. There are two types of chamomile that are used for medicinal purposes:
- German Chamomile (Matricaria retutica)
- Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
Benefits of Chamomile
German chamomile is more commonly used and studied about. In Germany, a governmental organization called Commission E has confirmed chamomile's ability to fight bacteria, relieve stomach cramps, and reduce swelling. It has approved the use of this herb either as tea or dietary supplement for better health.
Nowadays, chamomile can be purchased in the form of dried flower heads, tea, liquid extract, creams, ointments and tinctures.
As mentioned earlier, chamomile is used for:
- alleviating stress
- helping a person to get sleep
- fighting bacterial infections
- reducing swelling
- relieving upset stomach
Other than these, the German chamomile is used to treat:
- irritations that come from gum inflammation
- slow-healing wounds
- chest colds
It also helps with the symptoms of a variety of skin conditions like:
- diaper rash
For these skin conditions, the chamomile is usually used in bath or infusion, or as tincture. As tincture, it means that the extract is concentrated and mixed with alcohol.
The Roman chamomile, meanwhile, is used as tea for treating:
- menstrual pain
- stomach cramps
However, limited studies have been done on the beneficial effects of this particular type of chamomile.
Is Chamomile Safe?
Generally, it is safe to use. After all, it has been used for many years now.
- It's a must to know that it contains pollen that may possibly cause allergic reactions. People who have allergic reactions to ragweed are advised against using this.
- It should also be avoided by people who are taking anticoagulants or blood-thinning medications.
- It's also vital to remember that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements. This means that these can be sold in the market even with limited or no research about its safety and effectiveness. Because of this, talk to your doctor first if you intend to take this as a dietary supplement or in any other form.