Who has never heard of chamomile tea? This is a very popular tea used for centuries as a traditional remedy for the most diverse health problems.
Chamomile tea has several antioxidant properties that help protect the body from various diseases and components that help regulate sleep and the digestive process, for example. In addition, chamomile can be an interesting alternative for people sensitive to caffeine.
Here, you will stay on top of all the benefits of chamomile tea and learn the correct way to make the drink to include in your diet.
Chamomile is an herb derived from the flowers of plants of the Asteraceae family . This plant has chemical compounds called flavonoids, responsible for most of the medicinal effects of chamomile for our health. Substances such as sesquiterpenes and other antioxidant compounds beneficial to the human organism are also found in chamomile.
What is it for
Chamomile tea is widely used as a calming tea, which can help you relax and sleep due to the lack of caffeine. In addition, it is a tea capable of aiding digestion, preventing nausea, protecting the skin, reducing stress, relieving cramps, preventing cramps and treating problems such as diarrhea and bloating.
In addition to tea, it is also possible to find chamomile extract, which can be used in capsules or for the production of oils to be used in aromatherapy or skin lotions, for example. It is no wonder that chamomile is often used to make baby products such as shampoos, baby wipes and soaps due to its soothing and soothing effect.
Chamomile tea properties
In chamomile, its soothing and antioxidant properties that promote muscle relaxation, improve sleep and protect the body from inflammation and disease stand out.
In addition, its nutritional properties are very interesting. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference , chamomile tea contains several nutrients that include vitamins such as folate, riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamine (vitamin B1) and vitamin A and minerals such as potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
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Another good news is that 1 cup of chamomile tea prepared with approximately 237 grams of the plant contains only 2 calories and 0.47 grams of carbohydrates.
But after all, what are the benefits of chamomile tea? We will know below how it can be beneficial for your health.
Benefits of chamomile tea
- Promotes sleep and relaxes the body
This is the classic benefit of chamomile tea. At some point in your life, you may have seen a situation where a chamomile tea is offered to someone nervous or even to calm a restless baby.
In an animal study, a chamomile extract helped mice suffering from sleep disorders to fall asleep more quickly. For results like these, many researchers believe that chamomile tea can function as a benzodiazepine, which is a class of drugs prescribed to help people suffering from depression or anxiety to fall asleep. This is due to the fact that some research suggests that chamomile is able to bind to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain, producing effects similar to that of the drug.
Chamomile also seems to help regulate sleep and we all know that sleeping well is a key to healthy living. Part of the relationship between chamomile and sleep promotion has to do with the substance known as apigenin, an antioxidant flavonoid that binds to specific receptors in the brain and helps promote sleepiness and reduce problems like insomnia or chronic inability to sleep.
In one study, women who had just given birth who drank chamomile tea for 2 weeks reported better sleep quality when compared to a group that did not drink tea. In addition, these women had fewer symptoms of postpartum depression, very common in women who are deprived of sleep after the end of pregnancy.
Another study indicates that people who ingested 270 milligrams of chamomile extract 2 times a day for 28 days woke up less during the night and fell asleep 15 minutes faster than individuals who did not take the extract.
According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology , chamomile tea can especially help people with sleep apnea and restless sleep to fall asleep more easily.
Despite promising research, more studies need to be conducted to assess the effects of chamomile tea on inducing sleep and reducing anxiety symptoms.
- Relieves menstrual cramps
Several studies show a direct relationship between the consumption of chamomile tea and the reduction of menstrual cramps.
One of those surveys done in 2010 indicates that drinking chamomile tea for a month can help reduce colic-related pain. In addition, the women who participated in this study claim that they experienced fewer symptoms of anxiety and distress associated with menstrual cramps.
This has to do with the anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile that help women cope better with menstruation symptoms, which in addition to cramps can include discomforts such as anxiety, swelling, sweating, insomnia and variations in mood.
- Promotes digestive health
According to experts, chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve intestinal discomfort and improve the digestive process.
In addition to facilitating gas flow and evacuation, chamomile tea can also relieve pain, spasms and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome . Animal studies also indicate benefits of chamomile tea in preventing stomach ulcers by reducing stomach acidity, which inhibits the growth and proliferation of bacteria associated with the development of ulcers.
Chamomile tea also has a diuretic action that helps to reduce swelling by eliminating water and fluids accumulated in the body. In addition to helping with the digestive process, this diuretic effect can also aid in weight loss.
- Helps prevent cancer
According to research conducted at the Department of Urology & Nutrition at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, USA, the apigenin present in chamomile is able to fight several cancer cells, including those that cause some types of cancer, such as breast, skin, uterus, prostate and what affects the digestive tract.
Some of this research claims that chamomile tea targets cancer cells and prevents those cells from developing.
Some studies also suggest that chamomile tea prevents the development of thyroid cancer. A study of 537 subjects showed that those who drank chamomile tea 2 to 6 times a week were less likely to develop thyroid cancer than people who did not drink it.
Another study published in 2012 compared the effects of combating cancer from marigold tea with chamomile tea. Both teas were able to attack cancerous tumors.
The antioxidants in chamomile must be responsible for these benefits of chamomile tea for the prevention of cancers. However, research in the area is still inconclusive and more studies need to be carried out in humans, since most of these studies were carried out only in animals.
- Help in controlling the glycemic index
Studies indicate that chamomile tea is able to help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
One of these studies carried out with rats in 2008 showed that regular consumption of chamomile tea can prevent the increase in the glycemic index. Such an effect is able to decrease the risk of diabetes complications in the long term.
This is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile, which help prevent damage to cells in the pancreas, which arise when blood sugar levels are constantly high. Having a healthy pancreas is essential for diabetics, as this organ is responsible for the production of insulin, a hormone that works by regulating the amount of sugar in the blood.
In this way, chamomile tea can work as a complementary treatment for those suffering from diabetes.
In a study of 64 diabetics, a lower blood sugar level was found in people who drank chamomile tea every day with meals for an 8-week period compared to individuals who drank only water.
Other animal studies indicate that chamomile tea can help prevent spikes in blood sugar right after a meal.
Despite the promising results, most studies have been done with animals and more research with humans needs to be done to confirm these benefits of chamomile tea.
- Reduces inflammation
Inflammatory processes occur in our body as a reaction of the immune system to fight an infection. Despite being a necessary defense mechanism to fight diseases, inflammations that persist for a long time can cause serious health problems such as arthritis, autoimmune diseases, hemorrhoids, gastrointestinal disorders and even depression.
Chamomile tea contains chemical compounds that help reduce inflammation in the body, preventing complications from inflammatory processes and helping to relieve problems such as menstrual, stomach or intestinal cramps, irritable bowel syndrome, muscle spasms and gastroenteritis, for example.
- Strengthens the heart
Chamomile tea is very rich in flavones, a class of flavonoid antioxidants that have great potential in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are factors that influence the development of heart disease.
Studies show that people who drink chamomile tea with meals show an improvement in the levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) when compared to patients who drink water with meals.
According to research published by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufs University in Boston, the United States, chamomile tea helps in reducing high blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels. This helps to make the heart healthier and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Helps in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to progressive loss of bone density. Such a loss increases the risk of breaking bones and postural problems. Although anyone can develop osteoporosis at some stage in life, the disease is more common in women after menopause due to the effects of the hormone estrogen.
According to a study published in 2004 in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry , chamomile tea can have antiestrogenic effects, which prevents the development of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
In addition, tea consumption seems to be related to the increase in bone density, since the plant is capable of stimulating the activity of osteoblasts, which are cells that act in bone construction and strengthening. Thus, there may be benefits of chamomile tea for preventing the disease by improving bone health. However, further studies on the subject still need to be carried out.
- Strengthens the immune system and helps fight colds and allergies
Phenolic compounds present in chamomile tea help to strengthen the immune system and prevent infections, allergies and diseases.
Some studies indicate that the inhalation of steam containing chamomile extract can promote the relief of symptoms of the common cold. It can also promote relief for sore throats.
In addition, chamomile tea can also help improve the body’s immune response to allergenic substances, acting as a natural antihistamine. However, further studies are needed to prove the benefits of chamomile tea on the immune system.
- Promotes skin and hair health
Several studies show that the direct application of chamomile extract to a wound can aid healing. Other studies also indicate that ointments containing chamomile help to treat skin problems such as eczema and other inflammatory conditions.
This is mainly due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of chamomile, which help to improve and accelerate wound healing, in addition to acting as an agent against premature aging.
Those who do not have access to the plant extract can prepare a concentrated chamomile tea, wait for it to cool and apply it to the skin with a cotton pad.
As for hair, studies indicate that chamomile tea improves the appearance of hair and makes it stronger. According to an article published in the International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences , the anti-inflammatory compounds found in chamomile help to relieve irritations on the scalp, eliminate microorganisms such as dandruff and make hair stronger and silky.
- Relieves stress and anxiety
Chamomile tea helps to relax and calm the body and mind. It is able to increase the levels of hormones such as serotonin and melatonin, which act in the regulation of mood and sleep, helping to reduce stress and anxiety symptoms.
Experts suggest taking 1 to 2 cups of tea a day to help reduce stress. The main studies on the subject, however, do not involve the use of tea, but of aromatherapy techniques or as a supplement.
There are also indications of the benefits of chamomile tea to relieve migraines and headaches. Research also suggests that chamomile tea helps to treat symptoms of postpartum depression.
Despite the promising results, more studies are being conducted to better understand the effect of chamomile tea on stress and anxiety relief.
- Promotes oral health
Chamomile tea helps to fight oral infections and prevent diseases such as caries and gingivitis. In addition, tea’s anti-inflammatory properties help relieve toothache.
How to make
Chamomile tea is a very easy drink to prepare. If buying chamomile, give preference to products that contain the entire flower, as it preserves the plant’s properties. If that is not possible, buy an extract or powdered dried flowers to make tea.
Method of preparation:
Heat the water until it boils. Then add a handful of well-washed chamomile flowers to the hot water. Cover the pan and let the mixture steep for a few minutes. Finally, just strain the drink and drink.
If you prefer, add a few drops of lemon or a little honey to improve the taste of the tea. Avoid using sugar.
Chamomile tea can be stored for drinking during the day as long as it is kept in a closed container in a dry place and protected from light.
Side Effects and Care
Chamomile tea is one of the safest teas out there, even for children. However, avoid drinking large amounts of tea early on. Tea can cause extreme drowsiness or other adverse effects when taken in excess. Thus, it is better to get your body used to chamomile through moderate doses.
There are also reports of allergy to chamomile. This happens with people who are already allergic to plants such as daisy, ambrosia and chrysanthemums, for example. It is worth mentioning that products such as creams and lotions that contain chamomile in their composition can also cause irritation to the skin or eyes. Therefore, it is recommended to do a test on a small region of the skin before applying any product on the entire body or face.
Although safe, pregnant or lactating women and very young children should avoid using chamomile tea without medical advice, as there are no complete studies on the effects of chamomile on these people.
Other people who should avoid using chamomile tea are:
- Individuals with a history of severe allergies, including allergies to herbs, plants, and pollen;
- People allergic to chamomile;
- Babies or very young children due to the risk of contamination by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism and which only individuals with the most developed immune system are able to fight.
Although there may be several health benefits of chamomile tea, it is never recommended to replace a medical treatment with the use of medicinal herbs without first talking to a health professional. Also, tell your doctor if you intend to drink the tea daily so that the plant does not interfere with your medical treatment in cases of diabetes, for example, when there is a risk of hypoglycemic episodes when the individual already takes a medication to control the index glycemic.
In all other cases, it is possible to enjoy the benefits of chamomile tea without fear, as long as used in moderation. Remember that everything in excess is bad for our health, and even with a harmless herb like chamomile, we must take this care and always maintain a balanced and healthy diet.