Herbal Spotlight: A Look Into Chamomile
Tummy Tonic and Anxiety Release from our tea line both have this beautiful herb.
Chamomile, commonly found in tea, is one of the most versatile herbs spanning over centuries of use. Greek physicians Hippocrates and Dioscorides, Roman physician Galen, and naturalist Pliny the Elder all incorporated chamomile into their practices, and even the Ancient Egyptians were known to have used it in the mummification process. 
Today, Chamomile continues to be studied for its wide variety of uses and effects, and should definitely be a staple in your healing repertoire.
Here are some of the benefits of Chamomile, otherwise known as the “earth-apple” according to the ancient Greeks.
The essential oils from chamomile contain several antioxidants, such as:
- Terpenoids (chamazulene and acetylene)
- Phenolic compounds and flavonoids (apigenin, quercetin, patuletin, and glucosides) 
All of these vital antioxidants help in the battle against disease and aging, promoting optimal health and longevity.
One of the well-known benefits of chamomile is its ability to ease a troubled mind, whether it’s related to stress, anxiety, or depression. For instance, according to research, “Chamomile may provide clinically meaningful antidepressant activity that occurs in addition to its previously observed anxiolytic activity.” 
As aromatherapy, the vapors derived from chamomile extract also function as a mild sedative, traveling to the olfactory part of the brain where they help to ease tension and lower the body’s response to stress. 
Speaking of sedatives, it’s not exactly an easy feat being able to get a full night’s rest if you’re caught in the coils of stress. As it turns out, the flavonoid apigenin found in chamomile binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain, helping to promote sleep. 
In animal studies, low doses of chamomile have been shown to relieve anxiety, with high doses helping with sleep. 
Next to relieving stress, chamomile is also attributed to its effects towards digestion. It’s essential oils contain anodyne compounds, which are both anti-spasmodic and carminative. In other words, it helps to relieve a whole host of gastrointestinal complaints, including constipation and diarrhea, intestinal spasms and stomach pains, nausea, heartburn, and vomiting. When used as an ingredient in ointments Chamomile may also improve hemorrhoids.  Not only that, there are studies in preclinical models that suggest Chamomile inhibits H. Pylori (a common bacterial overgrowth linked to stomach cancer and ulcers) and reduces muscle spasms associated with various inflammatory disorders in the GI-tract. 
Chamomile is also an excellent herb for supporting the gut-brain connection due to its mind-relaxing properties, supporting the parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest”)/ Vagus Nerve which in large part impacts the way we process our food. 
The holiday season is upon us, as well as the foreboding cloud of colds and flu. While even the healthiest of warriors are susceptible to the annual sniffles, it doesn’t hurt to keep one’s defenses as strong as possible. One of the easiest measures one can take is to simply brew up a nice mug of tea. In a 2005 study, people who drank five cups of chamomile on a daily basis for two weeks showed signs of a stronger immune system. 
However, if you do find yourself dealing with an infection, no need to threat. Try inhaling chamomile steam to break up the congestion, or gargling either chamomile tea or extract to lower the inflammation of mucous membranes within the mouth and throat. 
The stress-lowering effects of chamomile aren’t only limited to our internal health, but to our external health as well. If it’s a diaper rash or bout of eczema, chamomile has you covered. Chamomile is so effective at relieving swelling, inflammation, and irritation that it’s caught the eyes of the German Governmental Organization (Commission E), which has approved its topical use on the skin to reduce swelling and fight bacteria, as well as internal use for reducing stomach cramps.  Chamomile is a pivotal ingredient in the German-made herbal formulation known as Iberogast, which has been used and studied for its treatment towards a variety of digestive disorders, including IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).  That’s another score for Mother Nature, but heads up, it’s coming back for more! Research has shown chamomile to be up 60% as effective as 0.25% of hydrocortisone cream, proving the power of plants!  If you’re dealing with anything related to inflammation or upset towards your skin, keep an eye out for chamomile as an ingredient in whatever cream or serum you choose to buy.
Whenever you need to calm things down, whether it’s down in your gut, up in your head, and out on your skin, look no further than chamomile to see you through.
The only precautions that should be taken in regards to chamomile are related to those with allergies to ragweed (and its relatives), pregnant women (as chamomile is a mild uterine stimulant), and patients taking blood thinners (due to chamomile being an anticoagulant; may possibly interfere with medication). 
Otherwise, this herb is anything but harmful, and should be treated as yet another healing gift from nature.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a cup of tea to make.