5 Benefits of Chamomile (Beyond Helping You Sleep!)

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Chamomile is far more than a classic bedtime cocktail. The superstar herb promotes relaxation and a good night’s rest, yes, but also a host of other health benefits. Derived from the chamomile plant—a member of the daisy family that’s native to Europe and North Africa—the popular tea ingredient supports everything from bone health to lower blood sugar.

Here are five ways the long-revered herb encourages wellness—and five ways to bring it into your life.

Mug of Chamomile Tea with Bunch of Chamomile Flowers and Bowl of Dried Petals to Represent Chamomile Benefits | Vitacost.com/blog

Chamomile Health Benefits

1. Supports sound digestion

Chamomile has understandably earned a reputation for its soothing effects—and the ease it fosters extends from your mind to your belly: A 2016 study published in the journal Phytomedicine found that chamomile may help with the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Thanks to the connection between your gut microbiome and your brain, this means that a calmer mind can support a calmer digestive process.

Indeed, studies have found that the reduced angst chamomile supports may help lessen stress-induced acid reflux. What’s more, chamomile possesses anti-spasmodic properties that can lull the aches and pains commonly associated with diarrhea and constipation.

Try it in…a digestive tonic. Urban Moonshine’s Calm Tummy Bitters brim with belly-comforting herbs, including ginger, dandelion and chamomile. Take a few dashes of these bitters (up to six times per day) before or after meals to give yourself a leg up on relief from gas and bloating.

2. Nurtures glowing skin

Man or woman, it’s safe to say that we all covet soft skin and a radiant complexion.  Chamomile may be the secret ingredient you’ve been searching for. The National Institutes of Health reports that chamomile flowers contain essential oils and flavonoids—a band of plant metabolites with antioxidant effects—that penetrate below the dermis and into the deeper skin layers, where genuine healing occurs.

Another study in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology demonstrated that one of chamomile’s active constituents, levomenol, can “diminish the signs of photo-damage, reduce pruritis (itchy skin), and ameliorate (read: improve) skin texture and elasticity.”

Try it in…an essential oil: Add two to three drops to a warm bath, soak it up, and savor your newfound silkiness.

3. Helps support immune health

A mug of hot herbal tea may be a given when you’re under the weather, but chamomile might help keep you from getting a bug in the first place: According to a study in Molecular Medicine Reports, 14 volunteers were given 5 cups of chamomile tea per day for two consecutive weeks. Urine samples, taken daily, revealed that drinking chamomile was associated with a notable increase in hippurate and glycin—two compounds that are linked to elevated anti-bacterial activities. Chamomile is also rich in phenolic compounds that organically back a more robust immune system.

Try it in…an herbal supplement. Why? Because even the most avid tea drinkers among us may have trouble drinking five cups of tea per day! Two 700-900mg capsules taken three times a day, however, may facilitate similar benefits.

4. Helps alleviate premenstrual symptoms

Belly bloat, heightened emotions, cramps—PMS can put a damper on your vitality. And while you may be drawn more to a bar of chocolate than a cup of tea, know that chamomile might be a more prudent choice. The Journal of Pharmacopuncture determined that chamomile can be an option when it comes to reducing period-related pain and regulating that-time-of-the-month mood swings. One reason for this is the fact that chamomile contains apigenin—a plant compound that affects the “impact of excitatory neurotransmitter and hormones on the mind and body, helping to soothe the over-firing sympathetic nervous system.”

Translation? You’ll be calmer—and your belly will follow suit. Additionally, chamomile tempers the actions of dopamine and serotonin, two brain chemicals that, if imbalanced, can result in those pre-period blues you may experience. And who doesn’t want to be happier?

Try it in…an herbal extract. Herb Pharm’s Chamomile Nervous System is obtained from hand-harvested chamomile flowers that are picked at their optimal potency to assure the extraction of the herb’s most powerful bioactive compounds. Put up to 40 drops of the extract in water, your favorite juice or a glass of Perrier: The carbonation might help ease PMS-related nausea, too.

5. Reduces pain

We’re all vulnerable to the occasional ache and pain, whether it be a migraine or a dull throbbing in our lower back. Rather than reaching for an OTC remedy, consider chamomile instead. Known in some cultures as “nature’s aspirin” (for example, women in Mexico are typically given a cup of chamomile after labor to mitigate abdominal pain) chamomile, as mentioned, contains flavonoids (as in, 36 types of them)—compounds that have any effect on prostaglandins that, in turn, can relax sore muscles, assuage the symptoms of arthritis and relieve sinus pressure.

As for that migraine? Research hypothesizes that chamomile’s polyphenols and other chemical compounds have neuro-protective effects that may help relieve migraine pain. Is it any wonder why Germans refer to the herb as alles zutrat, or “capable of anything?”

Try it in…a cuppa. Numi’s Organic Chamomile Lemon tea blends earthy chamomile with sweet Australian myrtle leaves for a brew that’ll leave you replenished.

These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.