Things that are a must for your medicine cabinet: Vitamin C, Band-Aids, aspirin and … chamomile?
I’ve been slowly building up my natural medicine cabinet for a few years now. It’s stocked with all the basics most of us grew up with, like Neosporin and aspirin, as well as a variety of herbs, teas and tinctures that I’ve tested throughout the years.
While I have some favorites, the one medicinal herb I can’t live without is chamomile. Not only is it one of the most popular home remedies out there, it’s also one of the most effective herbs for all sort of ailments.
Everything from insomnia to stomach aches can benefit from a cup of freshly steeped tea. And since it’s easy to come by (you can often find the tea at your local grocery store) you never really have to worry about running out.
Here’s all the reasons you should never be without chamomile in your medical kit.
What is Chamomile Good For
Most of us only think of chamomile as a tea used to promote sleep. But it turns out that chamomile flowers are actually one of the most popular and versatile herbs on the planet. For centuries, people have used chamomile for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
Nowadays it’s also used in everything from teas, body products and cosmetics to promote tranquility, skin health and overall wellness. The list goes on and on, but here are some of the most common uses for chamomile:
Chamomile is a mild sedative, making it great for improving sleep quality and relaxation. Its calming effect is thought to be attributed to apidenin, a flavonoid said to decrease anxiety and muscle tension.
2. Pain relief
Glycine, a chemical found in high quantities in chamomile, helps relieve muscle spasms and relax nerves, making it great at easing all sorts of aches and pains. Studies show that chamomile is effective in relieving arthritis, back pain, bedsores and stomach cramps. High glycine levels may also help relax the uterus, explaining why the tea appears to relieve menstrual cramps
3. Stomach ailments
Thanks to its antispasmodic properties, chamomile can help relieve upset stomach, stomach cramps, irritable bowel syndrome and indigestion.
4. Cold and Flu
Chamomile has potent antibacterial and antifungal properties. Drinking chamomile tea has been shown to raise the body’s natural infection-fighting ability, helping you recover more quickly.
In addition to taking it internally, chamomile can be used as a topical skin treatment. Applying the tea directly to skin can help lower inflammation, promote healing and improve the appearance of acne scars.
The herb isn’t just good for physical relaxation, it’s said to help with emotional relaxation as well. Take it in tea or tincture form to calm the nerves and lower stress. It can also be given to hyper children to help them relax.
7. Eye and Skin Infections
Because it’s naturally antibacterial, you can use chamomile to fight infections. Make a strong cup of chamomile tea and use a soaked cotton ball to wipe the infected area every hour throughout the day. The infection should be gone within 24-36 hours.
Where to get Chamomile
I’ve seen chamomile tea at many chain grocery stores and local super markets. You also may be able to find the dried flowers in the bulk bins at health foods stores. If you can’t find it locally, you can buy it in bulk online from a place like Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon.
How to Take It
The list of ways that chamomile can be used is surprisingly long, but some popular methods include:
- diffusing the essential oil
- taking it in tincture, tea or capsule form
- applying the tea directly to skin
- adding it to homemade beauty products
Although it is commonly used medicinally, there is no standard dose for chamomile. Most studies use somewhere between 400 milligrams to 1,600 milligrams daily in capsule form. When taken as a tea, it’s said that you can drink safely drink up to four cups a day. As with most herbs, its best to ask your doctor or naturopath should you have any questions about the dosage.32