Chamomile, or camomile, has been used for its numerous beneficial effects since ancient Egypt. It is a perennial herb that grows over large areas of Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia, and was later introduced to North America and Australia. Its best known effect is as a soporific and it is commonly taken as a tea at bedtime because of this. It should be avoided by people with thin blood or who are taking blood thinning medications because it contains coumarin.
Do NOT use Camomile Essential Oil to make this tea.
Chamomile contains glycine, which is known to have a soothing effect on the nerves and this effect is used to promote drowsiness at bedtime. It is usually taken as an herbal tea that should be steeped covered for 10 to 15 minutes so that the volatile oils do not evaporate. These soporific effects may decrease over time if the tea is taken regularly.
Chamomile helps improve digestion on all counts with regular, long term use. It contains a chemical called alpha-bisabolol or A-bisobol that can help speed the healing of ulcers. Chamazulene is another chemical in camomile that reduces swelling and has antimicrobial properties to help control bacteria. It also contains quercitin and tannins that help toughen the digestive system by pulling the protein cells tighter together, thus strengthening the blood vessels and stomach lining. It is soothing to the nerves, which can help prevent the stomach from being agitated; contains an antispasmodic that can help with cramps; and may stimulate the producton of digestive juices because of certain bitter elements. It has also been used as a folk remedy for children with colic because of its calming effect on the nerves and the beneficial effects on the digestive system.
“Camomile tea can help keep diabetes under control'”, reports the Daily Mail. A new study has suggested that “the drink lowers blood sugar levels and can help prevent complications arising from the condition, including blindness, kidney disease, and nerve and circulatory damage”, the newspaper says.
These findings come from a study in rats, and Dr Victoria King, of Diabetes UK, is quoted as saying that, “More research would be needed before we can come to any firm conclusions about the role camomile tea plays in fighting diabetes-related complications.”
It is far too early to suggest that camomile tea might help prevent the serious complications that can result from diabetes. People with diabetes should continue to follow their doctor’s instructions about diet, exercise and treatment and should only drink camomile tea if they like it, not in the hope that it will alleviate their diabetes.
Dr Atsushi Kato and colleagues from the University of Toyama in Japan and the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research carried out this research. No sources of funding for the study were reported. It was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
1 cup of Water
1 teaspoon of dried Camomile Flowers
- Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan.
- Sprinkle the flowers onto the water and boil for a further half a minute with the saucepan lid on.
- Remove from the heat and stand for another minute.
- Serve with honey and a little lemon juice.
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