Chamomile tea is one of the most popular herbal teas in the world. It is renowned for its pleasant flavor and calming properties. Although famous as a sleep aid, chamomile tea also has many other health benefits.
Chamomile tea has been used for centuries. It was used by the ancient Egyptians and it was known to the ancient Greeks as one of the sacred herbs. The name "chamomile" comes from the Greek name "kamai-melon" meaning "ground apple."
There are several different types of chamomile, but the two most common for making chamomile tea are "Roman chamomile" and "German chamomile." Roman chamomile is native to Europe and North Africa, and German chamomile is native to western Asia.
Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea has traditionally been used to treat a large number of ailments including bronchitis, fever, skin irritations, and as a relief from menstrual cramps and intestinal discomfort.
Recent scientific studies have backed up the folklore surrounding chamomile tea. It has been found to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, both essential for fighting disease. Other studies have pointed to its effectiveness as a sedative and as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Chamomile Tea Study
A 2005 English study published in the American Chemical Society’s "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" examined the effect of German chamomile tea on volunteers who consumed 5 cups of chamomile tea daily for two weeks. The researchers concluded that chamomile tea increases the levels of certain compounds which are associated with antibacterial activity.
In addition, chamomile tea appears to boost levels of glycine, an amino acid that relieves muscle spasms. This explains why chamomile tea is useful for treating menstrual cramps. Glycine is also a nerve relaxant which could be the reason why chamomile tea is a mild sedative.
The compounds that were boosted by drinking chamomile tea remained in the system for at least two weeks after the volunteers stopped drinking the infusion. This points to the long term effectiveness of regular chamomile consumption.
Further research is needed to verify these findings, but at the present moment we know for sure that chamomile tea is a safe, relaxing beverage. If you have any physical ailment or disease it is always best to consult your doctor, but you can be assured that chamomile tea can safely be used as a supplement to any mainstream medical treatment.