Camomile tea (or chamomile) is one of the most popular of all herbal teas. Its health benefits have long been championed in traditional herbal medicine. Did you know that even the Egyptians were singing about the benefits of camomile tea?
Made from camomile flowers that have been picked and dried, the benefits of camomile tea are said to be many and more research is being done all over the world. Although a very gentle plant, occasionally side effects and allergic reactions can occur, but this is mostly in those who already have an allergy to daisies, ragweeds and chrysanthemums.
1. Naturally caffeine free
Perhaps the best-known use of camomile tea is as a relaxing tea, in part because it is naturally caffeine free. Because camomile is part of the daisy or Asteraceae family of plants, it naturally contains no caffeine and so is a great and natural choice. Conversely, to decaffeinate ordinary black and green tea, the leaves undergo chemical processes which can leave residues and affect flavour, not to mention still leaving small amounts of caffeine in the tea. It is widely known that to protect our long-term health, we should stick to caffeine free teas from the afternoon onwards. This is because caffeine can disrupt our ability to fall asleep and can contribute to insomnia, anxiety and hypertension.
For generations, a cup of camomile tea has been recommended before bed to help with sleep quality and sleep quantity. Camomile contains a special antioxidant compound called ‘apigenin’ which is believed to have sedative effects and there are some interesting ongoing studies into these properties. If you are having trouble with your sleep then perhaps try a camomile-based tea such as our Organic Night Sky Calm, a blend of camomile with other sleepy herbs such as valerian and lavender. One of our newer teas, it is proving to be a ‘sleeper hit’ with people giving rave reviews about how it helps them unwind and nod off.
Another of the associated benefits of camomile tea is the role it might play in reducing stress and helping with mild anxiety. This is also thanks to the polyphenol ‘apigenin’ which is believed to soothe the system and help create a sense of calm. Also, because camomile tea is caffeine free, you can enjoy a cup of camomile tea at any time of the day when you feel you might need to unwind, press pause and take a breather. Why not try our Organic Pure Camomile tea, made with high quality air-dried camomile flowers.
4. Heart healthConsuming camomile tea is also believed to help reduce the risk of heart disease. This is in part thanks to its calming properties as increased stress and anxiety can also impact the risk of heart disease. It is also possible that the special antioxidants in camomile might play a role in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, although a lot more research is needed in this area.
5. DigestionAnother traditional use of camomile is to help with digestion, an aspect key to our general health and wellbeing. Stress can often lead to stomach-related issues. Fortunately, some of the effects of camomile tea seem to be thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties which can soothe the stomach and alleviate symptoms. In fact, traditionally it has been used to treat digestive issues such as cramps, indigestion, nausea, gas and even acid reflux. More and more attention is being paid now to the role digestion and gut health might play in both sleep quality and mental wellbeing.
6. Antispasmodic propertiesCamomile is also believed to have antispasmodic properties which help soothe muscle spasms from stomach cramp to period pain. Therefore, if you are looking for something to ease cramp, then it might be worth trying some camomile extract, or even better perhaps drink camomile tea. The warmth of the tea, plus the soothing, anti-inflammatory action might be just what your body is asking for.
7. Blood sugarAnother lesser-known aspect of camomile tea is the part it may play in controlling blood sugar levels in the body. This makes it an ideal drink for those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes for example. There are studies suggesting that camomile could help the production of insulin, the hormone responsible for removing sugar from your blood, thereby lowering blood sugar levels and reducing spikes after eating. In one study of 64 diabetic people, those who consumed camomile tea daily with meals for eight weeks had significantly lower average blood sugar levels than those who consumed water. Research continues but perhaps this is yet another reason why many people like to drink Camomile tea after a meal.
8. AntioxidantsYou may already know that green tea is high in antioxidants, and so too is Camomile. Antioxidants are believed to boost the immune system and protect cells against free radicals, which may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Your body produces these molecules when it breaks down food or if you're exposed to irritants such as smoke or radiation. There are some promising smaller studies that suggest that the antioxidants in Camomile, especially ‘apigenin’, may help in the fight against certain types of cancers such as that of the thyroid and digestive tract.
9. Treating skin
You will also often find camomile used as an ingredient in skincare products for calming, soothing and revitalising the skin. The practice of applying camomile to our skin goes back even to the Egyptians and Romans who used it to encourage the skin to heal. Thanks to the combination of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, camomile is still used to help with skin issues from blemishes and redness to eczema and psoriasis, as well as protecting the skin from environmental damage. Why not try using chilled camomile tea bags as an eye mask to help reduce puffiness and circles?
There are so many uses for camomile tea and research is continuing around the world. However, we think it’s biggest benefit, is softly sweet taste and apple flavours – soothing and delicious at any time of the day. Read more about Camomile here!