I’ve been drinking chamomile tea for a while now, mostly at night to help relax me before bed, but I recently started researching the health benefits of chamomile and found some studies indicating that it can actually help fight cancer. Needless to say, I was pretty surprised as I thought chamomile was just an herbal tea that helped with sleep. Boy, was I wrong!
What Is Chamomile?
Chamomile is the common name for a a daisy-like flower from the Asteraceae family, which has been used for centuries for its treatment of hay fever, inflammation, insomnia, muscle spasm, ulcers, gastrointestinal disorders, hemorrhoids, and a myriad of other ailments.
There are several different species of chamomile, but the two main ones are the German chamomile, and the Roman chamomile. Chamomile has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times all throughout Greece, Egypt, and Rome to treat all types of ailments from asthma, colic, skin conditions, fever, and even cancer.
Active Ingredient In Chamomile
Chamomile has various components that lead to its healing qualities, but the main active ingredient that helps fight cancer is called “apigenin”. A study done at Ohio State University found that apigenin can block the ability of cancer cells to live far longer than normal healthy cells, which keeps them from spreading, and makes them easier to treat with drug therapy.
Apigenin has also shown promising results for the treatment of other types of cancer including prostate, skin, thyroid, digestive, as well as treatment of cardiovascular and neurological disorders.
How Does Chamomile Help Fight Cancer?
In addition to the active flavonoid apeigenin, chamomile has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties, which is said to help in preventing and fighting cancer. Because inflammation and stress are both major components linked to cancer, chamomile helps reduce inflammation and stress to give your body the natural ability to help fight cancer cells.
Because of chamomile’s amazing anti-inflammatory properties, it can also be helpful in treating many other ailments that are caused by inflammation. Since chamomile has a myriad of health benefits, it’s no wonder why you should definitely be adding this tea to your daily diet.
What Type Of Chamomile Tea To Use
The two main chamomile species are German and Roman. Both have the flavonoid apigenin in them, so it’s really up to you which one you choose to use. What’s most important is getting a high quality tea, which may cost a little bit more, but in the long run it will be well worth it.
Most of the big brand tea you see in the store is a combination of various tidbits of tea, and sometimes they can be mixed with lesser quality leaves or herbs. What you want to look for in a good quality tea are large pieces of the actual plant, for instance with chamomile, you want to look for tea that includes the whole flower pistil, (the center of the flower where the pollen is).
The best tea to get would be raw bulk tea, the type you have to use a tea ball, or fill your own tea bag with. Here are a few good tea brands to try for chamomile:
- Frontier Chamomile Flowers, German Whole Organic Certified
- Davidson’s Bulk Tea
- Mighty Leaf Citrus Chamomile
Other Benefits Of Chamomile
In addition to the cancer fighting properties, chamomile has other wonderful uses for your health. Here are just some of the amazing benefits to chamomile:
Chamomile is usually known for its sleepy effects for people looking to relax before bedtime, but it’s also one of the best herbs for treating insomnia. It has also been used to reduce anxiety and stress, which can contribute to sleeping problems. Drinking a cup of high quality tea before bed can induce a relaxed state of mind and body, which will help you fall asleep easier and provide a thorough night’s sleep.
Relax Tired Eyes
One of the downsides to working on the computer all day is my eyes get rather tired after a few hours, and boy do I show it. Because of chamomile’s anti-inflammatory properties, simply placing a warm tea bag over each eye for a few minutes will help reduce dark circles, puffiness, and help relieve tired eyes.
Another wonderful herb to help relieve headaches and migraines, chamomile taken internally through tea, or applied topically via essential oil, will help reduce the pain from a nasty headache. Simply place 1-2 drops of chamomile essential oil above your upper lip to inhale the aroma, or add a few drops to a bowl of hot purified water, and gently inhale the steam.
Note: Chamomile is considered a safe herb to use for anyone, except in rare cases it may affect those with an allergy to ragweed. Always test a small amount before diving in!
Do you use chamomile for health? What is your favorite way to use it?