It sometimes seems that life becomes more stressful and hectic every day. We have more and more responsibilities, activities, and obligations, but it often feels like we just don’t have enough time and energy to juggle it all. This has contributed to a growing stress epidemic in our society. Even when we have a little time in the evening to calm down and unwind, many people find it difficult to relax or let go of their stress.
However, there are naturally and healthy aids we can use to help us relax more and reduce stress. Chamomile is popularly known as an aid for treating insomnia and upset stomach. However, it is also a great herb for lowering stress and anxiety, and help to bring about a sense of calm. This amazing herb has long been used for its soothing properties, and is still one of the most effective tools for combating daily stress.
Chamomile actually defines a number of similar plant species in the daisy family. However, there are two main varieties of chamomile used for medicinal purposes, Roman and German. German chamomile is the type generally used for teas and other mixtures.
Chamomile’s Soothing Properties
Chamomile acts to relieve anxiety, reduce stress, and calm nerves. It is able to do this because of the unique and complex mix of compounds it contains. Chamomile contains dozens of different compounds, including terpenoids, flavenoids, and polyphenols. Many of these compounds have a variety of positive health benefits, including easing anxiety and stress. One compound in particular, called apigenin, has been found to bind to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain, which promotes relaxation.
Ways to Take Chamomile
You can benefit from the calming effects of chamomile by taking it through various methods. Although drinking chamomile tea is probably the most well-known and popular way to take the herb, you can also take it the following ways:
- Chamomile Supplement Capsules or Tablets – Chamomile supplements can be taken daily for therapeutic use. Dosages are usually between 1-2 grams per day, divided into two or three doses. This is a convenient way to take chamomile and an easy way to control how much you are taking. Follow the instructions for you specific supplement.
- Chamomile Liquid Extract – Liquid extracts are a great option for people who can’t swallow pills. They have the same advantage of taking a pill or capsule supplement, in that you are easily able to control your dosage. Suggested use is to take 1-2 ml of extract up to three times a day.
- Chamomile Tincture – Many people prefer to take herbs by making a tincture. A basic chamomile tincture can be made by boiling 1 1/2 cups of water and pouring the boiling water over 1 cup of dried chamomile flowers in a glass jar that has an airtight lid. Then pour in 1 1/2 cups of vodka or rum. Tighten the lid, then let the mixture combine for about a month, shaking occasionally. After a month, pour the mixture through a strainer or cloth. You can then use this tincture, as needed. A common dosage is 1 teaspoon of tincture, up to three times day. The great thing about making your own tincture, is that you can control the quality of the herbs you use.
How to Prepare Chamomile Tea
If you would like to take chamomile the traditional way, by preparing a delicious and soothing tea to help you relax and relieve stress, use the following instructions:
- Boil 8 ounces of water for each cup of tea you are making.
- Use about 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers for each cup of tea.
- Place the dried flowers in a teapot or cup.
- Just as the water starts to boil, remove it from the heat and pour it over the dried flowers.
- Cover the pot or cup and allow the flowers to steep for 5-15 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea. The longer the tea steeps, the more powerful the effects of the chamomile will be.
- Drink up to four cups, daily.
Other Health Benefits of Chamomile
Besides being a great tool for helping to reduce stress and anxiety, chamomile is regularly used for a variety of other health benefits. Some of chamomile’s more well-known uses include:
- Relieving upset stomach and digestive problems.
- Promoting healing of wounds.
- Treating insomnia and promoting sleep.
- Helping to heal mouth wounds.
- Getting relief from menstrual cramps.
- Soothing inflamed or irritated skin.
Read our article on the health benefits of chamomile for a detailed review of all its medicinal uses.
Allergic reactions to chamomile are rare. However, some people do have an allergic response to the herb. People with an allergy to ragweed are more likely to have an allergic reaction to chamomile. If you experience sneezing, runny nose, congestion, itching, or swelling of the throat, immediately cease using chamomile. If you are having a severe allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the throat, contact a physician.