Sleep. It is that all-important thing that is often very hard to come by. In fact, an estimated 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia, or sleeplessness according to reports. And whether you’re up thinking about work, home life, stresses from school -- what-have-you, you’re still up and not getting the sleep you need.
For years -- even thousands of years, chamomile has been used to help calm the mind and body in a natural way. In fact, some say that Chamomile has been used since ancient times with both the Egyptians and the ancient Romans using it in tea, creams and incenses. It has even been reported that In Egypt, chamomile was prescribed as a cold remedy, then later on for inducing sleep. And the tradition continues with many falling asleep to its calming lul through the same methods used long ago.
So, what exactly is Chamomile?
Chamomile is a daisy-like flower with a yellow center and white blossoms that comes from the same family as sunflowers -- yet, it is a spice. This flowering spice comes in two forms: Matricaria recutita, also known as German chamomile; and Chamaemelum nobile, also known as Roman chamomile. Generally speaking, however, when people speak of chamomile, it is most often referring the German chamomile.
And just like mentioned above, it can be used in teas and, lotions, fragrances and incense as a way to help soothe and calm individuals for a better night’s rest.
What does science say about it?
Several studies have been conducted recently in an effort to both determine the effects of chamomile, but also see why it has such effects.
One study conducted by researchers from the Department of Urology & Nutrition studied chamomile and its effectiveness on things like the common cold, cardiovascular conditions, diarrhea, eczema, gastrointestinal conditions, hemorrhoids, the promotion of health, among several other conditions, as well as insomnia.
Regarding insomnia, and chamomile’s use as a sleep aid these researchers found that the herm’s sedative effects may be due to the flavonoid, apigenin that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. It was also found that inhaling the vapor of chamomile oil reduced a stress, which could be key in helping people fall asleep.
How much should you take?
There are no real guidelines on how much chamomile one should take to reap the benefits. However, an article published on Livestrong cited suggestions from the University of Maryland Medical Centre that suggested drinking one cup of chamomile tea for three to four times a day.
However, women need to exercise caution while consuming herbal teas during pregnancy as some of the ingredients in the herbal tea may be harmful to pregnant women. Chamomile can also interact with various kinds of medication, including blood-thinning medications, cholesterol drugs, sedatives, birth control pills and certain antifungal drugs.
How to brew your own Chamomile tea:
A simple recipe for chamomile tea is pourin 1 cup of boiling water over 2 to 3 tablespoons of dried Roman or German chamomile and steeping (soaking) it for 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to cover the tea while brewing, as many of the active compounds are lost in the steam.
If you’d like to try a fresh cup with chamomile flowers, try this one from Simple Seasonal.
Other ways to take chamomile for its sleep benefits
1. Soothing eye treatment
Sometimes getting some shut eye requires soothing the eyes themselves, and many have found that placing previously brewed and chilled chamomile tea bags on your eyes can help with that. This is due to the natural circulation boosters contained in chamomile.
2. Gentile rinse for mouth sores
A sore mouth is a surefire way to keep you up at night. Thankfully, chamomile has anti-inflammatory components that can help sooth mouth sores like ulcers, cankers, or irritated gums. Simply rinse your mouth with a cool cup of chamomile tea to feel the benefits.
3. Teething remedy for babies
If you’re a parent of a teething baby, you are likely not getting a whole lot of sleep, and sadly, neither is your baby. There are several commercial chamomile tablets crushed to powder or commercial chamomile tea bags that can be prepared in ways that are safe and effective for your baby so you can all get the sleep you need.