‘Tis the season to be jolly. Or is it? Maybe you’re caught up in the hustle and bustle. The plane tickets and road trips. The Black Friday sales and the Thanksgiving dinners. The music, the discounts, the decorations…
Life tends to get a bit more hectic the last month and a half of the year. And while some enjoy the adrenaline rush, others would rather hide until the festive dust settles.
Whatever you have going on in the next few weeks, it’s tempting to let anxiety take the wheel. But there are ways to overcome this. Feeling calm, relaxed, and in the moment can make the difference between thriving and merely surviving the holidays.
And while there are plenty of natural remedies that promotes relaxation, we’re going to focus on one particular herb: Chamomile
What is Chamomile?
A small flower found in parts of Europe, Africa, India, and the Americas, chamomile or the Matricaria chamomilla L., is hailed as the “star among medicinal plants.”(1). Used in trades, this flower was prized among many in ancient times.
The chamomile flower resembles a small daisy, only with shorter white petals. Instead of a single stem, these flowers have a bundle of small ones that branch out from the main stem. Some say it has a earthy smell with sweet, fruity undertones.
Why Take It?
Chamomile has been a natural remedy for thousands of years. And you don’t have to suffer from anxiety to benefit. You can take chamomile for other health concerns such as:
- Heartburn: Acid reflux is no joke – thankfully, there’s a serious solution. Drinking some chamomile tea may help soothe your esophagus and gut lining (9). Note that if you have a ragweed allergy, it might be better not to drink it.
- Colic: While tea isn’t usually recommended for infants under 6 months old, one study showed that chamomile helped ease the severity of colic in babies (3).
- Diarrhea: Having occasional loose stool is never pleasant, but in some countries it is a chronic issue. Chamomile mixed with anise has shown promise in calming the bowels down (5).
- Skin irritants: Rashes, bumps and sores may benefit from topical applications or oral administrations of chamomile due to its anti-inflammatory profile (10).
- Mouth sore: If you struggle with canker sores, chamomile may help. Brewing a strong cup of tea and allowing it to cool, then applying the tea bag directly to your sore can bring relief. Honey can also help, as it has antibacterial and antiviral components (11).
- Insomnia: Not being able to go to sleep (or stay asleep) can put a wrench in your health. For centuries, chamomile has been used as a mild sedative. Drinking some tea or diffusing an essential oil before bed may improve your quality of sleep (8).
- Hemorrhoids: Swollen and enlarged tissue can make going to the bathroom painful. Chamomile is high in anti-inflammatory properties, and adding it to a warm bath may help calm those tissues down (7).
- Anxiety: Some studies have been done to see how effective chamomile therapy was at lessening symptoms of chronic anxiety and seem to show promise (6).
Ways to Take It
There are a few ways you can chamomile:
- Tea: Drinking chamomile tea is probably the most popular way to reap the benefits of this herb. Pouring hot water over fresh or dried flowers creates a delicious tea that can be enjoyed hot or cold. You can also add some honey to it for enhanced flavor and additional health benefits.
- Essential oil: Diffusing essential oils is a powerful way to calm and relieve your body. Instead of going through the digestion process, essential oil molecules travel through your olfactory system. When you inhale these micro particles, they hit the emotional center of your brain, the amygdala (4). Nerve bundles then transmit messages to your heart and muscles, encouraging them to relax.
Some people wear a special necklace with felt that can hold a few drops of essential oil to it. You can also dilute it with a carrier oil and massage it onto your temples and wrists.
- Topical: Chamomile can be applied to the skin to relieve rashes, eczema, or sores. This can be done with cotton balls, teabags, or adding to a bandage or gauze.
- Garnish: Another way you can take it is by adding fresh flowers to salads, although you may not get the concentrations you need.
How Much Should You Take?
Is it possible to drink too much chamomile? Not likely. Most people tolerate up to 4 cups per day without any issues. If you find that you’re developing nausea, diarrhea, or other symptoms that are out of the norm, stop taking it and check with your doctor.
If you want to take capsules or tablet forms, the general recommended dose is between 900mg – 1200mg per day (12).
Chamomile is a relatively mild herb and can be enjoyed by many. But as mentioned above, if you’re allergic to ragweed you might want to avoid this herb.
When it comes to drinking or eating chamomile, it’s rare that there are any life-threatening side effects. However, if you suddenly develop nausea, diarrhea, or other symptoms that are out of the norm, stop taking it and check with your doctor.
If you’re going to use essential oils, be sure to never apply pure essential oils to your skin. The process of extracting the oils makes them extremely concentrate, which can burn your skin if applied directly. Be sure to always dilute with water or another oil such as coconut, almond, olive, or jojoba (2).
Stressful times are inevitable – and sometimes they fall around the holidays. While there may be a lot going on, it’s completely possible to keep your cool and enjoy the ride.
Taking chamomile with you is a great way to lower anxieties, promote good sleep, reduce inflammation and tackle other health problems. You can drink tea, diffuse essential oils, and apply topical products.
It’s important to remember that while chamomile is relatively safe, always trial test first to make sure you can tolerate it ok. If your body doesn’t seem to agree with it, there are other herbal remedies that you can try.
Are you looking forward to the holiday craze ahead? If not, take comfort by knowing nature has things that can help get you through.
Could a friend benefit from reading this? If so, be sure to share with them!
References & Disclaimers
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author