Sitting down with a nice cup of chamomile tea at the end of a long day is relaxing. You can wash away the stress of a hard day’s work or just cosy up with a cup and a book.
The calming benefits of chamomile are pretty well known, but did you know that it also has benefits for your skin? From cleansing to protecting against damage, chamomile does not only calm a busy mind but it can also calm irritated skin and keep it looking lovely.
What is chamomile?
Known for its beauty and medicinal properties, chamomile comes from a blooming plant in the daisy family. As one of the oldest and most commonly used medicinal herbs, chamomile belongs to the Asteraceae/ Compositae family and has two common varieties, German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).
The herb is native to Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America and blossoms in the early summer. Hindus call it Babune ka Phal. The flower itself is golden and has a fruity flavour.
What are chamomile’s active ingredients?
The dried form contains many terpenoids and flavonoids that give the plant its medicinal properties. The chemical compound chamazulene helps reduce inflammation as well as pain and muscle spasms or cramps. It gives chamomile the ability to fight hay fever, inflammation, muscle spasms, menstrual disorders, insomnia, ulcers, wounds, gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatic pain, and haemorrhoids.
Chamomile is a versatile plant and it has various forms. Dried, powdered chamomile flowers are recommended for people with traditional health issues. Usually, the medicinal ingredients are extracted by using water, ethanol, or methanol.
Chamomile tea, which is the aqueous extract version, is one of the world’s most popular teas. Approximately one million cups are consumed each day! You can easily find it for sale either in its pure form or combined with other popular herbs.
- Use chamomile tincture with water and grain alcohol to relieve diarrhoea in children. It can also be used with purgatives to prevent cramping.
- Mix the flowers with crushed poppies, or on its own, for inflammatory pain or congestive neuralgia.
- You can use the whole plant to make herb beers.
- Used as a lotion as an external application for toothaches, earaches, neuralgia, and other external swellings.
- Add to a bath for ano-genital inflammation relief.
- Use as a wash or gargle to relieve inflammation of the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat.
If you inhale the vaporized essential oil it can help relieve depression and anxiety. Also, the oils are common in aromatherapy and hair care. Roman chamomile is a popular ingredient in cosmetics as it soothes and softens the skin.
What can chamomile treat?
Chamomile is useful as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, mildly astringent and healing medicine.
Chamomile helps to treat wounds, ulcers, eczema and bruises. Use it for sunburns and scalds. It is also great for diaper rash, chicken pox and skin irritations in children.
In earlier days, Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians used tea to treat wounds and increase the rate of healing.
Chamomile is effective for eye infections such as conjunctivitis and blocked tear ducts.
Firstly, the herb helps to relieve the inflammation caused by gout. Many have also claimed that it relieves neuralgia and sciatica as well. Chamomile is a digestive relaxant and can treat nausea, flatulence, indigestion and diarrhoea.
Second, chamomile can deter or decrease the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a progressive loss of bone density that can result in broken bones and a stooped posture. In 2004, a study showed that the herb might have anti-estrogenic effects and could improve bone density.
Inflammation is associated with many gastrointestinal disorder complaints. Some examples include oesophagal reflux, diverticular disease, and general inflammatory disease. Studies suggest that chamomile inhibits Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can contribute to stomach ulcers. Furthermore, chamomile is also helpful in reducing smooth muscle spasms associated with various gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders.
Use chamomile to soothe the nerves and relieve anxiety. It treats hysteria and helps with sleep disorders such as insomnia and nightmares. Chamomile contains no caffeine so it is safe to consume before bed. Researchers think that it might function like the benzodiazepines, which are prescription drugs used to reduce anxiety and help you sleep.
Children like the gentle taste of chamomile. Use it for colic, croup, fevers and ear infections.
Chamomile can help stimulate menstrual flow and relieve menstrual cramps. It has properties that reduce pain and relax uterine spasms.
If you have a runny nose and sore throat or nasal congestion, you can also use chamomile steam to ease your symptoms. Place a towel over your head and breathe in the steam from a bowl of steeped chamomile. The herb also helps to fight harmful bacteria and boost the immune system.
Chamomile benefits for your skin
The skin is our largest organ and often what shows on the outside indicates what is going on inside our bodies. Dull, inflamed, and unbalanced skin might mean that there are systemic issues of inflammation or bacteria.
Because chamomile has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties, it can help in a whole range of issues that will benefit your health and your skin.
Chamomile can help heal acne. To help fight frequent breakouts, chamomile can be used topically on the spots.
Chamomile flavonoids and essential oils penetrate below the skin surface into the deeper skin layers, hence making them effective as topical anti-inflammatory agents. Topical applications of chamomile can have a moderate effect in the treatment of atopic eczema and are about 60% as effective as 0.25% hydrocortisone cream.
According to a study from Western Reserve University, Ohio, creams that contain the Manzana type of Roman chamomile extract can help to relieve eczema discomfort. It is also known to be rich in active ingredients that are hypoallergenic. For this reason, it is safe for use for eczema & sensitive skin types.
Haemorrhoids are an unglamorous but real issue for many. Studies suggest that chamomile is a good ointment for haemorrhoid. Use the tincture of Roman chamomile in a sitz bath to reduce the inflammation associated with haemorrhoids.
Chamomile often helps to treat mild skin irritations, including sunburn, rashes, sores and even eye inflammations. It showed to enhance wound healing in an evaluation involving 14 patients who underwent tattoo dermabrasion. The effects on drying and epithelialization (the final stage of skin healing) led to the conclusion that chamomile aids in wound drying and in speeding up epithelialization. Similarly, other recent studies also indicate that chamomile causes complete wound healing faster than corticosteroids.
Chamomile essential oil
Before using chamomile essential oil, always test for skin sensitivity prior to widespread use and use it on the feet when possible if you are using it for the first time. Too much use of any oil can lead to skin sensitization. Another point to note is to keep it out of your eyes, ears, and nose. Not all oils are the same either, so test brands carefully and never use an oil in a way not recommended by its maker.
Throughout history, Roman chamomile essential oil served many different purposes. In the past, Romans used the oil for mental clarity and courage during the war. Its aroma is fruity and herby, somewhat sweet and very calming.
Indeed, it works best with emotions, the nervous system, and skin. People use different varieties of chamomile oil for centuries to calm and prepare for a restful sleep, making it a popular oil to use before bed. Besides consuming the tea, the oil can also be sprinkled on your pillow, blankets, or clothing before bedtime.
Chamomile essential oil is useful for spiritual purposes. For example, it helps overcome discouragement, disappointment, and hopelessness so one can find clarity. It is thought to help one focus on the things that have meaning in their lives.
Chamomile seeks to soften the ego in order to be more attuned to one’s intuitive centre for guidance. As an emotional support, it can help bring a sense of calm and peace, which in turn can help you trust, have more serenity, and release any drama that is lingering. Unless you are an actor, we could all use less drama!
- Add 1–2 drops to your favourite moisturizer, shampoo, or conditioner for youthful looking skin and hair.
- Add 1–2 drops to herbal teas or hot drinks to relax your body and mind.
- Diffuse or apply to bottoms of feet at bedtime for a restful night’s sleep.
- Also, for skin, add Roman chamomile essential oil to your lotion, or use a very small amount of essential oil mixed with coconut oil.
Recipes using chamomile essential oil
Additionally, here are some calming recipes for relaxing products in which to use your chamomile essential oils.
Combine the following ingredients:
- 8 oz. baking soda
- 4 oz. citric acid, cornstarch and Epsom salts
- 3/4 tsp. water
- 2 tsp. Roman chamomile and lavender essential oils
- 2.5 tsp. almond oil.
Press into a mould then let dry for 24 hours.
Use it in your bath whenever you want some relaxing time!
Sleepy time spray
Combine the following ingredients into a small spray bottle :
- Witch hazel essential oil
- 10 drops of Roman chamomile essential oil
- 10 drops of Lavender essential oil
- 5 drops wild orange essential oils
Then spray on linens before bed for a more restful sleep.
Combine 1/2 cup coconut oil with 1/4 cup beeswax and heat until mixed.
While cooling, stir in 15 drops each of Roman chamomile and lavender essential oils.
Overall, chamomile provides many health benefits for the skin and pairs well with a good book. Whether you are enjoying the tea or are using the essential oil as an addition to your beauty routine, you will see great results.
So get started today and let us know how it goes!