Many herbal remedies can be consumed as a tea, including chamomile. Though chamomile is often used to ease insomnia and promote calm, it has also been touted for its possible beneficial effects on inflammation. Before using this tea for medicinal reasons, consult your doctor to see whether it is safe for you to use, as it may not be appropriate for everyone.
There are actually two kinds of chamomile that can be made into tea: German chamomile, which is more commonly used; and Roman, or English chamomile. German chamomile has antispasmodic properties, acts as a mild sedative, relieves skin irritations and may help ease symptoms of digestive problems like indigestion and irritable bowel disease. Roman chamomile has been shown to have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, and can help ease anxiety, promote sleep and ease muscle spasms, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. Before drinking either kind of chamomile tea, talk with your doctor to make sure this is safe, as both teas can interact with certain medications.
Effects of Chamomile on Inflammation
A 2009 study by Srivastava, et al, published in "Life Sciences," found that chamomile caused cell reactions similar to that of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These reactions are important to understand in order to use chamomile tea to treat inflammation. Depending on the kind of inflammation you have, consuming chamomile in tea form may not be effective. For instance, chamomile can help the inflammation associated with hemorrhoids, but only applied topically, and not when consumed as a tea, states the University of Maryland Medical Center. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center adds that chamomile has shown anti-inflammatory effects in the laboratory and in animals; more research needs to be done to see whether it has the same effect in human subjects. Talk with your doctor about the possible benefits of chamomile tea before using it.
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 2 to 3 tbsp. of dried Roman or German chamomile and steeping for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink this tea three to four times daily, between meals. Pregnant women and those with asthma should not drink chamomile tea. Drinking excess amounts of concentrated chamomile tea can cause nausea, so avoid consuming too much of this drink.
Chamomile can interact with various kinds of medication, including blood-thinning medications, cholesterol drugs, sedatives, birth control pills and certain antifungal drugs. Tell your doctor about any other supplements or drugs you are taking before drinking any kind of chamomile tea. Do not use chamomile tea as a replacement for getting medical attention or any treatment your doctor has prescribed.
- University of Maryland Medical Center; German Chamomile; Dr. Steven Ehrlich; November 2008
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Roman Chamomile; Dr. Steven Ehrlich; November 2008
- "Life Sciences"; Chamomile, A Novel and Selective COX-2 Inhibitor with Anti-Inflammatory Activity; JK Srivastava, et al; 2009
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Chamomile (German); July 2011