Is Chamomile Tea Good for the Stomach?
Both the German and Roman varieties of the chamomile plant have been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a wide range of maladies. Belonging to the Asteraceae or daisy family, chamomile, derived from the Greek language and meaning earth-apple, is one of the best known teas to settle the stomach, relieve digestive upset and provide a soothing effect.
The Origin of Chamomile in Medicine
According to the National Institutes of Health, chamomile is one of the most widely used and most well documented medicinal herbs in the modern and ancient world. With a history that stretches back thousands of years, chamomile has been used in tea, tinctures, compresses, powders and pastes for its antioxidant, astringent and healing properties.
Aiding Digestion and Treating Stomach Issues
Chamomile tea, along with other types of herbal tea like peppermint, provide a natural and safe way for most people to relive abdominal pain or discomfort associated with:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS
- Stomach Flu
- Stomach Ache
- Stomach Cramps
- Menstrual Pain
- Gastrointestinal Disorders
- Acid Reflux
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Motion Sickness
In one study, an apple pectin and chamomile mixture showed promising results in relation to diarrhea in children, as children who received the apple and chamomile tonic achieved relief sooner than those who did not. Another study, reported by the National Institutes of Health, suggests that particular commercial preparations of chamomile were just as effective at treating gastric acidity as commercial antacid and more effective at stopping secondary hyperacidity.
The Pharmacology of Chamomile
Why is it that chamomile works so well to ease an upset stomach? The dried flowers of the chamomile plant contain 36 flavonoids and 28 terpenoids, which contribute to the wide range of medicinal uses for the plant, explains NIH. A flavonoid is an oxygen-containing anti-oxidant compound that has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, while terpenoids are a class of organic compounds, still being studied but commonly used to relive heartburn and acid reflux.
Research also shows that the chamomile plant contains bisabolol, a naturally occurring alcohol that is an antimicrobial, anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory, perhaps accounting for chamomile’s pacifying effect on such a wide range of stomach issues. While German chamomile has been studied more than other varieties of chamomile in modern animal and in vitro testing, the German governmental organization Commission E, has recently approved chamomile for daily use to relieve stomach upset.
Other Therapeutic Uses for Chamomile
In addition to kicking a stomach ache to the curb, chamomile has also shown promise in relation to cancer regarding cell apoptosis, wound healing, lowering cholesterol and working as an anti-viral agent. Additional common uses for chamomile include treating eczema, diaper rash, chest colds, chickenpox and gum inflammation. Chamomile is used for everything from cardiovascular health to improving the immune system, making it a wonderful addition to virtually any diet.
Can Everyone Use Chamomile?
While chamomile is considered safe for most people, those who are allergic to ragweed or chrysanthemums should use chamomile with caution or in some cases, not at all, as the plants are closely related. Additionally, chamomile can interact with blood thinning medications or anticoagulants, as it contains coumarin. However, approximately one million cups of chamomile tea are consumed each day, making the herb one of the most widely used in the modern world and by far one of the most beneficial.