When I was young, whenever I was poorly my Mum would make me a mug of chamomile tea. For me this was one of the downsides of being unwell, as I actually am not the biggest fan of the taste of chamomile. The sugary children’s medicine on the other hand though more than made up for it…
Years later and I am writing about health on a daily basis and encountering all kinds of remedies, cures and drugs. Will my Mum’s belief in chamomile hold up to be true? Or was my childhood of missing out on regular nice tea all in vein? Let’s find out.
Benefits and Side Effects
Chamomile is a herb which comes from a plant in the daisy family. It can then be used fresh or dry to create chamomile tea, and has been implicated in treating various health conditions. The active ingredient here is known as ‘bisabolol’ which has been shown to have various anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used as an antidiuretic. Due to this combination of effects, it is generally useful for helping to settle an upset stomach.
It has also been used to help treat anxiety, a use that is supported by preliminary research. Many people find it a relaxing drink to have before bed, and as a sleeping aid. However in large enough quantities it may lead to excessive drowsiness.
Chamomile is a herb that does not produce caffeine, and as such it is suitable in a range of situations where regular tea is not and where the warmth of a hot drink can be comforting. Caffeine when consumed in large quantities can lead to tremors, restlessness, headaches and other problems. Another reason my Mum might have taken me off of the regular tea then might have been just to avoid me being up all night due to caffeine intake.
There are no side effects as such to chamomile, though there is a rare possibility of developing an allergy that causes a rash. As mentioned it is best not to drink large quantities that can lead to drowsiness.
In conclusion then, chamomile is by no means a ‘miracle cure’ for any condition and will have relatively mild effects at best. However it may still be very useful for generally settling the stomach and relaxing the body and mind, and for this reason it makes sense to switch to chamomile if you are feeling unwell. My addiction to sugary medicine however? That was clearly unhealthy…