Chamomile tea has been known for centuries for its soothing and relaxing properties, being used commonly to aid with problems such as insomnia, nervousness, as well as a comforting remedy during illnesses such as colds and flu. What many people don't know is that chamomile tea is an excellent remedy to help with digestion. Poor digestion is likely rooted in our poor food choices, poor eating habits and the fast-paced lifestyles. Correcting these are the key to having a health digestive system, but there are things that can be done to help alleviate daily chronic symptoms that many people experience such as gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea and constipation. One of the best herbal remedies as a "cure-all" for nearly all digestive problems, is drinking a high quality chamomile tea.
Chamomile tea contains essential oils and flavanoids, which actually relax the smooth muscles in the digestive tract, to relieve pain and cramping and promote normal peristalsis (the contractions of your intestinal tract that help move food along).Another class of compounds called sesquiterpenes, have anti-inflammatory effects which helps soothe the irritated lining of the gastrointestinal tract and reduce the inflammation associated with poor digestion. This tea also acts as a relaxant, to help calm down nervousness and tension. Many people who suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) also suffer from symptoms of anxiety, which have been shown to contribute to their digestive complaints. It is well known that the digestive tract has many connections to the central nervous system, and therefore anxiety and emotional issues can have a huge impact on how your body digests food. By drinking chamomile tea regularly, and calming the system, people with IBS can help their symptoms by directly affecting their digestive tract, and indirectly by helping to relieve nervousness.
For people who have very mild digestion issues, drinking chamomile tea on "as-needed" basis is sufficient.However, for people with chronic symptoms it is important to be able to get a high enough dose of the beneficial compounds, which can be achieved by drinking 3 to 5 cups per day, on a regular basis. Use 2 tsp of flower per cup, and infuse for 5 -10 minutes covered. Drink the tea while still hot, before all the beneficial essential oils evaporate.
The importance of drinking a high quality chamomile tea cannot be understated. Most grocery-store brands contain merely the "dust" and bits of flower that remain after sorting and packaging. Choose a brand that consists of high quality loose whole flowers, which contain the highest concentration of beneficial compounds to ensure that you get the freshest, most flavorful and health-promoting cup of tea.
* For those with allergies to ragweed, please use caution with chamomile, as it is part of the same family of herbs as ragweed, and some people may experience a cross-reaction. Try a cup or two, and if no allergy symptoms appear (such as an itchy throat) then you're probably fine.
*Women who are pregnant should not drink chamomile tea.
The information provided in this article should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this article. Readers should consult a naturopathic doctor or a qualified health care professional on any matter relating to their health and well-being.