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The Healing Properties Of Chamomile Tea
If there is one ingredient that should always be in the medicine cabinets of an alternative healer, that one ingredient should be chamomile tea. It really doesn't matter what brand of chamomile tea you get - this is one tea that is nearly impossible to screw up. Since chamomile tea has such a mild taste, many commercial chamomile tea bag offerings are blended with other flavors and bits. For medicinal purposes, just stick with plain chamomile. Some herbalists and alternative healers prefer German Chamomile, Matricaria recutia, but this writer has never noticed a difference, except in price.
Not For Those Allergic To the Ragweed Family
To me, chamomile tea is a magical brew, but this is not the case for everyone. If you are allergic to the ragweed family, then steer clear of chamomile tea, chamomile-infused beauty products and just about anything else having to do with chamomile. See you at my next Hub on tea, alternative healing or pet advice.
Still with me? Right, now let's get on with looking at the specific healing properties of the versatile chamomile tea. And please don't use this Hub as an alternative to the advice of a medical professional, whether of complimentary or traditional medicine.
As A Sleep Aid
This is probably what chamomile tea is best known for - getting you relaxed enough to get some sleep. Chamomile tea does not work all by itself - if all you did for your sleep problems is drink a few cups of chamomile tea, you'd only be up most of the night running back and for the to the bathroom. If you have chronic sleep problems due to pain or due to an unknown cause, please see your doctor.
But having something hot and soothing a half hour or so before bed does help the body relax and make it more susceptible to sleep. The chamomile flower - no matter its species - contains relaxants and is an anti-spasmodic. That might help give you the edge you may need to fall asleep.
As A Painkiller
Although not as powerful a painkiller as aspirin or Demerol, for that matter, chamomile does soothe noticeably for mild complaints. Chamomile tea also has antibacterial properties, so you can put it right on your skin (if it's cool enough!) Here are some ways to use hot, wet chamomile tea bags:
- Not only does drinking the tea help with mild menstrual cramps or painful cramps from diarrhea, the hot bags can be wrapped in an old towel and placed on the point of pain for relief. Be careful - these can be hot.
- When you get itchy eyes, either wash your eyes with cooled chamomile tea or place the warm, wet tea bags over your closed eyes. My Mom got sun block in her eyes and warm chamomile tea bags eased the stinging considerably.
- Bathe mildly itchy skin with cooled or lukewarm chamomile tea.
- Bathe mild or first-degree burns in COOL tea for pain relief and to clean the area.
- Use a hot tea bag wrapped in an old dish towel or bandage OR soak cotton pads in hot chamomile tea as a hot compress for mild earaches, especially if your ears have been irritated by use of ear plugs, or by scratching them too much.
- I've heard some women use the warm chamomile tea bags to relieve cystitis, using the warm tea as a douche or inserting the used tea bag like a tampon. However, I've never personally tried that. Drinking lots of chamomile tea, spring water and cranberry juice defiantly eases the pain of a mild bladder infection.
As A Digestive Aid
Chamomile is one of the herbs that helps the digestion move along happily, including peppermint, ginger, fennel and parsley. But for one reason or another, you might not like the other teas made from the other herbs. Peppermint is not good for little children or for many people with GERD-type acid reflux disease. And where the heck can you find parsley tea on short notice?
Some crazy people, like me, like to mix herbs or herbal tea bags, taking one of ginger and one of chamomile to make a pot of soothing tea after a time of (a-hem) overindulgence in the snacking department. This is also soothing for those that have arrived to your home with travel sickness and can't take peppermint tea.
Chamomile tea is also good for relieving mild nausea, and can be drunk to prevent or ease morning sickness. If you are pregnant, check with your doctor first about drinking any herbal tea beyond your second trimester.
As A Substitute For Chamomile Oil
All of these attributes can be given for chamomile essential oil, which is also a great painkiller, anti-spasmodic, antibacterial and relaxant. However, this great essential oil is also FABULOUSLY expensive! I've certainly never been able to afford it (unless I get it as a gift). So, when I can, I substitute chamomile tea bags for chamomile essential oil. Doesn't work too well for an all over body massage, though.