Chamomile tea could regulate blood sugar levels and thus protect against some of the common complications of diabetes.
Chamomile Tea is a popular herbal tea widely thought to have a calming and relaxing effect. Chamomile, sometimes spelled camomile, is a family of related plants; most of the chamomile used in tea is the species Matricaria recutita. In addition to being consumed as a tea on its own, chamomile is a common ingredient in herbal tea blends. It is used both as a beverage and as an herbal medicine.
Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea:
Chamomile has long been used as a bedtime drink, and while it is not yet widely studied, there is some proof that it can have various positive effects on one's health.
A study found that chamomile tea can be more relaxing than hot water when administered as a single infusion. The physiological indicators of one's skin temperature and heart rate were also taken into account to determine the effect of the chamomile on one's health. Being amused at the thought of being stressed is hardly beneficial, as stress can lead to various health conditions such as heart disease and cancer. The reduction of stress can also help one's immune system fight against illness.
It has been known that chamomile tea has moderate antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are a group of chemicals that are commonly found in tea and various other food and herbal products. Although they are not always beneficial, there are still some benefits to consuming antioxidants. One of these is to prevent damage caused by free radicals.
In 2008, a study revealed that drinking chamomile tea could help regulate one's blood sugar levels and prevent various complications associated with diabetes.
Other effects of chamomile include antimicrobial, anti-mutagenic, and lower cholesterol.
Most of the research on chamomile has been conducted on non-human animals, or in vitro, and more human studies would need to be done in order to firmly establish that these suggested effects actually carry through into a real world setting. However, chamomile tea has a long history of use in herbal medicine, and is generally safe for use as a beverage. Even if its health benefits do not turn out to be as strong as its historical use suggests, chamomile can still be appreciated as a soothing herbal tea.
Caution with Allergies:
Chamomile is in the composite (aster/daisy) family, a plant family also containing ragweed, mugwort, and a number of plants that people commonly have allergic reactions to. Cross-reactivity can produce allergic reactions to chamomile in people allergic to other plants in this family. Although uncommon, there have been cases of severe allergic reaction to chamomile tea. People at risk to have allergies to this plant family should thus be cautious when drinking chamomile tea or using any products in which chamomile is an ingredient.
Where to Buy Chamomile Tea:
Chamomile tea is widely available; most tea companies carry at least one pure chamomile tea, and many sell a number of herbal blends including chamomile as one ingredient among many. Although most supermarkets carry packaged chamomile teas in tea bags, it is more cost-effective to buy the herb loose or in bulk. Loose teas and herbs usually offer better prices and higher quality than prepackaged ones. In addition to finding it through tea companies, you can often obtain chamomile through bulk spice stores.
& Further Reading: Alex Zorach has an M.A. in statistics from Yale University, and is an avid tea drinker and the creator and editor-in-chief of RateTea, the first online community where anyone can rate and review teas, with a searchable database of teas classified by brand, style, and region. On this site, you can learn more about chamomile tea, including listings and reviews of different sources of chamomile tea, and more in-depth discussion of the health benefits of this herb, with detailed references to scientific articles.
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