Chamomile Extract: Benefits, Side Effects, and More
Chamomile is a flowering plant endemic to Western Asia and Europe but now grows worldwide. It is considered a century-old natural remedy that has been historically used to manage diverse ailments. Today,chamomile extract is widely used orally, topically, and in aromatherapy for therapeutic purposes. Wanna know how it helps? Keep exploring with us to learn more.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the most common benefits of chamomile extract along with possible side effects and precautions. But before we get into how chamomile can benefit human health, it’s worth knowing exactly what it is. So, let’s get started.
What is chamomile extract?
Chamomile extract is a mixture of concentrated natural oils and other plant chemicals obtained from chamomile flowers. The phytochemical compounds it contains are thought to have several medicinal actions such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) that can help with managing a range of health conditions including sleep problems, digestive issues, and skin irritations, among others.
Chamomile extract: chemicals and medicinal properties
Chamomile extract contains more than 120 plant chemicals, many of which are believed to be biologically active. The health benefits people often associate with chamomile seem to come from these phytochemical constituents. The most common ones include:
- Chamazulene (anti-inflammatory)
- Luteolin (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory)
- Apigenin (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial)
- Bisabolol (antimicrobial, anti-irritant, and anti-inflammatory)
Chamomile extract benefits
Over the thousands of years, chamomile has been used for a varying range of health conditions since the ancient ages. Its use has been described in historical texts from ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt.
Today, modern research is starting to discover its potential and why it has been used for such a long time. Let’s explore some of the common benefits of chamomile in a bit more detail according to current research findings.
Chamomile extract may help relieve anxiety
Studies have shown that chamomile has anxiety-reducing (anxiolytic) effects that may help reduce symptoms in associated conditions. In a 2009 clinical trial published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, researchers investigating the effects of chamomile extract on generalized anxiety disorders (GAD) concluded that chamomile extract may have a significant anxiety-reducing activity that can help reduce anxiety in people with GAD.
Chamomile extract may help with sleep issues
People often associate chamomile extract with a good night’s sleep and some research seems to back this claim as well. For example, in a 2017 clinical trial, researchers confirmed that the administration of chamomile extract is effective in improving sleep quality in elderly people and thus, might be used as a safe therapeutic modality to promote sleep quality.
Chamomile extract may help with skin irritations
Studies suggest that topical application of chamomile oil can help reduce various types of skin irritation. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiallergy activities that can help with acne breakouts, sensitive skin, and skin dehydration as well.
Chamomile extract is believed to act as a humectant, meaning it can help the skin retain water molecules and stay well-hydrated. This is the reason why chamomile extract is widely used in cosmetics.
Chamomile extract may help control blood sugar
Today, chamomile extract is extensively being studied as a possible natural option for controlling blood sugar. Some preliminary research also suggests that it can help with glycemic control.
Chamomile may help in pain relief
Chamomile has been shown to have significant analgesic effects that can help with reducing pain and associated complications. Multiple human studies have shown that chamomile has a positive effect on pain relief.
How to use chamomile
Chamomile can be used in many different ways. To help with sleep issues and anxiety, chamomile extract is mostly taken orally in various supplementary forms such as teas, capsules, and liquids. Dosages vary depending on personal needs. Capsules containing 220 mg to 1100 mg of dry chamomile extract are most commonly used in studies.
Chamomile is also used topically directly to the skin, especially to help with skin irritations, wound healing, and pain relief. It has several aromatherapy applications as well. Chamomile is popularly used in diffusion, spray, massage oil, and bath oil. Work with your healthcare provider to determine what method of use would be the best for your specific health conditions.
Side effects and precautions
Chamomile extract is highly concentrated and should be used under the supervision of a professional herbal practitioner or aromatherapist. Although rare it does have some possible side effects and drug interactions that people should be aware of.
Some people may experience skin irritations with redness, swelling, itching, and burning sensations. People with known allergies to plants related to chamomile such as ragweed, daisies, and marigold should avoid using chamomile extract. Common symptoms of allergic reactions may include a swollen throat, difficulty breathing, rash, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and wheezing.
Besides, chamomile may interact with certain drugs such as warfarin and cyclosporine. It’s recommended to speak to a qualified herbal practitioner prior to using chamomile extract, especially if you’re on prescription medications, pregnant, or breastfeeding.
Chamomile is an herb that has been used in medicine for thousands of years. In modern days, emerging research has started to discover a range of potential chamomile and chamomile herbal supplements benefits, ranging from relieving anxiety to promoting sleep to alleviating pain. It is also used in aromatherapy to help with many physical and mental conditions. Always speak to your healthcare provider to determine whether chamomile is right for you.