For many people, the holidays are rich with time-honored traditions like decorating the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, caroling, cookie baking, and sipping from the unity cup. But there’s another unofficial, official holiday tradition that spans all ages and beliefs and gives people across the world hope for a better tomorrow: the New Year’s resolution.
It’s believed that ancient Babylonians were the first people to make New Year’s resolutions some 4,000 years ago. Over time, the popular practice shifted in scope from making promises to the gods about repaying debt to making promises to ourselves about self-improvement. Anyone who has ever made a New Year’s resolution probably included something like get more sleep or be less stressed. And though it might not immediately come to mind when you brainstorm strategies for reaching your New Year’s goals, it turns out that chamomile tea could be the answer for many of them.
If you’ve ever asked yourself why everyone is drinking chamomile tea, we’ve got the answer here. Read on to learn some of the reasons why this herbal beverage is all the rage.
Pick your grandmother’s brain about the best way to fall asleep, and she might tell you to down a nice glass of warm milk. But if you consult with science, research shows that chamomile might be a better option. That’s because it contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which can promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia and other sleep problems.
Two research studies even confirmed the power of chamomile throughout the day and before bed. In one of those studies, postpartum women who drank chamomile for two weeks experienced better sleep quality than the control group who didn’t. Another research effort measured how fast people could fall asleep. Those results illustrated that participants who consumed 270 milligrams of chamomile extract twice daily for 28 days fell asleep 15 minutes faster than the control. The chamomile group also had considerably fewer sleep disruptions.
Though the following studies used rats as the subjects, research shows that chamomile can potentially play a beneficial role in digestive health. According to that research, the anti-inflammatory properties in chamomile extract may be able to protect against diarrhea. Additionally, chamomile may be an effective way to stop the growth of bacteria in our stomachs that contribute to ulcers.
Few things are more relaxing than curling up with a good cup of tea, so it’s logical that chamomile tea can serve a stress reducer. While it lacks the potency of a pharmaceutical drug, long-term use of chamomile has been shown to “significantly” reduce general anxiety disorders. In general, chamomile can act almost like a sedative, and many people enjoy the tea because it puts them in a calm and relaxed state almost immediately.
Vitamin C and zinc are common over-the-counter supplements that people often turn to when they’re hoping to avoid becoming sick. While scientists admit that more research must take place to prove chamomile’s impact on preventing ailments like the common cold, the existing studies do show promise in this area.
One study had 14 participants drink five cups of the tea every day for two consecutive weeks. Throughout the study, researchers collected daily urine samples and tested the contents before and after the consumption of the tea. Drinking chamomile resulted in a significant increase in the levels of hippurate and glycine, both of which are known to increase antibacterial activity. Inhaling steam from a pot of freshly brewed chamomile tea may also ease the symptoms of nasal congestion.
This one may come as a surprise, particularly to readers who have tried every possible over-the-counter treatment to reduce period pain. Several research studies have proven that chamomile tea may be able to minimize the pain and cramps that occur during menstruation. Women in that same study also dealt with lower levels of anxiety that they typically felt because of menstrual cramps.
For people with diabetes, regulating blood sugar levels can be a matter of life or death. And while chamomile will never replace prescription-strength drugs, it’s believed that it can prevent an increase in blood sugar. A 2008 study on rats showed that chamomile could have a moderate impact on the long-term risk of diabetes.
Ever wondered why there’s been an influx of chamomile-infused cosmetic products? The reason why so many manufacturers now include chamomile in their lotions, soaps, and creams is because it acts as an anti-inflammatory on our skin. That means it may be able to soothe the puffiness that plagues us as we age. Those same anti-inflammatory properties can be vital in restoring skin health after we’ve received a sunburn.
Before discarding your used chamomile tea bags, try chilling them and placing them over your eyes. Not only will this help with the puffiness, but it can drastically light the skin color around the eye.
Some of the most beneficial antioxidants we put into our bodies are what are known as flavones, and chamomile tea is chock full of them. Flavones have the potential to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which, when elevated, can lead to heart disease.
Now that you know so much about the wonders of chamomile, it shouldn’t come as a surprise why the tea is so popular with people of all ages. In addition to tasting great, chamomile offers up benefits that boost the health of body parts both inside and out. As you ponder your own New Year’s resolutions, think about how healthy and natural vitamins, supplements, plants, and oils can help guide you on your own personal path to improvement. Happy New Year!