Chamomile is one of the oldest known herbs, with a unique history that dates all the way back to the Egyptians, who used it for medicinal purposes as well as for embalming the dead. Its name means “ground apple,” which aptly describes its slightly fruity aroma and white circular flowers that grow close to the ground and sport protruding, yellow centers. Chamomile is often associated with a hot cup of relaxing tea, since its calming properties can soothe the nerves; however, this versatile herb is also used for aromatherapy, as a fragrance in various cosmetics and beauty products, as an anti-inflammatory, a fabric dye and even to highlight blonde hair! Due to its popularity, chamomile can be found in almost any health enthusiast’s herbal toolbox – from the novice herbalist, to the most skilled practitioner.
One of chamomile’s most coveted health benefits is its ability to calm an anxious soul and bring rest to the weary. Perhaps it is because of the alarming rate at which practitioners are witnessing increasing trends of stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia that chamomile has been extensively utilized. Regardless the reason, recent studies confirm what has been proposed for centuries – chamomile effectively helps to decrease mild to moderate anxiety and it influences GABA receptors to produce a sedative effect. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 57 outpatients with mild to moderate Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) were given 220 to 1100mg of German chamomile extract, standardized to 1.2 percent of its key constituent apigenin, or placebo. After 8 weeks, chamomile reduced mean Hamilton Anxiety Rating (HAM-A) scores by greater than 50 percent.
I like Mediherb’s Chamomile for its purity and strength – in liquid form it can be added to any variety of herbal tea and can work WONDERS to decrease anxiety.
NOTE: Don’t judge this herb’s effectiveness based on, “I’ve used Chamomile tea and it didn’t seem to work for me…” since store-bought tea really lacks potency!