Chamomile (Matricaria camomilla) is a dainty little pretty flower from the daisy family that has been used as a natural remedy for many kinds of health issues for millennia, and that continues to play an important role in alternative medicine today.
Though this herb remains most commonly used in European countries, it has been making itself very popular in North American and Australia, as well; especially in the form of a relaxing tea. However, one of the most investigated uses of chamomile is for sleeplessness, anxiety, and digestive discomfort. This has brought products other than teas into the marketplace, which contain this ingredient. Some include supplement tablets and capsules, liquid extracts, creams, and ointments.
Medical studies are showing that by using chamomile properly, it can help in reducing muscle spasms, encouraging faster wound healing, decreasing inflammation, and promoting sleep.
Chamomile is often taken internally for sleep preventing issues such as:
- Relaxation promotion
- Gas and bloating
- Cramps in the stomach and intestines
- Pain and spasms of the muscles
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis)
- Menstrual cramps
- Crohn’s disease
- Stomach flu
- Chest colds
- Migraine headaches
In terms of medical study results on both humans and animals, however, the two uses that are most well supported are anxiety and insomnia. Low doses of chamomile have been shown to have sleep promotion and anxiety relieving properties.
Of course, one of the reasons that people consider chamomile as an alternative insomnia treatment to prescription and over the counter medications is that they don’t want to suffer side effects from their choice of sleep aid. Therefore, many wonder if there will be issues associated with its use, such as the “hangover” sensation that is all too common among pharmaceutical sleep products. Though serious side effects are very uncommon when this herb is used as directed, it is a plant which causes allergic reactions among many people.
Many people enjoy the fact that this plant can be used as a treatment for insomnia only as needed, but does not need to be used on a regular basis in order to be effective, as is the case with other natural treatments such as melatonin supplements. The most popular way to use this remedy is as a supplement, or simply by making a tea out of the dried flowers and leaves of the plant, which is taken within an hour of bedtime.