Wellness Health & Well-being 7 Uses for Chamomile as a Natural Remedy By Melissa Breyer Editorial Director Hunter College F.I.T., State University of New York Cornell University Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others. our editorial process Melissa Breyer Updated December 05, 2020 Petri Oeschger / Getty Images Share Twitter Pinterest Email Wellness Health & Well-being Clean Beauty From soothing insomnia and nausea to clearing skin problems and more, the little flower that could is a healing superstar. Chamomile is an amazing flower. On appearance, it’s a sweet little daisy with a delicate flavor. But underneath that demure exterior, it is a potent powerhouse that has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. One comprehensive study lists 54 traditional uses for it, from treating sleep and skin problems to soothing nausea and cramps. It is truly the little flower that could. Like many natural remedies that have been relied upon for ages, not all of chamomile’s powers have been proven by western science. But sometimes a few millennia of medicinal wisdom says more about a remedy than modern studies. Regardless, the following ailments have a long history of being soothed by this member of the Asteraceae/Compositae family. It certainly can't hurt to try. Ease insomnia and stress Chamomile is maybe best known for taking the edge off of stress and promoting a good night’s sleep. One study notes, “Chamomile is widely regarded as a mild tranquilizer and sleep-inducer. Sedative effects may be due to the flavonoid, apigenin that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain.” Curiously, there has not been a lot of clinical trials proving all of this; but based on my own experience and thousands of years of tried-and-true folk wisdom, I’m standing by this claim. Improve skin conditions Chamomile has been used since antiquity to treat wounds and urge healing, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Several studies have found that topical chamomile treatments are effective in soothing eczema and mild inflammatory skin conditions. Reduce acne breakouts and redness Many people swear by chamomile to reduce acne and the redness that comes with it; which makes sense considering its prevalence in so many skincare products. Its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties can be put to great use by making a strong chamomile tea, letting it cool, and then either rubbing it on clean skin with your fingers, or wetting a washcloth with it and allowing it to stay on affected areas for 15 minutes or so. Leftover tea can be kept in the fridge. Quell nausea, vomiting, gas, and heartburn There are studies, there is folk wisdom, there is anecdotal evidence – and it all points to the fact that chamomile tea soothes the things that vex the stomach. Stymy symptoms of the common cold There has been plenty of anecdotal evidence showing that drinking chamomile tea can relieve symptoms of the cursed common cold. Meanwhile, one study found that inhaling chamomile steam helped in the same endeavor. Since we already know that fluids, warm drinks, and steam are good cold combatants, why not throw in some chamomile there too? Minimize menstrual pain and grumpiness The proof on this one is in a lot of anecdotal evidence with a fair amount of research backing it up. Among other studies, one says that chamomile tea appears to be helpful in relieving menstrual cramps in women. Meanwhile, another study found that drinking chamomile tea for a month is an “effective therapy in relieving the pain originated from primary dysmenorrhea [cramps] and its consequent psycho-social problems [grumpiness]." Reduce inflammation A lot of research has looked into chamomile's efficacy in reducing inflammation, an immune system reaction to fight infection that can cause a host of health problems. Chamomile has been found to help reduce inflammation when ingested and when used topically. The 2009 publication Complementary and Alternative Therapies and the Aging Population notes, "The German E Commission has approved chamomile for internal use to treat gastrointestinal spasms and inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, the German E Commission has approved external use of chamomile for inflammation of the skin and bacterial skin diseases, and respiratory tract inflammation." How to use and side effects Medical News Today reminds us that if you are interested in trying chamomile tea, it should be used as a supplement, rather than a replacement, to your normal medication regimen. A regular dose of one or two cups of tea day should encourage health benefits. As noted above, chamomile is a sleepy-maker, so be warned that it can cause drowsiness. Most experts say that chamomile is safe, though it can trigger allergic reactions in people who have allergies to related plants. View Article Sources Srivastava JK, Shankar E, Gupta S. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Mol Med Rep. 2010;3(6):895-901. doi:10.3892/mmr.2010.377 National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Chamomile. Updated May 2020. Khalesi ZB, Beiranvand SP, Bokaie M. Efficacy of Chamomile in the Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome: A Systematic Review. J Pharmacopuncture. 2019;22(4):204-209. doi:10.3831/KPI.2019.22.028 Jenabi E, Ebrahimzade S. Chamomile tea for relief of primary dysmenorrhea. Iran J Obstet Gynecol Infertil. 2010;13:39–42. Degner SC, Papoutsis AJ, Romagnolo DF. Health benefits of traditional culinary and medicinal mediterranean plants. In: Complementary and Alternative Therapies and the Aging Population. Elsevier; 2009:541-562. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-374228-5.00026-3 Medical News Today. What are the benefits of chamomile tea?.