Health and beauty benefits of camomile

Camomile has been a trusted household favourite for over 4,000 years for many of its health benefits, including reducing inflammation, relieving muscle cramps and, most famously of all, soothing insomnia. There are two varieties of camomile: Roman camomile or chamaemelum nobile, and the most widely researched variety – matricaria recutita or, as its more commonly known, German camomile. The latter grows in the wild across most of Europe – often on the side of the road. With its long stems and fragrant, musky blooms, it is no surprise that this wonderful flower is full of health-boosting properties that can naturally soothe and relax the body.

Health and beauty benefits of camomile

camomile bee Liz Earle WellbeingSleep easy

With its strong aromatic scent, the camomile flower has many calming properties that are known to lull us into a peaceful slumber. Used for centuries as an aid for insomnia and muscle cramps, this wonderful herb is associated with an increase in glycine – an amino acid that has been shown to relax muscles and nerves and is even seen as a mild sedative. What’s not to love about camomile when an average of seven or eight hours sleep a night not only leads to better skin, but has also been shown to make you look and feel more attractive?

Clear your skin

There is more to camomile than the power to send us to sleep; studies have shown that the herb also has some fantastic healing powers. With more than half the efficiency of 0.25% hydrocortisone cream and with both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, this herb can be really helpful in the treatment of minor cuts and grazes. It is also suggested that, when applied topically, camomile can help improve skin conditions such as dermatitis, rosacea and psoriasis.

camomile tea Liz Earle WellbeingSoothe your body from the inside out

Bisabolol is the dominant anti-inflammatory volatile oil in camomile, which is what makes it such a healing herb. Taken orally, camomile can soothe the stomach and has even been known to help treat stomach ulcers. Apigenin and luteolin – the key flavonoids in camomile – are antispasmodic, so sipping on camomile tea is the perfect thing to do when you are suffering from stomach pain or cramps.

Fight anxiety

The ritual of drinking tea is known to be a soothing one, and camomile has been shown to relax us, even more, thanks to the muscle-relaxing glycine. Some sufferers of GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) have said that taking caffeine out of their diet and drinking camomile has had a notable effect on their condition. It is sometimes hard to switch off in this modern world but we must remember that it is important to do so. Having a cup of camomile tea in the morning, before or instead of your usual coffee, will give your body a chance to wake up naturally and give you time to think through your day before you dive in head first. 

Grow camomile

Camomile grows prolifically in the UK, and across Europe, and is great for gardeners with little space in which to flex their green fingers. Camomile seeds are very sensitive to light so, if scattered in a sunny spot with well-drained soil, will spring up into flowers in no time. Sow in late spring for optimum results.

Getting your hands on the seeds is not difficult at all – just break open an unused camomile teabag, rub the contents between your hands to break up the flower heads and scatter them over your prepared soil. Give them a good soak from the watering can and soon your very own camomile plants will start appearing.

Wellbeing Wisdom

  • Camomile is thought to increase glycine – an amino acid that relaxes muscles and nerves
  • When applied to the skin, camomile can help improve conditions such as dermatitis, rosacea and psoriasis