HOW TO USE CHAMOMILE TO REDUCE REDNESS, ACNE, STRESS, ECZEMA, AND MORE

Prized by the Saxons as one of nine sacred herbs, chamomile has been used for centuries for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, astringent, and healing properties.  Valued so highly for its curative powers, it was used by the Egyptians to cure malaria.  They even dedicated it to their sun god, Ra. 

Chamomile is one of the oldest, most widely used, and well documented medicinal plants in the world. As such, it has positioned itself as a natural powerhouse in the world of traditional remedies.   With chamomile’s wide availability it’s easier now than ever to take advantage of its healing properties to treat a variety of skin conditions including acne.

Reduces acne, eczema and redness

Traditionally, chamomile has been used to treat a wide variety of skin issues ranging from eczema to wounds, burns, bruises, canker sores, and skin irritations.  It inhibits the activity of bacteria, fungi, and toxins on the skin.  Also, it’s great for treating inflammations of the skin because its oils possess anti-inflammatory properties.  It’s been reported that using chamomile during eczema outbreaks significantly lowers the surface areas of wounds and helps them to dry.

One study found that the flavonoids and oils in chamomile penetrate below the surface of skin into the deeper layers to reduce inflammation.  Two commonly used varieties of chamomile are German and Roman chamomile.  German chamomile is better for treating skin irritations.  Whereas, Roman chamomile is better at calming anxiety.  However, Roman chamomile is widely used in cosmetics.

Companies rely on its soothing and softening effect on the skin to boost the effectiveness of their products.  Chamomile’s ability to reduce the redness that accompanies a breakout  makes it a helpful home remedy for treating acne.  If managing inflammatory skin conditions such as acne and eczema has left your sensitive skin in need of some TLC, try this natural remedy:

  • 4 drops of chamomile oil
  • 3 drops rose oil
  • 2 drops of neroli oil
  • three and one half ounces of a carrier oil (like hemp oil).   

Mix the essential oils with the carrier oil.  You can use this mixture like an astringent on problem areas.  Just be careful to remember that essential oils should never be applied to skin directly.  They are only meant to be used 3-4 drops at a time.  Most essential oils need a carrier oil to dilute the potency and avoid skin irritation.

Lifts mood, eases stress & emotional oversensitivity

Chamomile is also good for you in tea form.  It helps lower stress which is great for those who need help reducing stress related breakouts.  If your jangled nerves are in serious need of some relief, try drinking chamomile tea.  It has soothing properties that promote tranquility so you can relax and take the edge of after a stressful day.

I always feel less tense after a good, hot cup of chamomile tea.  It’s so relaxing it can put you to sleep.  Take my friend’s aunt for example.  She is terrified of hurricanes.  To keep her calm while they rode out a pretty nasty one, they gave her a double dose of chamomile tea.

After she drank it she said she was out like a light.  By the time she came to, the storm was over.  Now that’s relaxed!  There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep to make your woes more bearable. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t getting our 7-8 hours of recommended beauty rest.

 

Eases Insomnia

An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from a sleep disorder.  Why are millions excessively tired during the day and struggling to go or stay asleep at night?  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ran a National Health Interview Survey and uncovered some alarming information.  They asked adults, “On average how many hours of sleep do you get a night (24-hour period)?”  The data showed there has been a significant increase in the number of men and women who sleep less than 6 hours over the last 20 years.

Why are we sleeping less?  A combination of working longer hours and having access to a virtually unlimited amount of internet and TV programs is the culprit.  Studies show that sleeping less than 7 hours a night increases the risk of obesity.  One study monitored nearly 500 adults over a 13-year period.  Those who slept less than 6 hours were 7.5 times more likely to have a higher body mass index by age 27.

A larger study involving more than 1,000 adults found that those who slept 7.7 hours had the lowest BMI.  On the other hand, those who slept fewer hours had a progressively higher BMI. The study found a connection between lack of sleep and two hormones that affect appetite.  Having a sleep deficit was linked to having lower levels of leptin, the hormone that decreases appetite.  Meanwhile, that same lack of sleep promotes higher levels of ghrelin, which stimulates appetite.

The research suggests that the link between hormones and an increase in appetite may help explain why lack of sleep is related to obesity.  Getting enough rest can help keep our appetite related hormones in balance.  Without those powerful cravings to dive into a gallon of ice cream as a midnight snack, it becomes easier to eat food that agrees with our skin.  Inflammatory foods like dairy will not get a chance to cause acne flare ups if we’re not eating them.

So how can we ensure we get those all important 7-8 hours of sleep each night?  For starters set a time for shutting off all electronic devices and stick to it.  Set an alarm on your phone to go off each night at the same time.  This will remind you to stop what you’re doing and get ready for bed.  Another strategy is to incorporate dried chamomile into your sleeping ritual.

Chamomile has a pleasing apple-like aroma that beckons you from the land of the weary into the world of the rested. Merely inhaling it is so relaxing that some people sew it into pillows.  You don’t have to sew one yourself if you’re not an arts and crafts kinda girl.  Simply place dried herbs in a muslin bag and tie a string around it.

Put it wherever it works best for you such as under the pillow, next to your head, or in your pillowcase.  Chamomile is often mixed with other herbs like lemon balm and lavender to enhance a peaceful night’s rest.  Don’t forget to drink a cup before bed so you can reap the full benefits of chamomile’s sedative powers.  Follow this simple guide for a perfect cup:

  • Boil water and pour over your tea bag.
  • Cover and let it steep for 3-5 minutes, don’t oversteep to prevent bitterness
  • Drink up to 3 cups a day (it will keep for a day or two in the fridge)

SIDE EFFECTS

Chamomile has gained the reputation over the centuries as being a safe and gentle herbal remedy for a number of ailments. With that being said, caution still needs to be exercised before taking it.  The U.S., National Institutes of Health recommends that pregnant and nursing mothers not consume Roman chamomile.  It has been known to cause uterine contractions that can lead to miscarriage.

Also, those who are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, or other members of the Compositae family are more likely to develop contact allergies to chamomile.  This is particularly true if they use other drugs that help to trigger the sensitization

Avoid ingesting chamomile essential oil, except under professional supervision. Vomiting and dizziness can occur if taken internally in excessive doses.  It is not recommended that Aspirin or non-salicylate NSAIDS be taken at the same time as chamomile.  The jury is still out on whether that combination can have a significant herb-drug interaction.

As far as using it externally goes, a small number of persons have experienced mild skin irritation.  If you have concerns that you might have an allergy, play it safe and do a patch test.  Mix a few drops with a carrier oil and place on your forearm before using it on any other part of your body.

Join the Conversation

My favorite part of doing these posts is getting your feedback. Each week, I ask one question. This week, it is this:

Which of the above techniques would you try?

Disclaimer:
The information contained on this site is provided as an information resource only.  It is not to be used or relied upon for any treatment or diagnostic purposes.  This information is not intended to be patient education.  It should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.   The statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.   This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Please consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition, such as if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a mental condition.  Please read all product packaging carefully and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication program. Cosmetic products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.

 

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 SOURCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamomile

http://www.encyclopedia.com/plants-and-animals/plants/plants/chamomile

Janmejai K Srivastava, Eswar Shankar, and Sanjay Gupta, “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future,” Mol Med Report. 2010 Nov 1; 3(6): 895-901., doi:  10.3892/mmr.2010.377, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/

Lindsay Sullivan, “Essential Oils Encyclopedia: All Your Essential Oil Needs At Your Fingertips”