The digestive system is an extremely important part of the human body. It helps break food down into smaller particles that can be easily absorbed so that your body is able to assimilate the nutrients you consume. Whilst eating high quality, unprocessed, whole foods provides fuel for your body, your digestive system must function properly in order to absorb the nutrients. Various factors reduce digestive capacity such as stress, eating too quickly, gastrointestinal disorders and antibiotics. I think we all experience digestive discomfort from time to time but fortunately, there is a natural remedy that may help to alleviate the discomfort: chamomile.
Chamomile is classified as a digestive carminative. Digestive carminatives are herbs that relieve flatulence and soothe intestinal spasm and pain, generally by relaxing intestinal muscles and sphincters. Digestive carminatives are beneficial for treating conditions such as colic, dyspepsia, flatulence and bloating.
Chamomile is widely recognised in Western culture and its medicinal usage dates back to ancient times. The essential oil content of chamomile makes it particularly useful for indigestion and gastrointestinal cramps. It has carminative and spasmolytic actions that increase gastric juices and can relieve gas, intestinal spasms, flatulence and bloating. Its essential oils also stimulate the gallbladder to secrete its store of bile, which the body uses to digest fats. This makes it a useful digestive aid after heavy meals. Chamomile has also been proven to improve the function of the muscles that line the stomach and intestines, relieving diarrhoea, and having a calming, numbing effect on the entire gastrointestinal tract.
Chamomile additionally has a mild sedative action. This action can soothe the mucous membrane of the digestive tract and also relax the entire body. This may be beneficial if digestive discomfort is partly or wholly caused by stress or worry. Chamomile’s sedative action also makes it a great choice to consume prior to retiring in the evening to promote a restful sleep.
Chamomile is generally considered safe amongst everyone except those with a known allergy. If you’re experiencing digestive complaints or simply want a calming tea to add to your dietary intake, give chamomile a go. If you want any more information on the health benefits of chamomile or how to incorporate it into your diet, don’t hesitate to contact me!