There’s no denying. We live in a stressful world, and this can unfortunately affect a lot more than just our mood. As I write in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, stress actually hurts our bones because,
“Stress is an acidifying process because of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. The secretion of cortisol has the same effect on the alkaline/acid balance as when you eat highly acidifying foods”
I then go on to give you ten easy behavioral changes that can help reduce stress. Today, I’d like to add one effective – and delicious – way to help you tackle stress, and it might surprise you.
Chamomile: An Amazing Multi-Tasking Herb
You probably know chamomile for its subtle soothing fragrance and healing effect when applied on skin.1 But it does a lot more than that. The rich flavonoid content of chamomile helps with digestion and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
In fact luteolin – one of its flavonoids – helps improve a wide array of conditions, acting as a mild pain reliever, anti-spasmodic, fever reducer, and antihistamine. And that’s not all. Luteolin is a potent antioxidant and, as shown in animal studies, it reduces blood pressure.2, 3
Thanks to another flavonoid, apigenin, chamomile acts as an effective natural sedative, relieving anxiety and stress.4 For that reason, brewing a chamomile tea before going to bed or anytime after dinner can help you get a good night sleep, aiding with your goal to keep cortisol levels at bay.
But of course you can drink chamomile tea anytime, especially if you’re having a hectic day. In the hot Florida summer, I love it ice cold with lemon wedges and a sprig of mint.
A Word of Caution
Chamomile has blood-thinning properties, so check with your doctor if you take warfarin (Coumadin) or other anti-coagulant drugs, including aspirin. Also check with your doctor if you’re allergic to plants in the ragweed or daisy family.
To your stress-free life!
1 Aertgeerts P, et al. “Comparison of Kamillosan cream (2 g ethanolic extract from chamomile flowers in 100 g cream) versus steroid (0.25% hydrocortisone, 0.75% fluocortin butyl ester) and non-steroid (5% bufexamac) external agents in the maintenance therapy of eczema [translated from German].” Z Hautkr. 60:270-277. 1985.
2 Cotelle, N.; Bernier, et al. “Antioxidant properties of hydroxyflavones.” Free Radic. Biol. Med. 20(1), 35-43. 1996.
3 Duarte J, et al. “Vasodilatory effects of flavonoids in rat aortic smooth muscle. Structure-activity relationships.” General Pharmacology. Volume 25, Issue 4. July 1993. Pages 857-862.
4 Viola H., Wasowski C., et. al. “Apigenin, a component of Matricaria recutita flowers, is a central benzodiazepine receptors-ligand with anxiolytic effects.” Planta Me. Jun; 61(3):213-6. 1995.