Is Chamomile Tea Good for Menstrual Cramps?

matricaria-recutitaThe health benefits of chamomile tea have been known for a long time. Now the experiments conducted by British scientists show that regularly drinking it, two or three cups a day, can help fight off a cold or flu, reduce inflammation, soothe the nerves, ease menstrual cramps, and so on. Traditionally, it is believed to be a sedative, anti-inflammatory herb. No wonder since ancient time it has been used as herbal remedies to treat a variety of diseases, such as menstrual disorders, insomnia, hay fever, hemorrhoids, and more.

Recently a group of scientists from Imperial College in London have done a series tests, including testing a urine sample, for 14 people who have a habit of drinking chamomile tea. The result found that if a person drank at least 5 cups a day and insisted for at least 2 weeks his or her urine could be full of many anticonvulsants, anti-inflammatory chemicals. The survey results soon will be published in paper form on the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry”.

Dr. Elaine Holmes from Imperial College and her partners have been interested in the medical efficacy of chamomile in popular folk recipes. Given that it has been described as an omnipotent herb by many believers, this time they decided to scientifically test whether or not chamomile really acts as what they’ve said about it. According to the scientists, people in many parts of the United Kingdom have a long history of using chamomile tea as an anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer drug, and sometimes even as a mild sedative.

In the experiment the scientists found antioxidants and some elements that could inhibit microbial growth in chamomile oil. The species used in the experiment is Matricaria recutita, commonly called German chamomile. In the urine samples of those who have used chamomile tea for 2 weeks, the scientists have found that the concentrations of both glycine and hippurate were significantly increased. By the way, glycine is anti-inflammatory and hippurate can relieve muscle spasms. It is worth mentioning that high levels of glycine and hippurate had still remained for about another 2 weeks even though the experimental participants stopped drinking this tea. That’s to say, the effect of chamomile can last for a long time.

Hippurate is a decomposition product of flavonoids. And hippurate has been confirmed to link with antimicrobial activity. It does a good job of explaining why the increased hippurate level after drinking tea can improve the anti-infective effect. As mentioned above, glycine is a chemical that relieves muscle spasm and nerve. Experts say that high levels of glycine help relax the uterus, which is why chamomile tea can be used to alleviate menstrual cramps.

However, the experimental results did not convince all scientists. For example, Dr. Ron Eccles from Cardiff University in Wales argued that it can’t prove anything by simply looking for certain chemical elements high in the urine. In addition, he also pointed out that there might be some truth in all this but more normative clinical trials are needed to be acknowledged by social scientists.

When it comes to the dose of chamomile used to fight menstrual cramps, there are no universal standards. If it is in the form of capsules, the recommended dose is 400-1600 mg. Of course, it is more often consumed as tea. In this case, you are recommended to drink 1 to 4 cups a day.

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