From ancient Rome to modern aromatherapy enthusiasts, chamomile remains a staple in cultures around the world. But this herb is more than a calming scent or soothing drink in the evening. Although at Wellnesse, we do love a steaming cup of chamomile, ahem...possibly saturated with honey.
While ancient history with wild harvesting is fascinating, there is a more direct question we want to dig through for our lives today.
With chamomile's anti-inflammatory properties, effects on the nervous system, and history as a healing medicine, could it help our hair, and how?
Wounds and Ulcers and Burns, Oh My
Internally, chamomile has a set of excellent benefits. Through consumption and inhalation, we receive these effects. But there are also studies done on its external use. Hopefully, some bells are ringing because that means good things for our hair to come.
First, chamomile has fought the battle with cracked nipples, diaper rash, bacterial infections, ear infections, eye infections, burns, ulcers, and other inflammation issues. What is the part of it working all this magic? Often it is apigenin.
Apigenin is the main bioactive component lending chamomile its superpowers.
It is a flavonoid with spectacular effects. Studies have reported it as having effects on diabetes, amnesia, Alzheimer's, depression, insomnia, cancer, and more. This anti-inflammatory, antioxidant phenom is a big reason chamomile is effective in topical use. Are we saying that rubbing chamomile tea bags on your head will stop cancer in its tracks? No, we are not saying that. But similar mechanisms in chamomile that guard against chronic diseases like these also have a positive relationship with healthy hair. So, for a more specific example, chamomile can help soothe the scalp of irritation.
The use of chamomile on your head could mean goodbye dandruff, goodbye eczema, goodbye dry and itch scalps, and hello fantastic smell.
Overall Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea
- Insomnia–whether Roman chamomile, German chamomile, or Egyptian, this flower interacts with our nervous system. Its sedative effects might be again due to apigenin. Apigenin binds to benzodiazepine receptors in our brains. It potentially gives chamomile oil a suppressant or calming effect on convulsions and our CNS (central nervous system). That means calmer, more restful sleep rather than constantly moving throughout the night. Sleep quality should be improving with the consistent use of chamomile. A bonus to this is that chamomile extract may also reduce stress and mild anxiety.
- Cardiovascular conditions–Blood pressure is a stress issue and as we age. Studies on flavonoid consumption (apigenin in chamomile is a flavonoid) were exciting to read. They produced results that mortality due to cardiovascular issues reduced with flavonoid consumption. Chamomile helps with that and aiding in stress relief, which are factors our hearts are happy to have.
- Skin conditions–Chamomile has an exciting relationship with eczema. A study on a chamomile cream compared to a hydrocortisone cream showed how chamomile could outperform its competitor in relieving eczema. Other skin irritations and breakouts, like dark circles and psoriasis, have also been reduced using this herbal tea.
- Sore throat–Studies with post-operation throat soreness showed a significant result. Those who inhaled chamomile before showed had a higher chance of no soreness. That reinforces the old home remedy that a cup of chamomile tea helps alleviate cold symptoms and has soothing properties.
- Digestive issues–In the stomach, chamomile can have a soothing effect. It soothes ulcers, upset stomachs, irritations and can have some antispasmodic properties as well.
- Immune system boost–A study showed that, after days of drinking chamomile, increases in urinary hippurate and glycine were noted. That demonstrates a connection to higher amounts of antibacterial activity. That's an immune system boost in dealing with more than just cold symptoms.
Chamomile for Skin and Hair
For the skin, we've noted significant benefits. That extends to the scalp. Chamomile can help to ease burns, irritations, eliminate free radicals, and even hairline breakouts in some cases. It also reduces redness and even sunburn. While we can get excited about these impressive qualities of this flower, does it also give hair any unique properties?
Yes, it sure does.
If you have struggled with dull-looking hair like many of us, then this flower will be your friend. It can help restore shine, giving back the vibrancy and natural luster your mane should have.
On another fun note, it can also help lighten the hair in a hair rinse protocol. Many do this by washing, then combing in steeped chamomile and leaving it in the hair for hours. Another route is to combine this with lemon juice and spray it on and go out and enjoy the sunlight for several hours as well. There should be a nice lightening effect. It works primarily for blondes with this recipe, but there are some other options for all the different hair colors under the sun! Calendula and hibiscus seem to work for red hair. Nettle, rosemary, and sage do well with brown hair. Black walnut powder has more severe darkening effects and is typically seen used by those with black or very dark brown hair.
Aside from hair lightening effects, chamomile is praised for being effective against hair loss. It's true that with all its positive anti-inflammatory effects on the scalp, it supports healthy hair growth while clearing out some issues causing hair to fall out at the root. This makes chamomile extract helpful in the fight against frizz and brittleness too.
With hair loss in mind, chamomile makes a powerful team when combined with nettle, lavender, and aloe. Lavender detoxifies the scalp. So, chamomile and lavender do a lot of the groundwork in the fight against hair loss. They are also preparing the head and hair to regrow as well. Nettle will help naturally thicken hair, strengthen it, and even regrow it. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, which support new hair growth. Aloe can unclog hair follicles and strengthen hair strands. In our Nourishing Conditioner for All Hair Types, as well as in our Cleansing Shampoo for All Hair Types, aloe doubles as both a healthy ingredient and a surfactant. It gives a great feel to an already nourishing shampoo.
Alone, chamomile has intense benefits. But alongside powerful natural ingredients like these, the benefits are delivered more directly, making this an even more effective element to add to any hair care arsenal. Chamomile is a natural choice for anyone who wants to bolster their locks.
Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., & Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Molecular medicine reports, 3(6), 895–901. https://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2010.377
Salehi, B., Venditti, A., Sharifi-Rad, M., Kręgiel, D., Sharifi-Rad, J., Durazzo, A., Lucarini, M., Santini, A., Souto, E. B., Novellino, E., Antolak, H., Azzini, E., Setzer, W. N., & Martins, N. (2019). The Therapeutic Potential of Apigenin. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(6), 1305. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20061305
Wells, K. (2019, July 30). How to use chamomile herb: Wellness mama. Retrieved March 17, 2021, from https://wellnessmama.com/4856/chamomile-herb-profile/
Wells, K. (2020, May 29). Natural hair dye recipes for any hair color: Wellness mama. Retrieved March 21, 2021, from https://wellnessmama.com/5112/natural-hair-dye/
Wells, K., N., & L. (2019, July 30). DIY herbal Hair RINSE for shiny and strong Hair: Wellness Mama. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://wellnessmama.com/156328/herbal-hair-rinse/