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Chamomile Tea Lowers The Risk Of One Very Big Cancer
Everyone loves the taste of sweet, mild chamomile tea, and for anyone with insomnia, this tea can be a godsend. However, a recent study has everyone buzzing about what else this tiny little flower can do for us: Lower the risk of thyroid cancer.
As far back as Roman times (and perhaps even before that!) chamomile has been used in extracts, tinctures, and teas to encourage a sense of calm, relaxation, and bring about more restful sleep. It was even used in ancient times to bring out the highlights in light-colored hair and even out skin tones. Chamomile is still used for all of these things — even today! However, chamomile can do so much more for the body than simply lighten our hair and encourage good digestion.
A study recently published in the European Journal of Public Health showed that regular consumption of chamomile can greatly reduce the risk of developing thyroid cancer. Although thyroid cancer can usually be treated with radioactive iodine or surgery, you know the old saying: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
This study split more than 500 subjects into three groups. The first group was made up of subjects who had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The second group was subjects who were cancer-free, and the third group was subjects who had a history of benign thyroid disease. Each group answered a detailed questionnaire about things such as their dietary habits, general lifestyle habits, medical history, and beverage consumption, including soda, coffee, tea, juice, and sports drinks.
Scientists found the group that stated they consumed the highest amounts of chamomile tea had the lowest risk of developing thyroid cancer, and the percentage was significant! Those who consumed between two to six cups of chamomile tea each week had a 70 percent lower risk of developing this type of cancer! In fact, for those who had been consuming this amount of chamomile tea over a 30-year or longer period, the risk was 80 percent less than people who drank one cup or less of chamomile tea.
Although numerous studies have been done with black tea or green tea and their relationship to disease, there have been no studies done regarding the consumption of herbal teas and disease to date.
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The scientists involved in this study believe that the reduced risk of thyroid cancer comes from one of the active ingredients in chamomile called apigenin, which has been shown in other studies to have anti-cancer activity. Apigenin can be found in many foods including celery, fruit, parsley, and more vegetables. Studies involving animals found that apigenin slowed cancer growth and shrank cancerous tumors. In one study, mice that had been injected with a type of very fast growing type of breast cancer cells saw their cancerous growth slow and tumors get smaller after being given an extract containing apigenin.
The blood vessels that were feeding these tumors also shrank considerably, which restricted the nutrient flow to these tumor cells, essentially starving them to death. Another study involving rats and breast cancer were also found to develop fewer tumors and delays in tumor formation after these rats were given apigenin.
In 2013, another study found that apigenin was able to stop breast cancer cells from inhibiting their own death. Apigenin was found to bind to more than 160 proteins in the human body, which, unlike many pharmaceutical drugs that have only one target, means apigenin can have very far-reaching effects when it comes to human health.
It is also interesting to note that the people of Greece have much lower rates of thyroid cancer than either Europeans or Americans. The U.S. has about 13.2 cases of thyroid cancer per 100,000 people and Europe has about 5.2 cases; however, Greece has only about 1.6 cases per each 100,000 people. Of course, most of the Greek people eat a healthy Mediterranean diet, centered around fresh vegetables, olive oil, and other healthy fats. They also consume lots of herbal teas, including chamomile tea, which may account for their low rates of thyroid cancer.
In Germany, chamomile tea is approved for use to reduce swelling, stomach cramps, and as a sleep aide.
This is a breakthrough study as it shows, for the first time, that the consumption of herbal tea and a lower risk of disease is not only a belief, but a fact. This is also the first study which shows that chamomile tea can greatly reduce the risk of thyroid cancer in humans, rather than simply a means of relief from insomnia.
Herbal teas, such as chamomile, have many beneficial compounds such as flavonoids and polyphenols, along with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.
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In addition to helping us relax, fall asleep, and, apparently, to fight thyroid cancer, chamomile can also:
- Wound Healing – When applied to the skin, chamomile can help wounds to heal faster.
- Insect Bites or Stings – Chamomile can calm the irritation caused by those annoying insect bites or stings when applied topically.
- Diabetes Help – Studies involving diabetic rats who were given chamomile showed that it can help to lower blood glucose levels.
- Calm Anxious Feelings – The active ingredient in chamomile, glycine, is a nerve relaxant, which means it can calm muscle spasms and menstrual cramps, as well as calm those nervous or anxious feelings.
- Digestion Problems – Since chamomile is an excellent muscle relaxant, it is well-known for calming nervous or upset stomachs and can even help those with IBS.
- Help for Hemorrhoids – Chamomile is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, so drinking this tea regularly can help to improve hemorrhoids.
- Calms Skin Problems – Chamomile can calm the body both inside and out. When applied topically, chamomile can ease skin irritations such as rashes, sunburns, and eczema.
Chamomile is one of the most popular teas in the world, with more than one million pounds of this herb being imported into the U.S. every single year. About 90 percent of the chamomile tea grown will be consumed in a tea form.
This herb has had sufficient amounts of studies done which support claims that this herb can alleviate diarrhea, relief of colic in infants, heal wound, eczema treatment, sleep enhancement, calm feelings of nervousness and anxiety, as well as improve digestion.
Is it any wonder that many people consider this tea an all-around, good-for-you health tonic?
If you enjoy the taste of chamomile tea, try drinking a cup each night before bed or one cup after a meal if you suffer from gastrointestinal problems.
Please note that if you are allergic to ragweed, asters, arnica, yarrow flowers, chrysanthemums, or marigolds, chamomile is probably not for you.
Also, if you are taking blood thinners, there have been a few reports of drug interactions. Please consult with your doctor if you are taking any prescription medications, or if you are under a doctor’s care for any health condition, before you consume any herbal product, including chamomile tea.