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Chamomile Tea: A Natural Cure for Thyroid Problems?

A new study has found that drinking chamomile tea several times a week can help boost thyroid health and even prevent thyroid cancer. Find out more below!
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Tea is helpful for more than just colds and feeling more British. Many teas have beneficial properties that can help boost the immune system, aid in weight loss, and possibly even reduce your risk of developing thyroid cancer and other thyroid problems.

How does this work? Find out more below!

Beneficial Ingredients in Tea

Tea is basically transforming lettuce or your spice cabinet into a drinkable beverage, so it makes sense that some of the vitamins and beneficial ingredients in herbs and greens would seep into your tea. Most teas contain antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids. Others contain minerals and vitamins that are essential for overall health.

Although many studies have shown the benefits of tea on a smaller scale, a new study from Greece has found that chamomile tea, in particular, may be protective against thyroid cancer and other thyroid issues. Other teas that benefited thyroid health included sage and mountain herbs, but chamomile had the biggest protective effect against thyroid cancer.

Study Details

According to a study published in the European Journal of Public Health in April 2015, the Greek population has much lower thyroid cancer rates that individuals in the United States and Europe. In Greece, about 1.6 people per 100,000 have thyroid cancer, while in the United States, about 13.2 people per 100,000 have thyroid cancer.

Strangely, the study found that Greek residents who drank chamomile tea two to six times a week had a 70 percent lower risk of developing thyroid problems. If the study participants drank chamomile tea regularly for 30 years or more, their thyroid problem risk dropped 80 percent.

The study researchers stated, “Our findings suggest for the first time that drinking herbal teas, especially chamomile, protects from thyroid cancer as well as other benign thyroid diseases.”

Although this study was small, with just over 100 participants, it does indicate that chamomile could have a beneficial effect on the thyroid. The study researchers did state that some of the benefit could come from the Mediterranean diet as a whole (which offers healthy fats, a lot of fish, and a large daily portion of vegetables and fruit) rather than just the tea.

However, the study participants who drank tea had significantly reduced risk over the study participants who did not drink chamomile tea as often. Thyroid cancer was not the only reduced risk. Tea-drinkers had a significantly reduced risk for all types of thyroid issues.

Although these study results are encouraging, researchers caution that it is a blend of tea and an overall healthy lifestyle that will produce the biggest benefit. An unhealthy diet filled with processed foods will still harm the thyroid.

Why is Chamomile Tea More Effective Than Other Tea?

The study researchers theorized that the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in chamomile tea are beneficial for the thyroid. But what makes chamomile different from other teas is that it is a blend of multiple plants rather than the leaves of a single plant.

Chamomile tea contains apigenin, which is a flavonoid thought to have cancer-fighting properties. Apigenin is also found in fruit, vegetables, other herbs, parsley, and celery. In animal studies, apigenin was found to slow cancer growth and even shrink tumors. The animal studies have found that apigenin may be more effective than other treatments because it has multiple effects on tumors, such as cutting off blood flow to tumors, binding proteins to the body, and slowing the replication rate of cancer cells.

Chamomile also contains additional beneficial nutrients which are effective in boosting thyroid health. Chamomile has been linked with anti-inflammatory properties, antiseptic properties, and antiviral properties.

Other Reasons to Drink Chamomile

Chamomile tea is also beneficial for the following conditions:

Wound Care

Because chamomile is anti-viral and antibacterial, it is effective in cleaning wounds and insect bites. Chamomile contains the flavonoids of luteolin, apigenin, and quercetin, which makes it beneficial in wound treatment. Both external application and regular internal consumption can help heal wounds faster.

Healthy Sleep

Chamomile has long been known as the “sleepy” tea, because it can induce sleep, which is beneficial for establishing a circadian rhythm. Researchers believe that it is, once again, apigenin that provides the sleep-boosting effects. Drink chamomile at night before bed to induce a relaxing sleep. A study from the University of Michigan in 2011 found that when study participants supplemented with chamomile, they not only slept better at night but were also more alert during the day.

Stomach Health

Chamomile’s anti-inflammatory properties also make it soothing on the stomach. Chamomile has been used to treat stomach pain caused by a variety of issues. Chamomile is able to dispel gas and relax the muscles that move food through the intestines, aiding in digestion. A study from 2004 conducted by German researchers found that supplementing with chamomile was able to significantly relieve pain in study participants with irritable bowel syndrome.


How Much Chamomile Should I Drink?

The Greek study found that drinking a cup of chamomile tea twice a week was enough to reduce thyroid cancer and thyroid problem risks by up to 70 percent. This is an easy way to boost your thyroid health. The American Botanical Council recommends using about half a teaspoon of chamomile per half-cup of boiling water steeped for about 10 minutes. A tea bag of chamomile tea will have about 2 teaspoons to a tablespoon of tea leaves, but the tea may have other ingredients in addition to chamomile leaves.

The best time to drink chamomile tea is at the end of the day when you want to wind down, but you can also drink it after meals for a relaxing end-of-meal drink.

Risks and Side Effects

Chamomile is an herbal plant, which some people may be allergic to. Individuals who are allergie to ragweed, pollen, asters, yarrow, marigold, arnica, or chrysanthemums may also be allergic to chamomile. Before you drink any chamomile tea, test for a reaction externally to prevent any side effects. If you are allergic, you may sneeze, get a runny nose, a clogged throat, itchy eyes, or even red marks on your skin.

Some individuals report interactions between chamomile and blood-thinning medication. If you are on medication, consult with your doctor before drinking chamomile tea regularly.

What Else Boosts Thyroid Health?

The thyroid is a delicate system of hormone creation that is sensitive to the overall health of the body. Even small imbalances can cause serious problems in the thyroid. Among American adults, the most common problem is a sluggish thyroid, caused by the production of too-little thyroid hormones.

Chronic inflammation, stress, poor diet, and a lack of nutrients can slow the thyroid. This creates a chain reaction that causes a variety of health problems from weight gain to other serious health problems. Luckily, there are quite a few natural treatments for thyroid problems.

Unless you have a serious hormone deficiency or thyroid cancer, it may be possible to boost your thyroid health using natural methods. The following natural treatments for thyroid health have been found to be most effective:

Diet and Supplements

The biggest boost you can give your thyroid is a healthy diet. Junk foods cause inflammation, which slows the thyroid. Exchange processed, unhealthy food for a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. The Mediterranean diet, typical to Greece, is beneficial for thyroid function as the 2015 study shows. You may also find it beneficial to supplement with thyroid-boosting nutrients. Protein, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, vitamin C, iodine, selenium, zinc, L-tyrosine, and copper are all essential for optimal thyroid function. Before supplementing with iodine or selenium, have your doctor check your levels. Too much of these nutrients can actually cause more harm than good.

Avoid Thyroid Damagers

According to Web MD, the following items may cause problems with your thyroid. If you have a sluggish thyroid, you will benefit from avoiding these ingredients that slow your thyroid down and damage your metabolism. Ephedra, found in cold remedies and some herbal formulas  can cause thyroid problems, insomnia, headaches, and high blood pressure. Alkaloids, such as caffeine, quinine, and morphine can increase heart rate and blood pressure and damage the thyroid.

Exercise

Exercise has been linked to a boost in thyroid function and metabolism. Moderate exercise at least three times a week, including both aerobic exercise and strength training, has been shown to boost thyroid function. Exercise works to burn fat faster by increasing the metabolism and providing the right balance of hormones. Exercise also boosts the mood, which can be adversely affected by a sluggish thyroid.

Chamomile Helps Prevent Thyroid Problems

Thanks to its unique properties, chamomile tea is an effective preventive measure for thyroid cancer. Drinking a daily cup of chamomile tea can not only reduce your risk of developing thyroid cancer, but it can also help to prevent a sluggish thyroid. Combining daily chamomile with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and targeted supplements is a healthy and effective way to benefit your thyroid and reduce your risk of developing thyroid problems.

Sources


http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/20/us-chamomile-tea-thyroid-cancer-idUSKBN0NB2AX20150420?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22569706

http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbclip/364/review060385-364.html

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