Chamomile is one of the most popular herbal teas. Moms give it to their children to soothe tummy aches and may have a cup themselves to relieve stress or gastrointestinal discomfort. People tum to chamomile tea to calm themselves at bedtime or to reduce cold and flu symptoms... and now evidence has emerged that it may also be helpful in preventing complications of type 2 diabetes.

Chamomile Quenches free Radicals

According to Stanley Mirsky, MD, former associate clinical professor of medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and coauthor of the Diabetes Survival Guide, chamomile is thought to be beneficial for people with diabetes because it is so rich in antioxidants, which quench free radicals in the body that contribute to disease by allowing inflammation to flourish. In Japan and the United Kingdom (same study, multiple international authors in different locations), researchers fed diabetic rats a chamomile extract prepared from the dried flowers of Matricaria chamomilla for 21 days. When compared with a similar group of rats who also had diabetes and were fed the same diet but without the chamomile, the chamomile-treated animals had a significant drop in blood sugar. There was also a decline in two enzymes that are associated with dangerous diabetic complications such as loss of vision, nerve damage and kidney damage.

Results of the study were published in the journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The researchers expressed hope that these preliminary findings might one day lead to a chamomile-based treatment for diabetes that would be cheaper and have less side effects than pharmaceutical treatments.

Even as this research continues, it may be helpful to add chamomile tea to your diet. For those who like it (and have no contraindications, as it is known to interact with certain medications), it may be a good substitute for sugary sodas or fruit juices, which can wreak havoc on blood sugar levels. Check with your doctor first.

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