Dear Pharmacist: Recently, you wrote about the medicinal action of herbal teas, and got my attention. I have serious health concerns like diabetes, hypertension, pancreatitis and insomnia. - J.Y., Gainesville, Fla.
As far as tea goes, chamomile is perfect. I've emailed you a free copy of my ebook "Understanding Pancreatitis & Pancreatic Cancer." Researchers report that drinking chamomile tea daily helps prevent complications of diabetes, such as loss of vision, nerve damage and kidney damage.
After reading a study about chamomile's benefits to those with diabetes, I theorized that it must have other benefits for the pancreas. Lo and behold, I found numerous studies discussing apigenin and its ability to inhibits growth of pancreatic cancer cells through various mechanisms. Apigenin is a citrus bioflavonoid compound found in chamomile (and other fruits/vegetables) that gives it a yellow color, and as well as that familiar sedative effect. And apigenin appears to inhibit pancreatic cancer!
Apigenin found in chamomile suppresses pancreatic cancer growth through suppression of "cyclin B-associated cdc2 activity" and "G2/ M arrest," according to the study published in Molecular Cancer December 2006. To spare confusion, apigenin is a compound found in chamomile; it's not a drug. You can get apigenin by purchasing it as a supplement. Another way is to drink chamomile, or take supplements of chamomile.
There are very few warnings associated with the lovely centuries- old flower, but being a natural sedative, chamomile could enhance the effect of prescribed tranquilizers, anti-anxiety medications and prescribed sleepers (alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem) or dietary supplements/herbs such as kava kava, passionflower, GABA. High-dose supplementation could enhance the effect of anti-seizure medications (necessitating the need to lower drug dosage). Teas are weaker than supplements, make your own by steeping one tablespoon of chamomile herb in hot water for 15 minutes.
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