When it comes to reducing Alzheimer’s risk and improving brain health, there are many small things we can do every day. Regular exercise, supplementation, and a diet consisting of whole foods and little to no processed foods or sugar can have a substantial effect.
But one of the healthiest things you can do for your brain couldn’t be simpler. And it’s something you may be doing already, especially during wintertime.
To reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s, simply enjoy a cup of tea — specifically of the chamomile variety.
Three ways chamomile gives your health a boost
Decades of research shows that chamomile is rich in bioflavonoids — known more simply as flavonoids.
In plants, these compounds serve key functions such as regulating cell growth and attracting pollinating insects. Inside the human body, flavonoids play a part in essential tasks like inhibiting the breakdown of vitamin C (which maximizes its effectiveness) and promoting healthy blood vessel function.
We’ll circle back to chamomile’s brain and Alzheimer’s prevention benefits in a moment. First, let’s look at three big ways this simple tea helps you stay healthy:
- Immune system support
Chamomile’s flavonoids stimulate the immune system with an antioxidant effect, due in part to the many nutrients found in the chamomile flower, including: magnesium, folate, potassium, calcium, and vitamin A, among others. Ancient Egyptians were actually the first to put these healing properties to use as a fever reducer.
A study from the Imperial College of London shows that chamomile flavonoids boost urinary levels of hippurate, a by-product often found after the body processes digestive polyphenols. Hippurates are associated with antibacterial activity. Higher hippurate levels are indicative of a healthy diet and optimal gut health. The researchers believe this could be a key part of the mechanism that helps chamomile fight infection.
- Blood sugar regulator
Based on evidence that chamomile helps stabilize blood sugar levels, researchers at Iran’s Tabriz University recruited more than 60 diabetics. For eight weeks, half drank water after each meal while the other half followed their meals by drinking three grams of chamomile tea in 6 oz. of hot water.
Blood tests showed that those who drank chamomile had lower blood sugar and higher antioxidant levels. In addition, insulin levels were lower in the chamomile group, as were serum levels of malondialdehyde — a marker for oxidative stress in diabetics. Researchers also noted a drop in glycosylated hemoglobin, which is what glucose binds to in the blood, causing dangerous spikes in blood sugar.
- Sleep aid
Chamomile is well-known for its calming effects. It’s usually prepared as tea or essential oil aromatherapy to reduce anxiety and induce sleep. Researchers believe that this benefit is due to a flavonoid called apigenin (which binds to the same receptors in the brain that tranquilizing benzodiazepine drugs bind to).
For eons, people have relied on a cup of chamomile tea to help promote sleep at bedtime. Oddly, researchers have not done much to investigate this effect, but in one small study, 10 of 12 participants fell into a deep sleep shortly after drinking chamomile tea and slept soundly for about 90 minutes, proving its strong benefits for improved rest.
In addition to sleep, blood sugar, and immune support, chamomile has also shown promise as a potential cancer fighter, most notably as a thyroid cancer preventive. It also relieves gastrointestinal inflammation and inhibits Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers.
Your brain never had it so good
The aforementioned benefits alone would be enough to solidify chamomile’s place as an essential therapeutic agent. But as I mentioned above, chamomile also delivers Alzheimer’s prevention benefits.
This is primarily due to the flavonoid apigenin, which I briefly mentioned earlier.
In Dr. Fred Pescatore’s Drug-Free Protocol for Reversing Alzheimer’s and Dementia, he refers to apigenin as a “miraculous healing molecule,” and a “tonic for brain cells.”
He cites a Chinese study where researchers genetically bred mice to develop Alzheimer’s disease, then gave them apigenin: “Astoundingly, the mice didn’t develop the typical memory loss of Alzheimer’s. And they had better brain clearance of beta-amyloid, the toxic protein that riddles the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.”
In addition, apigenin cleared away cell-damaging free radicals while also increasing production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. Here’s how Dr. Pescatore describes BDNF: “This amazing brain chemical protects and energizes neurons — and low levels are linked to a wide array of mental and emotional problems, including Alzheimer’s. The study researchers endorsed apigenin as an ‘alternative medicine’ for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”
But apigenin’s brain-protecting effects go beyond Alzheimer’s. In his groundbreaking online learning protocol, Dr. Pescatore explains in how apigenin has been shown to prevent and treat four other major conditions:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Mental decline post-stroke
And in more than a dozen studies, apigenin weakened the ability of glioma brain cancer cells to thrive and spread. In one study, apigenin killed 40 percent of glioma cells within 48 hours.
So it’s no wonder that Dr. Pescatore advises: “For your brain’s sake, get more apigenin in your diet!”
Soups, salads, and a bright, healthy brain
In addition to chamomile tea, there are two food sources that are uniquely rich in apigenin: celery and parsley. Dr. Pescatore recommends eating celery sticks for snacks: “They’re great with a little almond or macadamia nut butter. Add celery to soups, salads, and stews.” Parsley can be used to garnish soups, salads, and other dishes. The more, the better!
Aside from these three apigenin powerhouses, you can also boost your intake of this flavonoid by eating broccoli, tomatoes, beans, onions, basil, and leeks, and by using the spices rosemary, oregano, and thyme.
Apigenin can also be found in supplement form, although Dr. Pescatore notes that supplements are not widely available at this point. And he adds: “Whether you use produce or a pill, what’s most important is to make sure you get regular doses of apigenin daily to support your brain.”
For more natural ways to build a bigger, better brain, check out Dr. Pescatore’s Drug-Free Protocol for Reversing Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Learn more or enroll today by clicking here.
Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future
Molecular Medicine Reports
November 1, 2010
Chamomile tea improves glycemic indices and antioxidants status in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.