Chamomile tea is a popular beverage that also offers a variety of health benefits.
Chamomile is an herb that comes from the daisy-like flowers of the Asteraceae plant family. It has been consumed for centuries as a natural remedy for several health conditions.
To make chamomile tea, the flowers are dried and then infused into hot water.
Many people enjoy chamomile tea as a caffeine-free alternative to black or green tea and for its earthy, somewhat sweet taste.
Furthermore, chamomile tea is loaded with antioxidants that may play a role in lowering your risk of several diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
Chamomile has properties that may aid sleep and digestion, as well.
This article will discuss 5 potential health benefits of drinking chamomile tea.
1. May Improve Sleep Quality
Chamomile has some unique properties that may benefit the quality of your sleep. It contains apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in your brain that may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia, or the chronic inability to sleep.
In one study, postpartum women who drank chamomile tea for two weeks reported better sleep quality compared to a group that did not drink chamomile tea. They also had fewer symptoms of depression, which is often linked with sleeping problems. Another study found that people who consumed 270 mg of chamomile extract twice daily for 28 days had 1/3 less night time awakening and fell asleep 15 minutes faster than those who did not consume the extract.
These findings are promising, but more studies are necessary to determine the extent of chamomile tea’s effects on sleep. Nevertheless, drinking chamomile tea before bed is certainly worth a try if you have trouble falling or staying asleep.
2. May Promote Digestive Health
Proper digestion is extremely important for your overall health. A small amount of animal research suggests chamomile may be effective for promoting better digestion by reducing the risk of certain gastrointestinal conditions.
A few studies have found that chamomile extract has the potential to protect against diarrhea in mice. This is attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties. Another study in rats found chamomile to be helpful in preventing stomach ulcers, as it may reduce acidity in the stomach and inhibit the growth of bacteria that contribute to ulcer development.
Despite these findings, more human research is needed to confirm chamomile’s role in digestion. Nevertheless, there are many anecdotal claims that drinking chamomile tea is soothing to the stomach. Traditionally, it has been used to treat several digestive ailments, including nausea and gas.
3. May Protect Against Certain Types of Cancer
The antioxidants found in chamomile tea have been linked with a lower incidence of certain types of cancer. Chamomile contains the antioxidant apigenin. In test-tube studies, apigenin has been shown to fight cancer cells, especially those of the breast, digestive tract, skin, prostate and uterus.
Additionally, one study of 537 people observed that those who drank chamomile tea 2–6 times per week were significantly less likely to develop thyroid cancer than those who did not drink chamomile tea. These findings are promising, but more high-quality, human research is necessary to make a conclusion regarding chamomile tea’s role in cancer prevention.
4. May Benefit Blood Sugar Control
Drinking chamomile tea may aid in lowering blood sugar levels. Its anti-inflammatory properties may prevent damage to the cells of your pancreas, which occurs when your blood sugar levels are chronically elevated.
The health of your pancreas is extremely important, as it produces insulin, the hormone responsible for removing sugar from your blood. In one study of 64 diabetic people, those who consumed chamomile tea daily with meals for eight weeks had significantly lower average blood sugar levels than those who consumed water.
Additionally, several animal studies suggest that chamomile tea may lower fasting blood sugar levels by a considerable amount, and it may also be beneficial for preventing blood sugar spikes after eating. Most of the evidence regarding chamomile tea’s role in controlling blood sugar is based on results from non-human studies. Nevertheless, the findings are promising, as blood sugar control is an important factor in reducing the risk of diabetes .
5. May Improve Heart Health
Chamomile tea is abundant in flavones, a type of antioxidant. Flavones have been studied for their potential to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are important markers of your heart disease risk.
One study of 64 diabetic patients found that those who drank chamomile tea with meals had noteworthy improvements in their total cholesterol, triglyceride and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, compared to those who drank water.
More research is necessary to confirm chamomile tea’s role in promoting heart health, but it certainly couldn’t hurt to include it in your diet.
Other Potential Health Benefits
The following health benefits of chamomile tea are mostly anecdotal and not supported by scientific research:
- Boosts immune health:Chamomile tea is often promoted as a strategy for preventing and treating the common cold, but evidence for this is lacking. It has also been said to be soothing for sore throats.
- Relieves anxiety and depression:There is some evidence that chamomile may reduce the severity of anxiety and depression, but this is mostly based on using it as an aromatherapy or taking it as a supplement.
- Improves skin health:It has been reported that applying chamomile to the skin via cosmetic products, such as lotions, eye creams and soaps, may be moisturizing and helpful for reducing skin inflammation.
- Prevents bone loss:Some claim that chamomile tea may play a role in preventing bone loss that leads to conditions like osteoporosis. However, evidence for this is weak (1).
Although these health claims lack evidence, that does not mean they are false. They simply have not been studied yet and may be in the future.
Adverse Effects of Chamomile Tea
Drinking chamomile tea is generally safe for most people. There have been reports of chamomile allergies, which are most likely to occur in individuals who are allergic to plants in the Asteraceae family, such as ragweed and chrysanthemums. Furthermore, cosmetic products that contain chamomile may be irritating to the eyes if they make direct contact with them. This may lead to conjunctivitis, which is inflammation of the lining of your eye.
It is also important to note that the safety of drinking chamomile tea has not been established in young children, pregnant or nursing women and people with liver or kidney disease. Nevertheless, there have not been any reports of life-threatening adverse reactions or toxicity from drinking chamomile tea.