Chamomile tea is an herbal tea made from dried chamomile flowers. Matricaris retutica(German chamomile) and Chamaemelum nobile (Roman chamomile) are two popularly used species of chamomile to make this tea.
Chamomile offers various health and beauty benefits. That’s why chamomile preparations have been used for centuries as a traditional medicine. The apigenin, alpha-bisabolol, sesquiterpenes, terpenoids, flavonoids and several other compounds contained in the dried chamomile give the flower its medical properties.
History of Chamomile
Chamomile is an herb that has been used in traditional and herbal medicines for thousands of years. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks used chamomile for its multitude of physical and mental benefits. Among its many other uses, chamomile may help to reduce anxiety, ease insomnia, calm upset stomachs and soothe minor burns.
Chamomile for anxiety
Chamomile is known to be effective in treating different ailments like muscle cramps, cold, abscesses, hemorrhoids, acne, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, chicken pox, and even ulcer.
It has subtle taste and aroma which helps you in relaxing with every sip you take in. The tea indeed has potential evidence supporting the effectiveness of chamomile in relieving general anxiety and even clinical depression.
Chamomile tea relaxes blood vessels
Hydroxylates like apigenin, luteolin, and bisabolol are primary constituents of chamomile, all of which sooth and calm blood vessels and muscle fibers. It was confirmed by a recent study conducted at the University of Nottingham Medical School, UK.
Another study conducted at the Eulji University Hospital, South Korea also made the same conclusion. This study was conducted on a group of 56 patients undergoing coronary treatment and surgery. A group of participants was given aromatherapy with a mixture of chamomile, neroli, and lavender, while the other group was limited to only nursing care.
Significant reduction in anxiety was noticed in the participants who received aromatherapy as compared to those who received nursing care only.
Chamomile tea helps to sleep better
Apigenin and flavonoids in chamomile also act as a mild tranquilizer and sleep inducer. Its sedative effect is one of the natural ways of treating insomnia without side effects. Moreover, chamomile tea does not contain caffeine. So drinking it before bed would help you in getting sound sleep rather than jittery effects.
From the aforementioned study, conducted at the Eulji University Hospital, it was found that participants who received aromatherapy also had improved sleep. Learn more on how chamomile tea helps to sleep better.
Evidence on benefits of Chamomile tea for Anxiety
The anti-anxiety and anti-depressive properties of chamomile have been supported by a clinical study. It was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 2009.
The study was double-blinded placebo controlled which enrolled 57 people – 19 people with anxiety and depression, 16 people with a history of anxiety and depression and 22 people with no anxiety or depression at present or in past.
During the study that lasted for 8 weeks, a group of random participants received 220 mg of chamomile extract (containing 1.2% apigenin) while the other group was given a placebo, both in forms of the capsule. The subjects were given 1 capsule during the first week, 2 capsules during the second week, 3 capsules the third week, 4 the fourth, and 5 for rest of the weeks.
At the end of the study, it was found that score of Hamilton Anxiety Rating (HAM-A) [a technique used to determine the level of anxiety through questionnaires] was significantly low in the chamomile group. To be precise, the HAM-A score reduced by over 50% in 57% of the participants of the chamomile group.
Three years later, in late 2013, the research was re-investigated by the researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. It was concluded at this point that using chamomile as an anti-anxiety product was clinically meaningful.
Non-medicinal benefits of drinking chamomile tea
Drinking tea is an obvious excuse to drink more fluid. As a direct impact, your body remains hydrated and prevents worsening of anxiety symptoms.
On the other hand, tea drinking is a calm activity; it demands patience in the tea drinker. So it is a good opportunity for you to sit back and allow your mind and body to relax whenever you are holding your cup of tea.
Expecting a cup of tea to do all the magic for you would be something foolish. But, try considering other factors of your lifestyle, consult with your health experts and then feel the changes that the chamomile tea brings in your anxious life with very less or no use of any medicinal drugs.
Types of Chamomile
Chamomile is commonly used in capsule form and in calming tea preparations for promoting sleep, relaxation and anxiety and stress relief. There are two types of chamomile: German and English. The German chamomile plant is more popularly used in the United States, according to the National Institute of Health Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Both appear to have the same properties, although they are two distinct species.
Although chamomile is considered to be one of the safest herbs you can take, people with asthma should avoid chamomile as it can exacerbate their symptoms. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, pregnant women should stay away from chamomile due to the risk of miscarriage. People who are allergic to the aster, daisy or sunflower family of plants may also have an allergic reaction to chamomile.