Originating from the globally-grown chamomile herb, recognized for its unique apple-scented aroma, chamomile tea is a cherished herbal brew. Numerous experts and studies highlight its potential health-enhancing properties.
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Understanding Chamomile Tea
Derived from the blossoms of the chamomile plant, chamomile tea is a cherished herbal infusion. While there are various chamomile species, the German and Roman chamomile flowers are predominantly used for tea preparation.
Historical records suggest chamomile’s medicinal use dates back to ancient civilizations like Rome, Egypt, and Greece. Contemporary research delves into the plant’s potential health benefits, pinpointing key components such as flavonoids (antioxidant-rich phytochemicals), terpenoids (organic compounds found naturally in plants), and coumarins (fragrant chemicals also present in cinnamon). These components, inherent in many plants, boast therapeutic attributes. Today, chamomile tea is sought after for its potential to alleviate issues like insomnia, anxiety, and digestive troubles.
Advantages of Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is believed to offer a range of health advantages. Although there’s limited research specifically on chamomile in tea form, findings from studies on chamomile extract or its other derivatives indicate potential health perks from this herbal brew.
Promoting Restful Sleep
Many turn to chamomile tea as a bedtime ritual to promote relaxation and better sleep. One of chamomile’s compounds, apigenin—a natural antioxidant flavonoid—has soothing properties that can reduce anxiety and aid in sleep induction, explains Dr. Monisha Bhanote, an integrative medicine specialist from Jacksonville, Florida.
In 2017, a study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine showcased that out of 60 elderly participants, those who consumed 200 milligrams of chamomile extract capsules twice a day noticed marked sleep improvements over a 28-day period. Additionally, a comprehensive review of 12 studies in Phytotherapy Research suggested chamomile’s potential in enhancing sleep and alleviating anxiety. However, the authors highlighted the need for more research to solidify these findings.
Easing Digestive Discomfort
Chamomile tea can be beneficial for those grappling with digestive challenges like diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, and other gut-related concerns. Its mild bitterness is believed to soothe indigestion and gently boost digestive processes, notes Holly Bellebuono, a renowned herbalist and the author behind “An Herbalist’s Guide to Formulary.”
Recent findings from a 2023 study highlighted the efficacy of chamomile drops in curbing flatulence among patients post-gallbladder surgery. This effect might be attributed to chamomile’s potential to diminish inflammation and relax the digestive tract’s smooth muscles. Nonetheless, additional studies are crucial to substantiate these claims.
Mitigating PMS Symptoms
Sipping on herbal teas, particularly chamomile, can offer relief from PMS symptoms, suggests Bellebuono. Chamomile possesses properties that may diminish anxiety, combat bloating, and calm a troubled stomach. Additionally, “a warm cup of chamomile tea can potentially reduce inflammation, pain, and pelvic spasms, proving beneficial for those suffering from menstrual cramps.”
In a comprehensive review from 2021, spanning seven studies, chamomile emerged as a potential remedy to lessen menstrual pain and regulate bleeding linked to PMS. Another research involving 118 participants showed that those consuming 250 mg chamomile capsules every eight hours reported milder emotional PMS symptoms than their counterparts on a placebo.
Potential in Blood Sugar Management
Dr. Bhanote highlights that chamomile tea might play a role in maintaining balanced blood sugar levels, thanks to compounds such as apigenin and quercetin. Early research indicates these elements can reduce blood sugar concentrations. “Chamomile’s combined anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities might also indirectly aid in moderating blood sugar by tackling issues like insulin resistance and oxidative stress, which refers to cellular harm from free radicals,” she adds.
A study published in Nutrition in 2016 discovered that consuming chamomile tea thrice daily over an eight-week span led to diminished insulin levels and improved insulin resistance. It also resulted in lowered hemoglobin A1C values, reflecting long-term blood sugar averages, in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, an analysis encompassing 15 studies revealed that chamomile might offer protection against oxidative stress and complications associated with diabetes, such as diabetic nephropathy or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Potential for Heart Health Enhancement
Dr. Bhanote points out that chamomile tea’s active components might confer heart health advantages. Research suggests chamomile’s potential to decrease inflammation, stabilize blood pressure, and minimize cholesterol levels is partly attributed to its flavonoids, known to promote heart well-being.
In a 2015 study involving 64 type 2 diabetes patients, participants experienced enhanced hemoglobin A1c, insulin levels, and a notable drop in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides after drinking chamomile tea thrice daily for eight weeks. Another 2017 Phytomedicine study, centered on chamomile’s impact on generalized anxiety disorder, found that consuming 1,500 milligrams of chamomile extract daily led to significant reductions in arterial blood pressure and body weight over a 12-week span.
The FDA recognizes chamomile tea as generally safe for food consumption. However, a few might encounter rare side effects, including nausea, dizziness, or allergic reactions, when using chamomile-based products.
While chamomile in tea quantities is generally safe, it might not be suitable for everyone. Bellebuono notes, “As chamomile belongs to the ragweed family, ragweed allergy sufferers might experience exacerbated symptoms.” The safety of chamomile tea during pregnancy or lactation isn’t fully established, and it might interfere with medications like warfarin or cyclosporine.
Moreover, chamomile ranks high on the FODMAP scale, potentially exacerbating symptoms in those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). There’s also potential interference with diabetes medications. Those considering chamomile tea for therapeutic benefits should engage with a healthcare expert, especially if they’re managing health issues or on specific medications.
- The effects of chamomile extract on sleep quality among elderly people: A clinical trial
- Therapeutic efficacy and safety of chamomile for state anxiety
- The effect of chamomile on flatulence after the laparoscopic cholecystectomy
- The Effect of Chamomile on Pain and Menstrual Bleeding in Primary Dysmenorrhea
- The effect of Matricaria chamomile on menstrual related mood disorders
- Chamomile tea improves glycemic indices and antioxidants status in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.) and diabetes mellitus, current knowledge and the way forward: A systematic review
- Effectiveness of chamomile tea on glycemic control and serum lipid profile in patients with type 2 diabetes
- Long-term Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) treatment for generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized clinical trial