Benefits of Chamomile Tea: Sip Your Way to Good Health

cup of tea

Written by Emilee Petkus | Edited By: Carol Coutinho

November 7, 2020

As the temperature starts dropping, we begin searching for the things that will help make our days seem a bit cozier. A crackling fire, a thick blanket, and a good book (or perhaps a favorite film if you prefer) are all the ingredients necessary for a comfy night in. It seems the only thing missing is a nice, warming cup of tea. But wait! Before you go and make yourself a cup of earl grey or English breakfast, have you ever thought about brewing a pot of chamomile instead? This herbal tea will still warm you up from head to toe; however, it also offers a wide range of additional benefits absent from the other blends in your cabinet.

So What is Chamomile Tea? 

Chamomile tea is brewed from the delicate flowers of a daisy-like plant from the family Asteraceae, which includes sunflowers and marigolds. It is important to remember that there are two different types of chamomile plants: German and Roman. The German variety is actually more potent, offers stronger health benefits, and is the one you should reach for when making tea. (1) Its flavor profile is often described as herbal with fruity notes, reminiscent of a crisp apple. In fact, the word “chamomile” is derived from the Greek language, meaning “ground apple.” (2) The tea’s smooth and light finish makes it the perfect drink to sip on throughout the day. 

Chamomile’s refreshing taste is not the only reason you should think about trying it. One cup offers a ton of benefits for your mental and physical health! Throughout history, this tea has been heralded as a herbal cure for countless ailments, earning itself the German nickname “Alles Zutraut,” meaning capable of anything. (3) Can you believe that the health benefits of chamomile tea were even promoted by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, back in 500 BC? Its remarkable past as a herbal medicine extends throughout ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Medieval practices and is even gaining attention in our present-day. (3) Research has determined that the major health benefits of chamomile tea stem from the “120 chemical constituents, many of which are pharmacologically active.” (3). Some of these include:

  • Chamazulene: contains anti-inflammatory properties (3)
  • Bisabolol: an anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial oil (3)
  • Apigenin: an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral nutrient (3)
  • Luteolin: another nutrient with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-cancer properties (3)

It seems that this important tea of the past can still be used for similar reasons today. While no longer labeled as a magical “cure-all” medicine, chamomile is nonetheless still thought to be helpful. We have created a list of the most important health benefits you can gain from simply treating yourself to a mug of chamomile every day. We even included some fun recipes, so make sure to stick around!

The Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea:

1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Fresh garlic on wooden table

With over 40 million adults suffering from anxiety within the United States, managing our mental health deserves some serious attention, especially during our current time amidst the pandemic. (4) Consistently raised stress levels can even lead to chronic anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, which are all things that we want to avoid. (2) While the act of sipping on a warm drink can be calming on its own, chamomile can actually induce further soothing by increasing your body’s serotonin and melatonin levels. A small study from 2012 found that those who ingested chamomile every day for 8 weeks experienced a 50% reduction in anxiety symptoms. (5) I guess we could say that a single cup of chamomile can help bring out your inner “tranquili-tea.”

Chamomile has also shown great promise in reducing headaches, which are often caused by stress and anxiety. The flower’s antioxidants relieve the tension that causes migraines by opening up blood vessels and reducing inflammation. (1)

If you are finding that one cup is not enough, then try steeping your teabags longer. The more potent the drink, then the stronger the health benefits. 

2. Helps You Sleep Better

Seeds in a colander, pumpkin for making pumpkin soup

Going along with chamomile’s calming abilities, a cup of this tea can help you fall asleep faster at night. No doubt, a vast majority of us have experienced those restless nights where our minds can’t stop racing. In fact, around 30% of Americans suffer from various sleep disorders.

Enjoying some tea 1-2 hours before bed is one way to combat these sleepless evenings. It truly is that easy! Not only is chamomile naturally caffeine-free, but its light aroma also helps some individuals unwind after a tough day. (6) More specifically, chamomile’s flowers and leaves contain an antioxidant known as “apigenin,” that promotes sleepiness and can possibly reduce instances of insomnia. (7) A study concluded that people who consumed 270 mg of chamomile extract twice per day woke up less throughout the night and could fall asleep 15 minutes faster than those who avoided the tea. (7)

It seems that if you are having trouble falling asleep, a cup of chamomile may be your answer. 

3. Soothes Digestion Troubles and Stomach Aches

 

Blueberry

Nothing is worse than being struck by a stomach ache after having a wonderful meal. Good news though! Another health benefit of chamomile tea is that it can help prevent these unfortunate bouts. The plant contains compounds that are antispasmodic, meaning that they calm our muscles, including our stomach and intestines, and reduce spasms throughout our bodies. (6) Sesquiterpene lactones are also present, which notify the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes.  Both components work together and help your digestive process run smoothly. Even IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), stomach ulcers, and general abdominal pain have all successfully been reduced by the compounds and antioxidants found in this tea. (1)

To experience the full power of chamomile, it is recommended that you enjoy a cup 30 minutes before having a meal. You can also mix fresh mint, licorice root, and ginger into your brew if you want some extra tummy soothing benefits! (1)

4. Alleviates Cold and Flu Symptoms

Different type of nuts in bowl

If you are feeling a bit stuffy or sense a sore throat coming on, then chamomile tea may once again come to the rescue! While not meant as a replacement for medicine, chamomile can help mitigate the symptoms of the common cold and flu. Perhaps most obvious, the warmth of the tea can help alleviate a sore throat, especially with the addition of some honey. (1)

If you do not enjoy the taste of tea, you can try breathing in the steam from the steeped chamomile instead. Its subtle aroma can help clear those congested sinuses right up. Simply fill a large bowl with some boiling water, throw in 4 bags of chamomile tea, and lean above with a towel over your head. After 5-10 minutes of breathing in that potent steam, you should feel a bit better than before! (6)

Keep these tips handy as flu season will inevitably be upon us!

5. Boosts Your Immune System

Cutting Fresh Organic Sweet Potato, superfood rich in tryptophan, potassium, vitamin C, phytonutrients and dietary fibers

Beyond just controlling the symptoms, chamomile tea even has the potential to prevent you from getting ill in the first place! A recent study showed that those who drank the tea regularly had increased levels of hippurate (a breakdown product of the tea’s flavonoids) and glycine, both of which indicate antibacterial activity. (6) This means your body can better fight off any illness that comes your way. Who knew boosting your immunity could be so easy? 

Currently, scientists also believe that chamomile’s polyphenols naturally improve your immune system overall, and they are continuing to study this phenomenon. (5)

6. Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels

salmon

Controlling your blood sugar is extremely important for maintaining your energy throughout the day and deserves special attention from those with diabetes. Lowered fasting blood sugar levels and less blood sugar spikes are two advantages you can receive from chamomile tea. Within the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation, a study was published showing that those with type 2 diabetes who drank tea experienced lower insulin and cholesterol levels than those who opted for water. (6)

Further heightening the power of chamomile, it was also discovered that chamomile’s anti-inflammatory properties protect pancreatic cells, which help control our blood sugar levels by producing insulin. 

7. Supports Heart Health

Fresh peaches and leaves on dark countertop

Keeping our hearts in shape is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies. Luckily, drinking chamomile can help with this due to its abundance of flavones. Scientists are beginning to connect flavonoids with a reduced risk of heart disease.(1) These antioxidants can lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, both of which must be maintained for a healthy heart. In fact, drinking chamomile tea not only maintains these levels but may be linked to the removal of bad LDL cholesterol. (7)  

8. Even Provides Some Protection Against Different Cancers

Fresh broccoli on black plate

Though a relatively new concept, many believe that the compounds within chamomile can help prevent some forms of cancer. Chamomile’s antioxidant, apigenin, has successfully prevented the growth of breast, digestive tract, skin, prostate, and uterine cancer cells within test tubes. (7) Additionally, a study of 537 people found that those who drank chamomile throughout the week were less likely to develop thyroid cancer than those who did not. (7)

While more research is necessary, it does not hurt to begin incorporating this amazing tea into your daily routine. 

9. Gives You Healthier and Glowing Skin

Assortment of grains on a gray background

Did you know that chamomile can be a beneficial addition to your skincare routine as well? Surprisingly, it not only leaves your skin glowing but can also speed up the healing process of rashes and cuts. The tea’s antioxidants are perhaps the most integral ingredient for making your skin appear healthy by brightening your complexion, tightening pores, and slowing down the aging process. When applied on the face, chamomile can accelerate cell and tissue regeneration which will fade spots and acne scars. (1)(9) It is even proposed that the tea can ramp up the production of collagen, the protein that makes your skin appear youthful! (5)

If you have psoriasis or eczema, then chamomile may be worth a try. Due to being an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial powerhouse, it can promote the healing of dry and itchy skin. (8)(9)

Sustainable Tip:

After using your tea bags, don’t throw them away! Instead, store them in the fridge and use them as a cooling eye mask later in the day. Not only will this repurpose your tea, but these natural masks will also tighten the skin around your eyes and reduce puffiness. 

10. Enriches Your Hair 

Strawberries in grey bowl. Fresh strawberries. Beautiful strawberries.

Another way chamomile tea can be incorporated into your self-care routine is through your hair! Once again, the anti-inflammatory properties of the flower can help calm down the irritated or dry skin on your scalp. (6) Kick dandruff to the curb by simply rinsing your hair with some chamomile water. There is now even recent talk about it promoting healthier and shinier hair too. (1)

Sustainable Tip:

Just like with the eye masks, instead of wasting your used tea bags, store them up and reuse them for a hair rinse! Or use them to make this nourishing honey chamomile hair mask instead. (Please keep in mind that chamomile may cause the natural lightening of certain hair colors.) 

Try Out These Fun Recipes

Now that you have learned about all the wonderful things that chamomile can do for you, I bet you can’t wait to start incorporating this amazing tea into your diet.

Keep in Mind, Not Everyone Should Drink Chamomile Tea  

While chamomile typically does not have any side effects, there are some who should avoid it. These groups include:

  • Individuals with severe allergies: Since chamomile comes from a flower, it is packed with pollen. Avoid this tea especially if you are sensitive to ragweed. (6)
  • Pregnant women (6)
  • Individuals taking blood thinners (6) 

Also, remember that the health benefits from chamomile are purely supplemental and should not replace any medicine or advice you receive from your doctor.

Petkus, Emilee. “Top 10 Benefits of Chamomile Tea Infographic.” 2020, jpeg file.

It is time to turn on your kettle and start drinking in all the benefits that chamomile has to offer! Feel free to save the graphic above to keep as a reminder of all the ways that a warming cup of tea can help you. If you learned anything new about the health benefits of chamomile tea, make sure that you share this post with all of your friends. You can also let us know your favorite way to enjoy this beneficial drink through any of our social media!

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