The benefits of chamomile tea for helping sleep and fighting anxiety may be worth dipping into. Learn more about how to make chamomile tea for a calming night’s sleep in this guide.
Ah, there’s nothing quite like a cup of hot, fragrant chamomile tea to wash away your anxiety and insomnia. Dried chamomile flower from the chamomile plant (Matricaria recutita) have been used as far back as Roman times for their calming effects. Today, an increasing number of studies shows that there may be some genuine relaxing benefits chamomile tea.
What Are the Benefits of Chamomile Tea?
What’s the magic relaxing ingredient in chamomile? A yellow compound called apigenin, one of the chamomile’s phenolic flavonoids, appears to be the most promising component. Let’s take a look at the science behind chamomile’s impact on your mind.
A 2005 study published in Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin looked at apigenin, and linked it with sleep- and tranquility-enhancing effects. Since then, more research has proven this hypothesis to be true. A 2017 study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine concluded that the use of chamomile extract has the ability to significantly improve sleep quality in the elderly, making it a safer alternative to pharmaceutical sleep medications which can result in withdrawal symptoms and other negative side effects.
A study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and published in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology reviewed the effects of chamomile in patients diagnosed with mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder. The 57 participants received either chamomile capsules containing 220 mg of extract standardized with 1.2 percent apigenin, or placebo, a chamomile-scented capsule with lactose. Chamomile was associated with a greater reduction in standardized test scores for severe anxiety, compared to placebo. These positive results were reproduced in a more recent study published in 2016 in Phytomedicine. These researchers found that individuals who took oral chamomile extract for 8 weeks had a clinically significant reduction in symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, and they reported that chamomile may have the potential to produce a more favorable risk/benefit ratio than typical anxiety medications, which can have side effects such as weight gain and insomnia. Further, an exploratory study that found a significant reduction in standardized scores of depression for chamomile versus placebo was published in the September-October 2012 issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.
So, will your next cup of chamomile tea help resolve your anxiety and insomnia? Although conventional drug therapies for depression, anxiety, and insomnia have helped many, lots of people don’t care to try these medications for many reasons, including potential side effects and cultural or financial concerns. Thus, chamomile may be a promising “natural” calming agent to add to your pantry.
Evidence shows that bioactive ingredients in Matricaria recutita have the capability to calm you down, but it may not be plentiful enough in one or two tea bags to help all people. More testing of chamomile remedies needs to take place so that we fully understand its efficacy, as well as the dosage that is beneficial. Still, you surely can’t minimize the mental health power of taking a few moments for yourself while sitting down and sipping the warm grassy flavors of a cup of chamomile tea.
How to Make Chamomile Tea
You can find chamomile tea in most supermarkets and natural food stores, in either loos leaf or remeasured bags. All you have to do is boil water, place a tea bag or a spoonful of loose leaf chamomile tea in a tea infuser in a tea cup or mug, and pour with hot water. Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes before removing tea bag or tea infuser. Serve as desired, with a touch of honey or agave, lemon, or on it’s own. Note: You can grow your own chamomile flowers (pictured above) very easily. I grow them every year in my garden, and I’ve seen them grow wild in Greece along the roads. Just harvest the flowers of the chamomile plant, allow to sun dry, then store in air-tight containers. Use the dried flowers to make tea with a tea infuser. Try making lavender chamomile tea by blending in a few dried lavender flowers.
Does Chamomile Tea have Caffeine?
No, chamomile is an herbal tea, so it never contains caffeine, unless it is blended with a true tea (camellia sinensis) ingredient, such as green, black, or white tea. Look at the label of tea blends to make sure your tea is 100% herbal tea with no caffeine.
Cooking with Chamomile
You can also cook with chamomile tea! Check out the recipe for my Detox Granola with Chamomile in my book California Vegan.
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