4 health benefits of drinking chamomile tea, including better sleep and anxiety relief
Chamomile teahas many benefits, including improving heart health, supporting bone health, relieving menstrual pain, and calming anxiety.
- Chamomile can help with sleep and anxiety because it contains apigenin, a compound that has some of the same effects as benzodiazepines, an anti-anxiety medication.
- The tea can also relieve involuntary muscle spasms that may occur before menstruation.
On the evenings that you sip a cup of chamomile tea after dinner, you might feel more relaxed and ready for bed than those nights when you don't. But it's not just the warmth of the liquid that's soothing. Chamomile has properties that actually help improve the quality of sleep and mood, support bone health, and relieve pain.
Here are four science-backed benefits of drinking chamomile tea.
1. Chamomile tea may improve sleep qualityChamomile tea has long been used in treating insomnia. That's because chamomile contains apigenin, which is a flavonoid. Flavonoids are chemical compounds that give plants their colors and are rife with antioxidants, assisting your body in its fight against toxins.
A small 2015 study examining postpartum women with poor sleep patterns suggests that chamomile tea does work as a sleep aid. Compared to a control group, those in the experimental group who drank the tea scored lower, after two weeks, on scales that measured physical symptoms related to loss of sleep.However, after four weeks, both groups scored about the same. This led researchers to conclude that chamomile tea might be used as a sleep aid or supplement, but not as a replacement if a more serious treatment is required.
2. Chamomile may support bone health
There is some evidence that chamomile tea supports bone health. Lisa Richards, a certified
3. Chamomile may help menstrual painDysmenorrhea, or menstrual pain, can affect up to 93% of women during the course of their lives. Chamomile tea may be one pathway to a solution.
Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RDN, a nutritionist at Essence Nutrition in Miami says that "warm, soothing beverages" can take away pain. But chamomile is better because like mint and other herbs, it has properties that relieve involuntary muscle spasms.
Richards agrees that cramps are exacerbated by spasms, also noting that the chemical structure of chamomile contains amino acids that bring relief by relaxing the uterus.A small 2010 study found that chamomile tea might be used preemptively to treat dysmenorrhea. The study concluded that those who drank tea twice per day for a week before the onset of menstruation experienced relief of pain and anxiety. Still, more studies of this nature need to be performed.
4. Chamomile may help with anxiety
"Chamomile improves anxiety primarily due to its effects on the symptoms of the condition, more so than any biochemical response that it may create," Richards says. "By improving sleep, relaxing the muscles, reducing blood pressure, and enabling a state of relaxation, it can improve anxiety symptoms like insomnia and irritability."
A 2016 study bears out some of these findings. Participants with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) took 500 mg doses of pharmaceutical-grade chamomile three times per day in a double-blind randomized control trial. Researchers found that chamomile significantly reduced their GAD symptoms including nervousness, depression, increased heart rate, gastrointestinal problems, and insomnia.Richards also says that those with GAD may have a reduced amount of GABA receptors, and that chamomile not only binds to the receptors present, but makes them work more efficiently.
Chamomile tea can be a useful home remedy to help treat numerous conditions, ranging from trouble sleeping and mental health disorders to chronic pain. Talk to your doctor about when and how often you should drink chamomile tea to gain the health benefits that make sense for you.
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