You may want to keep a box of chamomile tea in your pantry and your medicine cabinet.

By Ariel Klein
Updated: May 01, 2019
Real Simple

Some people believe certain teas contain magical properties, and when it comes to chamomile, they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. Chamomile tea benefits range from helping with sleep to aiding digestion, and the drink can even play a role in heart health. So what exactly is chamomile tea? Chamomile flowers contain flavonoids, sesquiterpenes, and antioxidants, and once dried, they can be used for herbal and natural remedies.  

While chamomile tea is good for many things and is a great caffeine-free drink option, it’s important to know that it’s not for everyone. Here are some of the most well-known chamomile tea benefits for adults.

Anxiety

According to Medical News Today, 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, making it the most common mental illness in the United States. For some people, treating with medication isn’t always the best fit, but there are many natural alternatives worth a try. Chamomile tea has been known to benefit anxiety symptoms by helping ease insomnia and provide calmness. Many people who use chamomile as a stress-reducer will either drink it as tea or use it in capsule form for convenience. Keep in mind, chamomile tea may not work the same way for everyone. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you should consult a doctor.

Sleep

Enjoying a cup of chamomile tea before bed is nothing new for most people. In fact, it’s long been viewed as a gentle sleep inducer. The calming effect of chamomile tea is thanks to an antioxidant called apigenin, which binds to certain receptors in your brain that help decrease anxiety and initiate sleep. A 2016 study of the links between chamomile tea and sleep quality and depression in women found that those who drank chamomile tea every night for two weeks had better sleep quality than those who did not—and the effects were reversed when they stopped drinking the tea.

Stomach Issues

Chamomile tea contains anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and carminative properties, which help in soothing the stomach line. Drinking a cup of chamomile tea may relieve an upset stomach, menstrual cramps, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, and abdominal gas. Although more research needs to be conducted, chamomile tea may also help decrease acid reflux.

Heart Health

The antioxidants in chamomile tea, like flavones, may help lower the risk of heart disease. Over the years, flavones have been studied to measure their effectiveness in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, including triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol. Drinking chamomile tea regularly may help maintain healthy blood pressure levels because it helps to reduce stress, promote sleep, and relax blood vessels and arteries. Although chamomile tea benefits heart health potentially in many ways, it may increase the risk of bleeding for people on blood thinners. That’s why it’s important to also consult a doctor before consuming. 

Blood Sugar

Research from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Iran suggests drinking chamomile tea may help lower blood sugar, benefiting people with diabetes. Chamomile contains an antioxidant called quercetin, which has an impact on certain enzymes that are part of the diabetic response. While there’s still more research to be done, the small-scale study from Tabriz University observed 64 participants with type 2 diabetes, all between the ages of 30-60. Half the group consumed chamomile tea daily with every meal for eight weeks, while the other half drank water with meals. At the end of the two month period, the chamomile group had significantly lower average blood sugar levels than those who only drank water.

After reading all of the possible chamomile tea benefits, it’s no surprise so many people like to end their evenings with cup of chamomile tea. But, just like many other herbal teas, there are some side effects to be aware of. If you’re consuming chamomile in tea, liquid or capsule form, the most common side effects include: severe allergic reaction, eye irritation, hypersensitivity reactions, and vomiting. Chances are, drinking a cup of chamomile tea won't harm your health, but it’s important to consult your doctor if you plan on incorporating it into your daily routine.

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