Chamomile tea is usually made from dried wild chamomile flowers. The tea doesn’t have an overwhelming floral taste but is slightly sweet.
Chamomile is used in other beverages, such as beer and liquor infusions. The herb is also used to make wine. In Spain, chamomile is used to flavor Manzanilla sherry.
Chamomile’s floral flavor is infused into syrups and used in ice cream and other desserts. The herb can also be used to flavor savory dishes like soups.
While it isn’t as popular as black and green tea, chamomile tea has been the subject of various studies because of its potential health benefits.
It can improve sleep quality
Chamomile tea and extracts have a calming effect. They are commonly used to induce sleep.
Chamomile tea is caffeine-free, and its relaxing qualities stem from apigenin, a chemical found in the plant. This chemical binds to receptors in your brain to calm your nerves.
In a study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, researchers worked with 80 new mothers in Taiwan with poor sleep quality. The participants were asked to either drink one cup of chamomile tea per day for two weeks or to receive regular health care.
The researchers found that the mothers who consumed chamomile tea experienced significant improvements in symptoms related to poor sleep, such as excessive daytime drowsiness, irritable mood and poor concentration. They also reported significant improvement of symptoms caused by postpartum depression.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, drink chamomile tea at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
It can address chronic insomnia
In a separate study published in BMC Complementary Medicine, researchers used chamomile extract as a potential treatment for chronic insomnia. The participants were instructed to either take a pill containing chamomile extract or a placebo pill for one month.
While there wasn’t a notable difference between the two groups in total time slept each night, those in the chamomile group said they were able to fall asleep at least 15 minutes faster. The chamomile extract group also woke up less often in the middle of the night than the group who took the placebo pill.
It can help fight cancer
Research suggests that chamomile tea can help prevent the growth of breast, ovarian, prostate and skin cancer. Chamomile extracts can also help slow the growth of cancerous cells without harming healthy cells.
A 2015 study published in the European Journal of Public Health showed that drinking chamomile tea may help prevent thyroid cancer. Results showed that people who consumed chamomile tea two to six times a week had a lower risk of developing thyroid cancer or any thyroid condition than those who didn’t drink chamomile tea. (Related: Chamomile tea is not just for promoting sleep; it has other health benefits as well.)
It can promote skin health and prevent inflammation
Chamomile extracts are usually added to cosmetic and skincare products like creams and lotions. These products help moisturize the skin and minimize inflammation.
Chamomile contains oils that seep into the deep layers of your skin, which is why chamomile extracts are commonly used to treat eczema.
In rare cases, people show sensitivity to chamomile and develop an allergic reaction. Before you use products that contain the herb, check if you’re allergic to daisies or other plants in the daisy family.
If you’re allergic to chrysanthemums or ragweed, you may also be allergic to chamomile so it’s best to avoid skin products that contain the herb.
How to brew chamomile tea
Either brew the tea using dried chamomile flowers or use teabags. When brewing tea from dried flowers, add one large teaspoon for every cup of water. To make a stronger tea, add more dried flowers.
Let the leaves steep in boiling water. The leaves should steep for 10 to 15 minutes uncovered, or three to five minutes covered. Add a bit of honey when the tea is almost done.
Drink your chamomile tea before you go to bed so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep.