Sometimes sipping a hot cup of tea is all it takes to feel better. Our nutritionist Nicola Shubrook explores the potential benefits of a steaming mug of chamomile tea.
What is chamomile tea?
Chamomile is a herb that produces small, daisy-like flowers which are then dried and steeped in water to make chamomile tea.
There are several different types of chamomile herb, but only those that are from the Roman, German or Egyptian varities are used for the tea.
What is the history of chamomile tea?
The history of chamomile tea appears to go back as far as ancient Egypt, where it was used as a cold remedy. These days it’s one of the most popular herbal teas around.
What are the health benefits of chamomile tea?
Chamomile tea is well-known for its relaxing properties, touted to aid a good night’s sleep. This may be due to its phytonutrient content, specifically a compound called apigenin, which is believed to have sedative effects.
A 2015 study found that drinking chamomile tea helped postpartum women improve their depression and sleep quality.
Can chamomile tea help to relieve anxiety?
Some research has suggested that chamomile may be beneficial to those struggling with mild anxiety, although more research is needed in this area.
Can chamomile tea help those with diabetes?
Chamomile may help improve blood sugar regulation in those with diabetes by supressing blood sugar levels and helping to improve liver glycogen storage.
One study of 64 adults with type 2 diabetes, who drank three cups of chamomile tea a day immediately after meals for 8 weeks, showed a significant decrease in their HbA1C markers (which is often used as an indicator for diabetes), as well as improved glycaemic control and blood lipid profile.
Can chamomile tea help with digestive issues?
Research suggests that chamomile may help to reduce smooth muscle spasms in the gut, which may benefit those with inflammatory digestive issues such as diverticulitis and oesophageal reflux. It may also offer preventative measures against a fairly common bacteria known as H. Pylori (or Helicobacter Pylori) which can contribute to stomach ulcers.
Is chamomile tea suitable for everyone?
Chamomile tea is considered safe for most people, but some have reported an allergy to chamomile, especially if they already have a daisy allergy (which includes plants such as ragweed and chrysanthemums).
How do I include chamomile tea in my diet?
Chamomile tea can be consumed any time of day, but may be best consumed in the evening for its relaxing effects and potential sleep benefits. Or, if you have diabetes, it could be worth adding a cup after your meals.
You can either buy chamomile in tea bags, or as a loose leaf tea.
Check out more of our health benefits guides...
This article was published on 17th June 2020.
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our terms and conditions for more information.