Chamomile tea is a natural remedy for a wide range of health issues. The nutrients it contains may help manage diabetes, menstrual pain, and sleep problems, among others.

Chamomile is a herb that belongs to the Asteraceae family. There are two common varieties of chamomile that people often use for tea: German (Chamomilla recutita) and Roman (Chamaemelum nobile). The chamomile plant produces small flowers similar to daisies, that people can dry and steep in water to make tea.

Chamomile contains chemicals called flavonoids, which likely provide the potential benefits of the beverage. For most people, chamomile tea is generally safe and well-tolerated. However, it may be advisable for pregnant people or those with allergies to avoid chamomile tea.

Research into chamomile tea suggests it may have many benefits, although more research is necessary. Additionally, chamomile tea should not replace mainstream medical treatments when people have serious illnesses.

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The potential benefits of chamomile tea, for which there is the most evidence, include:

1. Menstrual symptoms

In 2019, some researchers concluded that chamomile’s anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, sedative, and anti-anxiety properties might help relieve anxiety and discomfort due to premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

2. Diabetes and blood sugar

Some studies have found that chamomile tea can lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.

Research suggests that chamomile might improve glycemic and lipid profiles and oxidative stress levels in people with diabetes mellitus and reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.

However, the results do not show that chamomile is a viable substitute for diabetes medications. While it may be a helpful complementary supplement to existing treatments, it cannot replace the treatments a doctor recommends.

3. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the progressive loss of bone density. This loss increases the risk of broken bones and stooped posture.

A study published in 2022 found that chamomile helped prevent osteoporosis in rats due to steroid treatment. The antioxidant effects of the flavonoids in chamomile could help prevent osteoporosis by reducing oxidative stress.

4. Inflammation

Inflammation is an immune system reaction to fight infection. Chamomile tea contains compounds that may reduce inflammation.

Long-term inflammation is linked to various health problems, including hemorrhoids, gastrointestinal pain, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, obesity, and depression.

5. Cancer

Some studies suggest that chamomile tea may target cancer cells or even prevent those cells from developing in the first place.

Results from laboratory tests have suggested that compounds in chamomile may help prevent the growth of glioma, liver cancer, cervical cancer, and leukemia.

However, more research is needed to prove chamomile’s anticancer claims.

6. Sleep and relaxation

Chamomile tea may help people relax and fall asleep.

A 2019 review noted that, after 2–4 weeks of treatment with chamomile, people with generalized anxiety disorder saw an improvement in symptoms. Treatment with chamomile may also improve sleep quality.

However, there was no evidence that chamomile can reduce symptoms when a person is in an anxious situation. Also, it does not appear to prevent insomnia.

7. Cold symptoms

Anecdotal evidence and some research suggest that consuming chamomile may help to support the immune system. Additionally, consuming warm beverages such as chamomile tea may help to relieve some of the symptoms of the common cold, such as a sore throat. However, more research is still necessary on the exact benefits of chamomile.

Read on to learn more about herbal teas for treating a cold.

8. Mild skin conditions

Some research indicates that topical products containing chamomile may help:

  • treat acne
  • repair sensitive skin
  • reduce skin dehydration

This could be due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, and antimicrobial properties.

While chamomile tea may reduce inflammation, cosmetic options include lotions and soaps. However, people should do a patch test before using on a wider area to check first for adverse effects.

The following groups should avoid chamomile unless advised otherwise by a doctor:

  • People with a history of severe allergies: Chamomile may not be safe for people who have a known allergy to ragwort, daisy, chrysanthemum, or marigolds, which are related plants. It may cause a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis.
  • People who have previously had an allergic reaction, even mild, to chamomile products: They should avoid chamomile, as allergic reactions can get worse with time.
  • Drug interactions: Chamomile can interact with blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin. A person should check with a doctor before increasing their intake of chamomile, especially if they have an existing health issue.
  • Pregnant people: While chamomile may help to relieve some symptoms during pregnancy, such as gastrointestinal irritation, evidence notes that regular use may increase the risk of preterm labor or miscarriage. As such, many health experts may consider chamomile tea unsafe during pregnancy.
  • Infants and very young children: Chamomile tea, similar to honey and some other natural products, may contain botulism spores. Most healthy adults can fight off a botulism infection, but infants may not be able to. Many doctors recommend infants and young children avoid honey and chamomile products.

It is not safe to use chamomile as a substitute for proven medical treatments. If someone takes any medications, they should ask their doctor about potential interactions with chamomile tea.

Anaphylaxis: Symptoms and what to do

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be life threatening. The symptoms develop suddenly and include:

  • hives
  • swelling of the face or mouth
  • wheezing
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • a fast heart rate
  • clammy skin
  • anxiety or confusion
  • dizziness
  • vomiting
  • blue or white lips
  • fainting or loss of consciousness

If someone has these symptoms:

  1. Check whether they are carrying an epinephrine pen. If they are, follow the instructions on the side of the pen to use it.
  2. Dial 911 or the number of the nearest emergency department.
  3. Lay the person down from a standing position. If they have vomited, turn them onto their side.
  4. Stay with them until the emergency services arrive.

Some people may need more than one epinephrine injection. If the symptoms do not improve in 5–15 minutes, or they come back, use a second pen if the person has one.

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Below are frequently asked questions relating to chamomile tea.

What is the benefit of chamomile tea?

Chamomile tea has many reported benefits, including:

  • reducing menstrual discomfort
  • lowering blood sugar in people with diabetes
  • reducing oxidative stress and inflammation
  • aiding sleep and relaxation
  • relieving cold symptoms

Is it OK to drink chamomile tea every day?

For most people, chamomile tea is well-tolerated and safe to drink regularly. However, drinking chamomile tea may not be suitable for pregnant people and those with a history of severe allergies.

Does chamomile tea detox your body?

The liver and kidneys efficiently remove toxins from the body on their own. Chamomile tea has some antioxidant properties, but this does not ‘detox’ the body.

Chamomile tea has been used in natural medicine for thousands of years, often with encouraging results. For now, however, it remains a supplement and not a medication.

People interested in trying chamomile tea should use it as a supplement and not a replacement for their usual medication regimen. In regular doses, such as 1–2 cups a day, it is possible to see incremental health improvements.