Chamomile Tea Benefits for Your Skin, Body, Mental Health + Side Effects

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The chamomile plant has been revered since ancient times for its medicinal properties – the ancient Egyptians even referred to the plant as being sacred, believing that it was a gift from the God of the Sun.

However, unlike many other ancient herbs, chamomile’s popularity hasn’t waned over the years – in fact, in its tea-form, it’s possibly even more loved now than ever before.

Once you learn about the numerous health benefits that drinking chamomile tea can provide, you’ll not only understand why, but you’ll also likely be eager to whip up your own cup of chamomile tea.

What is Chamomile Tea?

Chamomile tea is made from chamomile flowers, meaning that it’s considered a herbal tea rather than a true tea. There are several different chamomile varieties out there, with the most potent being German chamomile, Egyptian chamomile, and Roman chamomile.

While they’re all very similar in some ways, they each also have their own unique properties, making all three useful for their health benefits and medicinal properties.

A cup of chamomile tea

The Skin Benefits of Chamomile Extract and Tea

Not only can drinking chamomile tea benefit your skin from within, but you can double up on the following benefits by applying chamomile extract topically too.

Can Treat Mild Skin Irritations

Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, chamomile is a fantastic ingredient for soothing the skin. The way in which it can reduce inflammation allows it to calm skin irritation, making it useful in treating everything from acne to eczema.

In fact, when it comes to the latter, scientific evidence shows that German chamomile essential oil has the ability to severely reduce eczema symptoms, including itching [1].

In terms of treating acne, there isn’t enough research out there yet, but anecdotal evidence shows that the ingredient holds promise.

As a traditional medicine, its anti-inflammatory properties have been used to treat similar skin irritations with great success, including sunburns, rashes, eye inflammation, and even chickenpox.

Speeds Up Wound Healing

Although more information is needed before chamomile can officially be used as a wound healing ingredient, current research shows that scientists are on the right track.

One study shows that chamomile leads to complete wound healing nine days before corticosteroids do [2], while another found that a chamomile compress can treat wounds five to six days faster than a hydrocortisone ointment can [3].

Anti-Aging Properties

Happy matured woman looking at herself in the mirror

If you’re looking for a way to turn back the clock on your skin, then chamomile could be the answer. The reason why chamomile extract is included in so many anti-aging skincare formulas is that it’s loaded with antioxidant properties.

As you probably know, antioxidants are key in fighting the free radicals that would have otherwise damaged your skin’s protein fibers and cells, accelerating the skin aging process.

To get more specific, there are 120 active compounds in chamomile, and most of these are able to help with skin aging.

These antioxidants are even able to provide a small amount of protection from the sun’s UV rays [4], something else that can go a long way in keeping the skin healthy and youthful.

The Hair Benefits of Chamomile Tea

As mentioned, chamomile is a powerful anti-inflammatory. This not only benefits the skin, but it can boost the health of your hair too. The soothing nature of chamomile tea is great for calming and nourishing an itchy, dry scalp, therefore enabling it to prevent dandruff.

In addition to this, chamomile contains a flavonoid called quercetin. When applied to the hair, this has a lightening effect, which is why chamomile tea has been used as a natural hair lightener for centuries. To reap these benefits, you’ll need to use cold chamomile tea as a hair rinse.

The Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea

Now onto chamomile tea’s health benefits, and this is where the ingredient really shines. From rheumatic pain to IBD, not only will it improve your physical health in multiple ways, but chamomile tea can help with your mental health too.

Physical Health

Physical health exercises

Chamomile’s physical health benefits are diverse, and there are now multiple studies out there showing that chamomile tea can be successfully used as a herbal medicine to treat the following issues:

Induces Sleep and Reduces Insomnia

If you have trouble falling asleep at night, try turning to chamomile as a natural sleep aid.

Thanks to a compound called apigenin, chamomile is able to promote sleep and help treat insomnia.

Chamomile tea is also naturally caffeine-free, making it a great pre-bedtime drink.

Surprisingly, even though so many depend on a cup of chamomile tea as a sleep aid, the studies carried out in this area made use of chamomile extracts, rather than the tea. Still, they show that chamomile extract can not only reduce the amount of time that it takes for a person to fall asleep [5], but it can also improve sleep quality and time too, while preventing you from waking up in the middle of the night for no reason.

Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels to Help with Diabetes

There have been several studies carried out on using natural remedies for managing diabetes, with chamomile being one of the most promising.

One study in particular found that those who drank chamomile tea three times a day displayed a significant decrease in markers for diabetes compared to the control group who drank water [6].

This is largely down to the fact that chamomile has been shown to moderate blood sugar levels, making it a useful herbal supplement for diabetics.

Boosts the Immune System

There are numerous ways to boost immune system function, and due to the pandemic, more and more people are seeking these out.

This has helped to make chamomile tea even more popular – research shows that its antibacterial effects can destroy viruses and bacteria that would have otherwise attacked your immune system [7].

Experts believe that this is due to chamomile’s polyphenol content, which the tea is abundant in.

Can Help to Treat Various Gastrointestinal Inflammatory Disorders

Many people who suffer from gastrointestinal disorders have been turning to chamomile. Why? For a few reasons:

  • It prevents stomach ulcers (chamomile inhibits helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers)
  • It’s effective at reducing smooth muscle spasms
  • It can help to treat menstrual disorders, such as menstrual cramps
  • It can treat colic
  • It’ll help with irritable bowel syndrome
Woman experiencing menstrual cramps

Most of the studies carried out were with participants who drank five cups of chamomile tea a day. However, many have also experienced the above benefits from drinking just a couple of cups a day.

Improves Heart Function

Flavonoids are powerful plant-based compounds – green tea is known for being packed with them. However, many don’t realize that chamomile tea contains high levels of potent flavonoids too, and these are fantastic for boosting heart function and health.

To get specific, these flavonoids help to lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels. Several studies have also found that the flavonoids present in chamomile tea are able to reduce a person’s chances of developing cardiovascular disease [8].

Anti-Cancer Properties

Scientists have tested chamomile extract on different types of cancer cells, including breast, skin, uterine, and ovarian. They found that the extract was able to inhibit the growth of these cancerous cells, especially when it comes to prostate cancer [9].

Granted, chamomile extract isn’t quite the same as chamomile tea, but the anti-cancer properties are down to the ingredient’s flavonoids, which are present in the tea too.

Oral Health

Although research is still in its early stages, evidence gathered so far shows that a chamomile mouthwash could be extremely useful in treating gingivitis and reducing plaque [10]. It’s believed that this is down to the ingredient’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Mental Health

The health benefits of chamomile aren’t just physical – they extend to your mind too. For starters, chamomile tea can help with anxiety. It can even reduce the moderate to severe symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Even better, it can help with stress and depression too.

Woman doing yoga and music theraphy outdoors

Scientists aren’t quite sure exactly how all of this works, but it’s likely down to a combination of factors.

The apigenin in chamomile has been found to have similar effects to valium [11], while the way in which chamomile tea increases serotonin and melatonin in the brain (two hormones that reduce stress and keep you relaxed) has a calming effect too.

Either way, while professional advice should always be sought when dealing with mental health issues, chamomile tea could be a very useful dietary supplement that’ll help you deal with symptoms.

Related: The 14 Best Teas for Skin Health: Sip Your Way to a Glowing Complexion

How to Make Chamomile Tea

Making chamomile tea is easy. You’ll need either fresh or dried chamomile flowers – look for German chamomile if possible. How much chamomile you use is up to you – there isn’t a standard dosage.

A teaspoon-full is usually the recommended amount, but you may want to decrease this if you’re using other herbs too (mint and licorice root work well with the ingredient), or increase it if you’d prefer an even stronger flavor.

Steep your flowers in boiling water for 5-10 minutes before straining. You’ll then have a warm cup of chamomile tea to enjoy!

Alternatively, you could also just use a chamomile tea bag in the same way you would any other tea bag.

What Does Chamomile Herbal Tea Taste Like?

Chamomile tea has a soft and floral flavor. Many compare it to that of a crisp apple. On its own, it has a subtle sweetness, but many choose to sweeten chamomile tea to make it even more palatable.

If you decide to do this, avoid using refined sugar – raw honey would be a much healthier alternative. You could also add in a few fruit slices too – many like to use apple, since this enhances the natural apple-like flavor of the chamomile.

What About Chamomile Supplements?

Mental health and well being good lifestyle

Consuming the herb in its natural form is always the best way to go, but if you can’t stand the taste of tea, a supplement could be a good alternative. However, there are a couple of issues here.

Firstly, dietary supplements are pretty much unregulated. Make sure that whichever supplement you choose has been tested for safety.

You’ll also need to be careful when it comes to dosage.

As mentioned, there isn’t a standard dose, meaning that supplements contain chamomile in significantly varying amounts, from 700mg to 1200mg.

This lack of guidance puts many people off, making the tea feel much safer.

Does Drinking Chamomile Tea Have Any Side Effects?

There are a few side effects to be aware of if you intend to add chamomile tea to your diet.

To start with, it’s a member of the chrysanthemum, marigold, ragweed, and daisy family – if you’re allergic to any of these plants, you may also experience allergic reactions from chamomile.

While there seem to be more allergies related to Roman chamomile than the other types, seek medical help if you experience itching, rashes, or a tight feeling in your chest after taking any variety of chamomile.

It’s also worth noting that chamomile could potentially interfere with some of the medications that you’re taking. If you’re on blood thinners, it could increase bleeding (which is why doctors recommend giving up chamomile two weeks before surgery), while those on anti-seizure or antidepressant medications could find that it increases drowsiness.

Since chamomile affects your blood sugar and blood pressure levels, anyone that’s already taking medication to control these may find that their levels drop unhealthily low.

Some types of chamomile also have estrogen-like effects on the body, which is why the ingredient is useful for treating menstrual issues. However, on the downside, this could cause hormone therapy to be less effective.

If you’re on medication of any sort, it would be worth speaking to your doctor before taking chamomile in any form. It’s also advised that pregnant or nursing women avoid chamomile. It may be perfectly fine, but since its long-term effects are unknown, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

FAQs

Woman drinking tea using a cute mug

Is it OK to drink chamomile tea everyday?

Yes, not only is drinking tea made from chamomile safe to do every day, but a couple of cups a day is what’s recommended to maximize chamomile tea benefits.

Why is chamomile tea bad for you?

Chamomile tea is only bad for you if you’re allergic to it, or if you happen to be taking any medications that it could interfere with. Other than that, there’s nothing bad about chamomile tea!

What does chamomile tea do to the brain?

Chamomile tea has a calming effect on the brain. It encourages it to release feel-good hormones that keep your mood happy and relaxed.

Does chamomile tea make you lose weight?

Not only can chamomile tea help to stimulate weight loss, but it also prevents bloating.

Summary

It’s easy to see why chamomile, along with chamomile tea, was so revered by ancient cultures.

Its health benefits were first recognized centuries ago, and although scientists may still not understand the exact workings behind this, there’s no denying that this is a powerful herb that holds lots of promise.

Whether you’re trying to treat a specific skin or medical condition or you simply want to give your mental health a boost, chamomile tea is a great place to start.

References

[1] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/41657144_Effect_of_German_chamomile_oil_application_on_alleviating_atopic_dermatitis-like_immune_alterations_in_mice
[2] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.2612
[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21617262/
[4] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00403-009-1001-3
[5] https://doi.org/10.1248/bpb.28.808
[6] http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40618-014-0170-x
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4130174/
[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6317209/
[10] http://dx.doi.org/10.22037/IJPR.2010.624
[11] http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-2006-958058

About The Author

Avatar for Brenda Lawrence
Brenda Lawrence

I’ve been a writer nearly all my life and a professional one for almost ten years. My reviews are meticulously researched and fact-checked to allow you to find the brand or product that will meet your needs.

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