How Chamomile Helps to Relieve Anxiety and How to Take it?

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Chamomile is often consumed in the form of tea and is thought to be a calming drink that aids sleep.

But can consuming chamomile tea relieve anxiety?

According to research there is strong evidence to support that chamomile and anxiety are a good combination.   

Chamomile tea and chamomile supplements has shown to promote relaxation, relieve anxiety symptoms, boost mood, induce sleep, improve digestion, regulate blood sugar and help with inflammation, all of which are common issues amongst anxiety sufferers.

On top of that chamomile tea is caffeine-free which is an important factor as caffeine can significantly raise anxiety levels.

I drank chamomile tea daily while trying to get my Generalized Anxiety Disorder under control, and in my experience it is the number 1 anti-anxiety drink! 

Chamomile supplements are also great for anxiety. I used to take these as well, including chamomile liquid extract, capsules, and tinctures. Although I don’t need these supplements anymore, I cant recommend enough both chamomile tea and chamomile supplements for managing anxiety.

If you’re looking for a soothing and tasty anti-anxiety drink or a natural supplement for anxiety in this article, you’ll learn how chamomile helps to relieve anxiety and how to take it.

Chamomile and anxiety -flowers
Chamomile is a flower, and member of the beautiful daisy family (Asteraceae)

Chamomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind and its use in human medicine dates back to ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Greek times. It remains one of the most popular medicinal plants around the world even today.

There are several varieties of chamomile but the two most frequently used in herbal medicine are
  • German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
  • Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

German chamomile flowers have the highest concentration of beneficial compounds and nutrients, and is the more popular variety, though Roman chamomile is still widely used in some countries.

Chamomile is used for a variety of human ailments such as inflammation, muscle spasms, menstrual disorders, insomnia, hay fever, ulcers, wounds, gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatic pain, and hemorrhoids.

It’s estimated that 1 million cups of chamomile tea are consumed across the world daily!

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The Science Behind Chamomile and Anxiety

The effects of chamomile on anxiety relief has been under scientific investigation since the 1980s.

More recently human studies have been conducted and there is growing evidence that chamomile is an effective natural treatment for anxiety disorders.

Chamomile and "Mild to Moderate Generalized Anxiety Disorder"

In 2009, one study looked at the use of chamomile extract for mild to moderate Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

The researchers worked with 57 patients diagnosed with mild to moderate GAD. 28 of these patients were given chamomile extract (220mg capsules to a maximum dose of 5 capsules a day as needed) over a period of 8 weeks, while 27 patients were given a placebo.

After 8 weeks they found a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms and improvements in overall feelings of wellbeing among the chamomile group. Chamomile was well tolerated with more adverse reactions reported by people taking the placebo.

The researchers said,

The demonstration of chamomile’s efficacy and tolerability in patients with milder GAD may provide a wider acceptability of anxiolytic treatment in the general medical community. Despite the limitations of this initial study, the present findings suggest that chamomile may possess modest anxiolytic effect in some patients with mild GAD.

Chamomile and "Moderate to Severe General Anxiety Disorder"

Another study, in 2016, went a step further and looked at the effects of taking chamomile extract for a longer period of time. The researchers gave chamomile extract to 179 patients diagnosed with moderate to severe GAD.

For the first 12 weeks, all patients took 1500 mg of chamomile extract every day. After that, for the next 26 weeks, half of the participants continued with chamomile extract, while the other half were given a placebo.

The results of the study were very positive. Participants experienced an improvement in their anxiety. The group that took chamomile extract for the full 38 weeks went on for longer before experiencing a relapse.

A larger dose of 1500 mg appeared to be safe and there were no negative side effects on libido as is often the case with some anxiety medication. Patients also showed improved blood pressure.

How Chamomile Helps to Relieve Anxiety?

1. Relieves Anxiety Symptoms

Studies on animals showed that chemicals naturally present in chamomile act like common drugs for anxiety, reliving anxiety symptoms but without the same side effects.

2. Antioxidant, Anti-microbial and Anti-inflammatory

Anxiety is often linked to inflammation and low levels of antioxidants in the body.

Antioxidants are substances that help to prevent or slow damage to cells.

Chamomile can help to counteract both problems.

It contains various plant antioxidants including flavonoids, terpenoids, and phenolic compounds, and it’s also anti-inflammatory, as well as antimicrobial.

3. Promotes Relaxation

The flavonoid compound in chamomile, called apigenin, promotes relaxation. It binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain, which then has a sedative effect.

4. Boosts Mood

Chamomile’s flavonoid also helps to boost mood with its anti-depressive properties. It stimulates the production of happy chemicals including dopamine, and serotonin.

5. Induces Sleep

Anxiety and poor sleep quality often coincide, while one of the most common uses of chamomile is as an overall sleep aid.

Drinking chamomile tea is particularly beneficial for those suffering from sleep apnea and restless sleep.

Chamomile tea’s apigenin acts as a natural tranquilizer.

Also, drinking chamomile tea stimulates the production of melatonin (sleep hormone) helping to further promote sleep and relaxation.

Drinking warm chamomile tea before bedtime can help you fall asleep faster.

Chamomile and Sleep Research
  • One study looked at the effects of chamomile extract on sleep in elderly people. 30 of the participants were given 400 mg of chamomile extract daily for 28 days, while the other 30 were the control group. They found that the chamomile group had significantly better sleep quality than those who did not receive the extract.
  • Another study tested the effects of drinking chamomile tea on sleep quality in sleep disturbed postnatal women. Over a two-week period, the researchers found that women who drank chamomile tea reported better sleep quality than those who did not drink chamomile tea.
  • Researchers in Quebec surveyed 997 adults about their preferences for a natural sleep aid. They reported that 18.5% of them had taken a natural sleep aid in the previous 12 months, and chamomile was by far the most popular.

6. Improves Digestion

Anxiety and stress activate the fight-or-flight response, which can affect your digestive system. It can cause your esophagus to go into spasms and increase the acid in your stomach, resulting in indigestion.

Chamomile tea acts as a natural diuretic, helping to flush out water and waste from the body. This boosts overall digestion and prevents bloating.

Also, its anti-inflammatory properties help to relax the gut and allow for smoother bowel movements.

Drinking chamomile tea daily can relieve abdominal pain, gas, and bloating, as well as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, which indirectly has a calming effect on anxiety.

7. Regulates Blood Sugar

Anxiety can raise blood sugar levels in some people, making anxiety suffers more prone to sugar spikes and sugar cravings.

Another chamomile tea benefit for anxiety is that it helps to lower blood sugar levels and prevent blood sugar spikes after eating

How to Take Chamomile for Anxiety?

Chamomile is one of the safest herbs you can ingest or apply.

But is it OK to drink chamomile tea every day, and how many cups of chamomile tea should you drink for anxiety?

The following doses are recommended for adults:

  • Tea: 1 to 5 cups of tea per day
  • Capsules: 400 to 1600 mg in divided doses daily
  • Liquid extract: 1 to 4 ml three times daily
  • Foods that taste very neutral, and
  • Tincture: 15 ml three to four times daily

Always read the product label for dosing instructions. Increase your dose towards the upper limit to relieve anxiety symptoms.

I used to drink 4-5 cups of chamomile tea a day to manage my anxiety.

I usually had my first cup first thing in the morning, another one at around 11:00, the third one at 16:00, and the last one before bedtime.

If I had really bad anxiety days then I would have the fifth cup at a time when I needed it the most.

Now I probably have 1-2 cups a day.

Chamomile Tea vs Chamomile Supplement for Anxiety

More studies have looked at the effects of chamomile extracts on anxiety because extracts are more practical for clinical trials. The researchers can manage the dose more effectively, increasing, or decreasing as needed.

Chamomile extracts can refer to capsules, tinctures, or liquid extracts.

But how you choose to consume chamomile is entirely up to you.

Any good quality chamomile tea or chamomile supplement can be effective.

Just make sure that you read the instructions on the packaging and stick to the dosage guidelines.

When buying chamomile tea, tincture, extract, or capsules choose organic if possible and avoid products with additives, preservatives, and other synthetic ingredients.

I personally love chamomile tea so for me, the best option is to drink it.

Chamomile Extract from fresh (undried) Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) flowers which are Certified Organically Grown on southern Oregon farms. Gluten-free and non-GMO.
Herb potency guaranteed. Buy on Amazon

Organic Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita) Dried Flower
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TerraVita is hallmarked by the highest possible standards of purity, potency, stability and freshness.  Buy on Amazon

Who Should Not Consume Chamomile?

Chamomile is not recommended if you are

  • about to have surgery
  • suffer from bleeding disorders
  • pregnant and nursing women as chamomile may act as a uterine stimulant
  • allergic to plants in the daisy family such as aster, chrysanthemum, ragweed, marigold and daisy

How to Make Chamomile Tea?

Chamomile and anxiety - how many cups of chamomile tea for anxiety

For maximum health benefits, it is best to consume loose dried chamomile flowers rather than chamomile tea bags. Also, as mentioned above buy organic flowers if possible.

Chamomile tea bags can contain caffeine and other cheaper tea varieties and as such are best avoided.

Ingredients

Organically Chamomile Tea grown in Egypt, with a natural sweet honey floral taste. No added flavoring, and caffeine-free. Natural and pure. Buy on Amazon

Instructions

  • Boil water in a pan.
  • Once boiled turn off the heat and leave the water to stand for 2-3 minutes.
  • Then pour the hot water in a teapot or infuser containing dried flowers.
  • Steep the tea for 10 minutes for best results.
    Pour in a cup
  • You can add fresh lemon and raw honey as per your taste (optional).

Other Recommendations

  • Use a glass teapot or infuser to maintain optimal nutrients.
  • Avoid using metal equipment on the flowers to avoid oxidation.

Extra Tip

  • You can add different essences or whole ingredients like hibiscus flowers, spearmint, rose petals, and similar.

Final Thoughts on Chamomile and Anxiety

Chamomile tea is one of the best anti-anxiety drinks.

Chamomile tea or supplements have shown to promote calmness and relaxation, induce sleep, improve digestion, and relieve anxiety symptoms. 

Combine your chamomile tea or supplements with an anti-anxiety-diet to effectively manage your anxiety through food.

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About the Author

Sandra Glavan 

Sandra is an anxiety expert and founder of Super Sensitive Sandi. Her anxiety advice has been featured in Best Life, Human Window, Life Hacker Guy, Morning Lazziness, and Blunt Therapy. Read more

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