Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Subscribe to the Magazine for free
Subscribe for free to keep reading! If you are already subscribed, enter your email address to log back in.
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Are you a healthcare practitioner?
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

The Benefits of Chamomile Tea

Medically reviewed by 
The Benefits of Chamomile Tea

Imagine being nestled in a cozy spot, cradling a warm cup of chamomile tea, ready to unwind. Chamomile tea is one of the most beloved herbal teas globally. Characterized by a delicate aroma and mild taste, it has become a staple in countless households. About one million cups are drunk around the world daily. 

Beyond its ability to induce relaxation, chamomile tea boasts an impressive array of science-backed health benefits. From promoting better sleep to aiding digestion, this medicinal herb has been used for centuries to offer relief from a variety of ailments.


Chamomile: An Overview

Chamomile is a perennial plant belonging to the Asteraceae family with a rich medicinal history. It has been used to treat various ailments ranging from digestive upset to skin rashes dating back to ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian cultures. Chamomile can be identified by its white daisy-like flowers with yellow centers, fern-like leaves, and mild floral aroma. (18)

The main botanical constituents responsible for chamomile's medicinal properties include flavonoids, such as apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, and rutin, which possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Other notable constituents isolated from chamomile include volatile oils, terpenoids (monoterpenes, diterpenes, triterpenes, and sesquiterpenes), and coumarins. (18)

There are two main varieties of chamomile: German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Although they belong to different plant species, they can both effectively treat similar health problems. In this article, "chamomile" will be used generally to encompass both species.

Promoting Relaxation and Sleep

Chamomile tea and essential oil aromatherapy have been used traditionally to treat sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, because of chamomile's calming effects. The sedation brought on by this plant is attributed to the flavonoid apigenin, which binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. Benzodiazepine receptors are closely related to and augment the action of GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), the central nervous system's primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. 

Clinical studies have found that chamomile extract and tea preparations improve sleep quality in postpartum and elderly populations in 2-4 weeks. 

Digestive Health Support

Chamomile has been used to treat gas, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and colic. It helps relax the smooth muscles of the intestines to relieve pain associated with muscle cramping and dispel trapped gas. (21

Combination herbal products have produced promising results in treating digestive symptoms. For example, one study administered an herbal formula containing chamomile, myrrh, and coffee charcoal to over one thousand participants with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other acute gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders. The formula was well tolerated, safe, and effectively treated the patients' acute diarrhea.

Given its proven anti-inflammatory effects, it's reasonable to assume that chamomile can also be used to soothe gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms stemming from inflammation. Many GI disorders have an inflammatory component, including gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease (GERD), IBD, gastritis, diverticulitis, and hemorrhoids

Interestingly, preclinical models suggest that chamomile inhibits the growth of Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that is strongly affiliated with gastritis and peptic ulcer disease (PUD). 

Anxiety and Stress Reduction

A 2019 systematic review concluded that chamomile is an effective treatment option for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It can be safely used in children, adolescents, and adults. 

In addition to its GABAergic effects (discussed above), chamomile's volatile oils have additional anti-anxiety effects through their ability to reduce circulating levels of a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). The pituitary gland produces ACTH, which signals the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, one of the hormones released in response to stress. (23

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Inflammation is part of the body's immune response to harmful stimuli, characterized by increased blood flow, immune cell infiltration, and the release of inflammatory molecules to remove threats and initiate tissue repair. Acute inflammation is characterized by pain, swelling, and redness. When it goes unchecked, inflammation can become chronic. Chronic inflammation has been implicated as a major factor in the development of chronic disease.

The flavonoids and terpene constituents in chamomile inhibit the production of inflammatory compounds called cytokines, including TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-8. This gives chamomile profound potential in treating a wide variety of inflammatory-related diseases and symptoms.

Chamomile may help reduce physical pain. Traditionally, chamomile flowers have been used to relieve toothaches, earaches, nerve pain, and arthritis (23). 

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the set of physical and emotional symptoms that are experienced in the days leading up to a menstrual period. Cramping, breast tenderness, and muscle/joint pain can occur with PMS. A systematic review concluded that chamomile's anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and antispasmodic effects help relieve pain associated with PMS.

Another study found that applying chamomile oil topically to knees affected with osteoarthritis reduced pain enough to decrease patients' reliance on acetaminophen for pain management. 

Immune System Boost

Some research suggests that chamomile can support the immune system and help fight infection. 

Chamomile oil has antimicrobial activity against bacteria, viruses, and yeast (5, 26). Studies have measured the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of chamomile extract. MIC is the lowest concentration of an antimicrobial agent that inhibits the visible growth of a microorganism. Chamomile extracts have higher MICs than standard antibiotics. (35)  

Chamomile is antioxidative and nutritive, containing vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that support immune function and reduce oxidative stress. 

Steam inhalations with chamomile extracts help alleviate common cold symptoms, including sore throat. (23

Skin Health and External Uses

Topical compresses can be used to soothe skin irritations and accelerate wound healing. Chamomile tea can even be added to bathwater! Its ability to treat mild skin conditions is attributed to its anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, and antimicrobial properties. (30)

Chamomile exhibits antihistamine properties. Mast cells are a type of immune cell that release a chemical called histamine when they are activated. Histamine is responsible for the itching and redness associated with allergies. Chamomile extracts can inhibit mast cell degranulation (thereby reducing allergy symptoms) by 73%. (35)

Topical applications of chamomile have also been used to treat acne, eczema, and psoriasis successfully. Chamomile is about 60% as effective as 0.25% hydrocortisone cream in reducing skin inflammation. (5, 23

Preparation Tips and Considerations

Follow these instructions to make chamomile tea:

  • Boil 8 ounces of water and take off the heat
  • Steep one heaping tablespoon of chamomile flowers in hot water for 10-20 minutes
  • Strain tea and enjoy

To experience chamomile tea's therapeutic benefits, you should aim to drink at least three cups daily. 

Long-term use of chamomile is safe when consumed as tea. Side effects are uncommon but may include nausea, dizziness, and allergic reactions. People who are allergic to other plants belonging to the Asteraceae plant family (including ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies) are more likely to experience allergic reactions or other adverse side effects. (6

Chamomile has the potential to interact with other herbs, supplements, and medications. Consult with a healthcare provider before using chamomile if you are taking any of the following:

  • Blood thinning medications
  • Sedative medications: anti-seizure drugs, barbituates, benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants, and drugs to treat insomnia
  • Medications to treat diabetes
  • Medications to treat high blood pressure


Key Takeaways

  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita and Chamaemelum nobile) is a medicinal herb with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, anti-anxiety, sedative, and anti-allergy effects.
  • Chamomile has been used medicinally for thousands of years to treat physical, mental, and emotional health complaints. Chamomile tea can be easily and safely implemented into a daily healthcare routine. 
  • While generally safe when consumed as a tea, consulting with a healthcare provider before starting a new medicinal supplement is always recommended. Doctors can advise you on safety and dosing to ensure you reap the full benefits of this powerful herb.
The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
Learn More
No items found.

Lab Tests in This Article

No items found.
  1. Abdullahzadeh, M., Matourypour, P., & Naji, S. A. (2017). Investigation effect of oral chamomilla on sleep quality in elderly people in Isfahan: A randomized control trial. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 6.
  2. Albrecht, U., Müller, V., Schneider, B., et al. (2014). Efficacy and safety of a herbal medicinal product containing myrrh, chamomile and coffee charcoal for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders: a non-interventional study. BMJ Open Gastroenterology, 1(1), e000015.
  3. Bergman, S. A. (1986). The Benzodiazepine Receptor. Anesthesia Progress, 33(5), 213–219.
  4. Bhaskaran, N., Shukla, S., Srivastava, J. K., et al. (2010). Chamomile, an anti-inflammatory agent inhibits inducible nitric oxide synthase expression by blocking RelA/p65 activity. International Journal of Molecular Medicine, 26(6), 935–940.
  5. Chamomile. ScienceDirect.
  6. Chamomile. (2020, May). NCCIH.
  7. Chang, S.-M., & Chen, C.-H. (2015). Effects of an intervention with drinking chamomile tea on sleep quality and depression in sleep disturbed postnatal women: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72(2), 306–315.
  8. Christie, J. (2022, April 22). A Functional Medicine Approach to PMS. Rupa Health.
  9. Cloyd, J. (2023, February 17). A Functional Medicine Peptic Ulcer Treatment Protocol. Rupa Health.
  10. Cloyd, J. (2023, February 21). A Functional Medicine GERD Protocol. Rupa Health.
  11. Cloyd, J. (2023, April 6). Functional Medicine Histamine Intolerance Support Protocol. Rupa Health.
  12. Cloyd, J. (2023, June 22). 3 Functional Medicine Labs That Can Help Individualize Nutrition Options for Patients With Diverticulitis. Rupa Health.
  13. Cloyd, J. (2023, August 15). A Root Cause Medicine Protocol for Patients With Generalized Anxiety: Comprehensive Lab Testing, Therapeutic Diet, and Supplements. Rupa Health.
  14. Cloyd, J. (2023, August 21). A Root Cause Medicine Protocol for Patients With Psoriasis: Comprehensive Lab Testing, Therapeutic Diet, and Supplements. Rupa Health.
  15. Cloyd, J. (2023, August 25). A Root Cause Medicine Protocol For Patients With Insomnia: Testing, Therapeutic Diet, and Supportive Supplements. Rupa Health.
  16. Cloyd, J. (2023, October 2). A Functional Medicine Approach to Treating Hemorrhoids. Rupa Health.
  17. Cloyd, K. (2023, October 4). Inflammation and Gut Health: Understanding the Impact on Overall Well-Being. Rupa Health.
  18. Dai, Y.-L., Li, Y., Wang, Q., et al. (2022). Chamomile: A Review of Its Traditional Uses, Chemical Constituents, Pharmacological Activities and Quality Control Studies. Molecules, 28(1), 133.
  19. DePorto, T. (2022, September 13). Understanding acne and how to treat it naturally. Rupa Health.
  20. Diorio, B. (2022, October 5). 5 Natural Ways to Increase Low GABA Levels.
  21. German chamomile. Mount Sinai Health System.
  22. Greenan, S. (2021, December 3). 5 Ways To Treat Eczema Without Medication. Rupa Health.
  23. Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with a bright future. Molecular Medicine Reports, 3(6).
  24. Hieu, T. H., Dibas, M., Surya Dila, K. A., et al. (2019). Therapeutic efficacy and safety of chamomile for state anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, and sleep quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials and quasi-randomized trials. Phytotherapy Research: PTR, 33(6), 1604–1615.
  25. Inflammation. (2021, July 28). Cleveland Clinic.
  26. Kameri, A., Haziri, A., Hashani, Z., et al. (2023). Antibacterial Effect of Matricaria chamomilla L. Extract Against Enterococcus faecalis. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry, 15, 13–20.
  27. Khalesi, Z. B., Beiranvand, S. P., & Bokaie, M. (2019). Efficacy of Chamomile in the Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome: A Systematic Review. Journal of Pharmacopuncture, 22(4), 204–209.
  28. Kresge, K. (2022, October 31). IBS vs IBD: Know The Symptoms. Rupa Health.
  29. Malm, A., Glowniak-Lipa, A., Korona-Glowniak, I., et al. (2015). Anti-Helicobacter pylori activity in vitro of chamomile flowers, coneflower herbs, peppermint leaves and thyme herbs – a preliminary report. Current Issues in Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, 28(1), 30–32.
  30. Morales-Brown, P. (2020, January 6). What are the benefits of chamomile tea? Medical News Today.
  31. Preston, J. (2023, April 18). Integrative Medicine Approach to Treating Colic in Babies. Rupa Health.
  32. Preston, J. (2023, August 23). How to Calm Anxiety Disorders in Children And Adolescents: An Integrative Medicine Approach. Rupa Health.
  33. Preston, J. (2024, February 20). How to Differentiate Common Pituitary Gland Disorders Using Lab Testing, Imaging, and Other Evaluations. Rupa Health.
  34. Roman chamomile. Mount Sinai Health System.
  35. Sah, A., Naseef, P. P., Kuruniyan, M. S., Jain, G. K., Zakir, F., & Aggarwal, G. (2022). A Comprehensive Study of Therapeutic Applications of Chamomile. Pharmaceuticals, 15(10), 1284.
  36. Shoara, R., Hashempur, M. H., Ashraf, A., et al. (2015). Efficacy and safety of topical Matricaria chamomilla L. (chamomile) oil for knee osteoarthritis: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 21(3), 181–187.
  37. Stanford, J. (2024, February 20). The Science Behind Anti-Inflammatory Eating: What Does Research Say? Rupa Health.
  38. Sweetnich, J. (2023, June 12). Integrative Treatment Options for Adrenal Disorders: Specialty Testing, Nutrition, Supplements. Rupa Health.
  39. The health benefits of 3 herbal teas. (2021, October 21). Harvard Health.
  40. Weinberg, J. L. (2022, July 26). 5 Things You Can Do To Find Relief For Arthritis. Rupa Health.
  41. Weinberg, J. L. (2022, September 23). An Integrative Medicine Approach to Gastritis. Rupa Health.
  42. Weinberg, J. L. (2024, January 9). The Nutritional Approach to Enhancing Sleep Quality. Rupa Health.
  43. Yoshimura, H. (2023, October 10). A Root Cause Medicine Approach to Chronic Inflammation. Rupa Health.
Subscribe to the Magazine for free to keep reading!
Subscribe for free to keep reading, If you are already subscribed, enter your email address to log back in.
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Are you a healthcare practitioner?
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.