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February 27, 2021

Does Drinking Chamomile Tea Really Help Improve Sleep?


Statistics suggest that despite recent advances in both chemistry and pharmacy, during recent decades in many countries the use of alternative therapies including herbal therapy is clearly increasing. Nowadays, herbal therapy popularity is increasing among people; it is used even without consulting a doctor. Thus, every year the herbal and natural drugs are being acknowledged and more focused. Also, a new approach has been started based on herbal drug studies and their effects. (1)

Sleep disturbances are quite common and affect a high percentage of the general population. Sleep disorders management requires both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches for further assessments. The use of sedative-hypnotic drugs to treat these conditions is declining throughout previous years. On the other hand, food supplements are adopted extensively for sleep disorders. Furthermore, the population and the medical community are considering food supplements and other non-pharmacological alternatives in the management of mild and recent insomnia. The most commonly used plant extracts for insomnia are valerian, lavender, etc. (2)

One of the plants used to treat insomnia as an alternative therapy is Matricaria Chamomilla. (1) Chamomile is one of the species from the Asteraceae family, commonly used as a medicinal plant and known as the “star” among medicinal species.

Through years of traditional as well as scientific research and experiments, chamomile has been known for its multi-therapeutic, cosmetic, and nutritional characteristics. M.chamomilla flowers contain the blue essential oil (varies from 0.2 to 1.9%), which is well known for a wide range of uses.

The plant is used mainly as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and mildly sudorific. Chamomile is commonly used internally, mainly as a tisane (infuse 1 tablespoonful of the drug in 1 L of cold water) for stomach pain, sluggish digestion, diarrhea, and nausea. It also improves inflammation of the urinary tract as well as painful menstruation. (3)

 Today, they have found that chamomile can relieve coughs caused by fevers, colds, bronchitis. It also avoids infection by being effective in inflammation of the skin, mouth, and throat. Furthermore, in clinical trials, it has been used to get wounds and burns healed more quickly; and no possible side effect is mentioned for the consumption of the plant.

Due to its antipyretic effects that boost the nervous and immune systems, sedative, hypnotic and analgesic effects, Chamomile is used traditionally throughout some countries like Iran. (1)

Sleep disorders are quite common among the elderly. Studies show that only 12% of aged people do not report any sleep problems; more than 57% of aged people have trouble sleeping. Thus, they suggest that chamomile can be an effective herbal medicine in improving sleep quality in the elderly due to its many health benefits such as sedation. (1) A study was carried out on sixty aged people to determine the impact of chamomile on sleep latency. The sample group was proscribed to consume chamomile extract capsules (200 mg) twice a day for 28 days in a row. Significant improvement regarding general sleep quality and sleep latency was reported. (2) Sleep latency is the amount of time it takes you to go from being fully awake to sleeping, and it varies from person to person. (4)

A number of studies have been conducted to determine the effect of chamomile extract on sleep quality of the elderly in the nursing homes. In 2014, they suggested that the sedative properties of oral consumption of chamomile extract on sleep quality of hospitalized elderly patients in nursing homes can result in the reduction of sleep problems. Therefore, it is recommended to use chamomile in similar cases.

In some studies, they have found that depression, anxiety, and sleep quality are closely linked. Amsterdam et al. in 2012 showed that chamomile extract consumption reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety in patients with a generalized anxiety disorder.

In another study by Amsterdam et al. in 2009, they indicated that chamomile has a significant effect on the improvement of depression symptoms in patients and provides peace to people. (1)

Sleep quality of postnatal women is also a significant issue. (7) In a human study, the efficacy of chamomile tea on depression, insomnia, and boredom in women following childbirth was evaluated. (8) For this purpose, 80 Taiwanese postnatal women with poor sleep quality were divided into two groups of 40; the experimental group and the control group. The participants in the experimental group were instructed to drink chamomile tea for a period of 2 weeks. The participants in the control group received regular postpartum care only. (7)

The results suggest that chamomile tea can be used to reduce depression and improve sleep problems for postpartum women. (8)

In laboratory researches, it has been shown that in chamomile combinations there are sedative, analgesic, and anti-anxiety properties. The researchers found that chamomile contains several ligands similar to benzodiazepine, and they also confirmed that benzodiazepines are inhibitor and relief factors. Some reports indicate that the sedative effects of chamomile relate to benzodiazepine-like components in it. (1)

The sedative effects of chamomile may be due to the flavonoid apigenin that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. Compounds, other than apigenin, present in extracts of chamomile can also bind BDZ and GABA receptors in the brain and might be responsible for some sedative effect; however, many of these compounds are yet unidentified. (9)





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, 53. Retrieved from

2. Guadagna , S., Barattini, D.F., Rosu, S., & Ferini-Strambi, L. (2020). Plant Extracts for Sleep Disturbances: A Systematic Review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2020, 9 pages. Article ID 3792390. Retrieved from

3. Singh, O., Khanam, Z., Misra, N., & Kumar Srivastava, M. (2011). Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.): An overview. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 5(9), 82-95. Retrieved from




7. Chang, S.M., |& Chen, C.H. (2016). 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. Retrieved from

8. Miraj, S., & Alesaeidi, S. (2016). A systematic review study of therapeutic effects of Matricaria recuitta chamomile (chamomile). Electronic Physician, 8(9), 3024-3031. Retrieved from



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