The potency of various chamomile tea varies, with some containing significantly more chamomile than others. The more potent teas are also more likely to cause side effects in people who are vulnerable to them. Consequently, it is safest to start with a low dosage and work up to larger doses slowly.
Chamomile contains chemicals called flavonoids. These flavonoids are a type of nutrient present in many plants, and they play a significant role in chamomile’s medicinal effects.
Researchers are not sure yet what other chemicals are present in chamomile specifically and account for its benefits.
The potential benefits of chamomile tea, for which there is the most evidence, include:
1. Reducing menstrual pain
Several studies have linked chamomile tea to reduced severity of menstrual cramps. A 2010 study, for example, found that consuming chamomile tea for a month could reduce the pain of menstrual cramps. Women in the study also reported less anxiety and distress associated with period pain.
2. Treating diabetes and lowering blood sugar
Again, some studies have found that chamomile tea can lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Research does not show that chamomile is a viable substitute for diabetes medications, but it may be a helpful supplement to existing treatments.
Similarly, a 2008 study of rats found that consistent consumption of chamomile tea might prevent blood sugar from increasing. This effect reduces the long-term risk of diabetes complications, suggesting that chamomile could improve diabetes outcomes.
3. Slowing or preventing osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is the progressive loss of bone density. This loss increases the risk of broken bones and a stooped posture. While anyone can develop osteoporosis, it is most common among post-menopausal women. This tendency may be due to the effects of estrogen.
A 2004 study found that chamomile tea might have anti-estrogenic effects. It also help promote bone density, but the study’s authors caution that further research is necessary to prove this apparent benefit.