Chamomile tea is usually made from the crushed dried flowers of the chamomile plant. They can be found in tea bags or used loose leaf and steeped with an infuser. It has been traditionally used as a calming drink, helpful for inducing sleep.
There are few studies that have been done to either prove or disprove the effectiveness of chamomile, however, general consensus and generational wisdom seems to indicate that it is a worthy sleep aid. WebMD sites one Japanese study in which rats given chamomile oil fell asleep as fast as rats given tranquilizers. Health on a Budget sites a study in which patients given chamomile were relieved of some General Anxiety Disorder symptoms.
While there is little available to prove the effectiveness of chamomile, there is certainly no harm in trying it, to help you sleep at night. It is very mild and will not have any negative side effects on most people. There are only a few instances when a person should not drink chamomile. Because it can induce premature labor, it should be avoided by women who are pregnant. Web MD also warns that people who are allergic to ragweed should avoid chamomile. The plants are related and it can induce a similar reaction.
When to Drink Chamomile
The tea should be taken 30-40 minutes before your expected bedtime. If you have a tendency to wake during the night to use the bathroom, you may want to avoid tea as a sleep aid. In addition, to the properties of the chamomile helping to relax your body and ease you into sleep, the ritual of beginning your bedtime with a cup of chamomile tea may help as well. This nightly routine will signal to your body it is time to sleep and help you enter sleep faster.
Health on a Budget also discusses the many other benefits of chamomile, including reducing inflammation, relieving stomach cramps, treating wounds and easing skin ailments such as eczema.
If you are unable to fall asleep at night because you are experiencing stress or anxiety, or you wake up frequently with your mind racing, chamomile tea may help you get the rest you need to feel better. Do you have a favorite nighttime drink?