Chamomile is a popular herbal tea that is often used to help people sleep. It contains a compound called apigenin, which is the active ingredient. It can be brewed using fresh or dried chamomile flowers.
Most chamomile tea is consumed at bedtime. It has been used since ancient times to help people sleep and to soothe anxiety.
For some—in Asia and Africa especially—chamomile tea is an anytime-of-the-day drink. That’s because it was shown in one particular study to control an overall measure of blood sugar pretty (HbA1C) much as well as more conventional blood sugar treatment in rats (Kahn, et al., 2014).
When it comes to considering it as a medicine, it’s loaded with curative potential. It’s also been known to soothe cramps and improve digestion.
Considered all together, it makes sense that drinking chamomile tea before bedtime would help someone sleep.
Yet, if you don’t have diabetes, if you don’t have a problem with spikes in your sugar, or if you have access to medicines like insulin, you wouldn’t necessarily want to drink chamomile tea as prepared in the study on the diabetic rats.
For that study, they steeped a single, standard tea bag in 150 mls of water for 15 minutes with a cover over the cup. Then they allowed it to cool. Prepared this way, they were getting every bit of the active ingredient (apigenin) out of the flowers.
That’s not palatable to most people.
That’s not the way most people prepare the beverage. That’s been steeped a lot longer. Further, most people consume it warm.
Then, most people aren’t going to drink it twice a day. Most drink it just once.
Other times of the day are better for other teas that have some caffeine.
Khan, S. S., Najam, R., Anser, H., Riaz, B., & Alam, N. (2014). Chamomile tea: Herbal hypoglycemic alternative for conventional medicine. Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 27(5), 1509+.
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James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life.
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