Chamomile is an edible plant belonging to the asteraceae family. In appearance, she is very similar to the white daisy which is part of the same family. The flowering period of chamomile generally lasts from June to October. The flowers are dried and then eaten intisane or in the form of capsules. Thetisane with chamomile is often used as a mild sedative. The active constituents of chamomile include its essential oil containing bisabolol and flavonoids such as apigenin and luteolin.
In 2019, a systematic review and meta-analysis evaluated the efficacy and safety of chamomile for the treatment of anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, and sleep quality. Twelve randomized controlled trials were included. The results of the meta-analysis of three randomized controlled trials showed no difference in anxiety. Second, the only randomized controlled trial that evaluated the effect of chamomile on insomnia found no significant difference in the insomnia severity index. However, the results show significant improvement in generalized anxiety disorder after two and four weeks of treatment, respectively. The meta-analysis also observes a significant improvement in the quality of sleep. Finally, three randomized controlled trials reported mild side effects. In conclusion, this study suggests that chamomile may be effective and safe for generalized anxiety disorder and quality of sleep. However, more studies are needed to confirm these observations.
A study released in 2020 evaluated the antidepressant effect of chamomile in people with generalized anxiety disorder with or without depression. The 179 participants were separated into two groups: generalized anxiety disorder without depression (100 participants) and generalized anxiety disorder with depression (79 participants). For eight weeks, 1500 mg of chamomile extract was administered daily to 179 subjects. The results show similar anxiolytic effects among the two groups. However, the results observed a greater reduction in total scores on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale in subjects with depression. In conclusion, chamomile appears to have antidepressant effects in addition to its anxiolytic activity in subjects suffering from generalized anxiety disorder and depression. However, more studies are needed to confirm these observations.
Possible side effects of chamomile
In general, chamomile is considered safe. However, people allergic to plants in the Asteraceae family, such as ragweed and sunflowers, and to pollen from flowering plants may have an allergic reaction. Most often, symptoms include a runny nose, skin irritation, itchy eyes, and sneezing. Severe allergic reactions are rare.
Possible interactions of chamomile with drugs
Chamomile may interact with some medications taken by mouth by reducing their absorption. In addition, it may increase the effects of sedatives, including alcohol, and blood thinners. Finally, it can also reduce the absorption of iron supplements. If you are taking any medication, it is recommended that you contact your doctor before taking any dietary supplements.
- Hieu, TH, Dibas, M., Surya Dila, KA, Sherif, NA, Hashmi, MU, Mahmoud, M., Trang, N., Abdullah, L., Nghia, T., Y, MN, Hirayama, K. , & Huy, NT (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), 16041615. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6349
- Amsterdam, J. D., Li, Q. S., Xie, S. X., & Mao, J. J. (2020). Putative Antidepressant Effect of Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) Oral Extract in Subjects with Comorbid Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression.Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.),26(9), 813819. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2019.0252