The Truly Amazing Chamomile

Can this herbal infusion really help prevent breast cancer and treat diabetes?

Let me stop here for a quick diversion. You might hear people say, “I’ll have a cup of herbal tea”. We misuse the term tea often. Tea is a plant, Camellia sinensis. We call any hot beverage that is not coffee a tea. This can work if you are brewing black tea or green tea. Those are from the above plant. I promise to do a future missive on the health benefits of that plant. But herbal “tea” does not exist. If you take herbs and steep them in hot water, you are making an infusion. Chamomile infusion, one of the most popular herbal beverages, has many diverse health benefits.

I have recently delved deeply into the scientific research on Chamomile, for which the Latin name is Matricaria chamomilla.

I have known this herb for many, many years, long before I was practicing naturopathic medicine. As is true for many people, I’d thought of chamomile as a relaxing infusion that might help with rest and sleep. It is very calming. And very safe…it is fine to use this herb even in little ones.

But after my deep dive into chamomile, I have so many more positive things to point out about it. I’m also amazed that there has been so much research on this fabulous little plant. It also grows well in my garden zone, so I will plant some when we get our current garden expansion completed.

Here are a few of the highlights for what the recent research shows.


A recent systematic review (a study looking at all of the properly performed scientific studies) found eight randomized controlled trials showing benefit from taking chamomile. Chamomile’s properties that provide relief from PMS are anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and anti-anxiety. It is a very effective herbal medicine for women who suffer from PMS.

Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

There are a number of polyphenols and other compounds in the chamomile flower that have been shown to help reduce the oxidative stress caused by obesity, as well as reduce the carbohydrates absorbed in the intestines and lower cholesterol. “In this review we focus on Matricaria chamomilla, commonly known as chamomile, and one of the most popular medicinal plants in the world. Thanks to a high content of phenolic compounds and essential oils, preparations from chamomile flowers demonstrate a number of pharmacological effects, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and sedative actions as well as improving gastrointestinal function. Several recent studies have shown certain positive effects of chamomile preparations in the prevention of obesity and complications of diabetes.” Authors Bayliak et al. They further went on to say that “Modulation of signaling pathways related to energy metabolism, inflammation, stress responses and adipogenesis were also found under treatment with chamomile extracts or its individual components.”

Breast Cancer - chamomile suppresses invasion and migration of breast cancer cells

This is a study of an hydroethanolic extract of chamomile flowers. The authors endeavor to assess how the extract of chamomile flower has an anticancer effect on human breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-468 cell lines. The results prove a time and dose dependent anti-invasive effect of the extract of Matricaria chamomilla.

Sleep Quality and Glycemic Control

Studies show that herbal infusions of chamomile taken 1-3 times/day, and infused for 15 minutes, can help improve sleep quality and help regular blood sugar control.


This study shows that an extract of Chamomile can not only help the thickness of bone but also the trabecular strength. It can help to reduce bone loss. The researchers measured a number of serum markers such as calcium, magnesium, and alkaline phosphatase, among other. They found that chamomile had a positive impact on these parameters. Chamomile showed that “it had restored the architecture of the cortical and trabecular structure with well-organized bone matrix.” The study was done with an extract of chamomile that was dose at 400mg/kg. Which is a relatively high dose. This was an animal study and I was unable to find a similar study done in humans.

Female Infertility

Chamomile contains many active compounds, including flavonoids, gallic acid, apigenin, camazelin, coumarins, matricin, and choline. In a mouse study, chamomile was found to increase follicle size, increase progesterone, increase 17-ß-estradiol, increased follicular diameter and prolonged the survival of oocytes. In mice it has also been shown to increase estrogen-dependent characteristics such as hair growth, temperature changes and menstrual cycle length. In post-term women, a doubled-blind trial showed that chamomile capsules helped to bring on labor in postterm women, along with decreasing pain and shortening contraction length. Another study showed that chemocholine scent improved contractions in laboring women. In another study it was shown to help increase breast milk supply in lactating women. It has also been shown to prevent postpartum hemorrhage.


In a randomized human trial, women with PCOS of childbearing age received 370mg of dried chamomile capsule three times/day. After 12 weeks, they had more regular menstrual cycles, compared with those who received the placebo. There was an increase in the number of menstrual cycles in the chamomile group, along with a decrease in testosterone levels.

A rat study showed that extract of chamomile reduced the symptoms of PCOS and increased LH production. It also decreased the signs of PCOS in ovarian tissue and improved endometrial tissue arrangements. Chamomile also helped improve the production of a dominant follicle, which is often reduced in those with PCOS.

Chamomile is a galactogogue - increases breast milk supply

One study showed a case report of a woman who had a significant increase in milk supply while nursing her newborn after consumption of a chamomile infusion.

Chamomile comes in a number of different forms. I find the hot water infusion to be very enjoyable and easily accessible. Making an herbal infusion for medicinal benefits has been relegated to not strong enough medicine in recent years. But the truth is it can be very effective. When you look at the medicinal constituents that make up a given herb’s qualities, some of those things are readily extracted by hot water. Some are best extracted by hot water. Always cover the infusion while it is steeping to get the most impact, as many of the alkaloids that have benefit will lift off in the steam.

It also comes in a syrup form that could be helpful for those who need to get a higher therapeutic dose. You can get a tincture as well, which is an alcohol extract. Chamomile also comes in capsules of dried herb.

Always make sure that your herbs are organic. We use the DiviniTea brand for all of our organic herbal infusions. It is fantastic quality and tastes amazing. Currently we have a chamomile lavender blend that is wonderful.

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