Understandably, natural herbs can be an attractive home remedy alternative to physician prescribed psychopharmacology (Szafrański, 2014). Many people suffering from depression or anxiety could be helped if less expensive therapies were available (Amsterdam et al., 2012).
Results from research are still somewhat vague. Chang and Cheng (2016) see chamomile tea as a possible complementary treatment to relieve symptoms, although in the short-term only. Clearer results were reported from animal research. Can, Demir, Kiyan, and Demirci (2012) found an anxiety-reducing effect (and therefore a causal relationship) from intake of chamomile essential oil. Harati, Sadeghipour, Seifi, Kamalinejad, and Nikseresht (2014) expected an antioxidant effect of chamomile as the reason for its antidepressive benefits, but, although they found such an effect, it couldn’t be attributed to the functioning of the antioxidant system. From Salina (2015) we know that an active relaxing agent in chamomile is named apigenin, without knowing yet though what exactly the doses required and contained in a cup of tea would be. In a follow-up study, Amsterdam et al. (2012) found that chamomile “may provide clinically meaningful antidepressant activity (p. 44)”, indicating that they supposed to have found a causal relationship. The same was reported by Keefe, Mao, Soeller, Li, and Amsterdam (2016). The method to exclude the placebo effect in such research was to give participants pills either containing chamomile extract or a placebo.
So, it seems that several studies have confirmed an immediate negative causal relationship between the consumption of chamomile and depression and anxiety symptoms, although the responsible ingredient and the exact doses required in comparison to traditional drugs is still subject to further research (Keefe et al., 2016).
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Amsterdam, J. D., Shults, J., Soeller, I., Mao, J. J., Rockwell, K., & Newberg, A. B. (2012). Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may provide antidepressant activity in anxious, depressed humans: an exploratory study. Alternative Therapies In Health And Medicine, 18(5), 44-49.
Can, O., Demir Özkay, U., Kiyan, H., & Demirci, B. (2012). Psychopharmacological profile of Chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.) essential oil in mice. Phytomedicine, 19(3/4), 306-310.
Chang, S., & Chen, C. (2016). Effects of an intervention with drinking chamomile tea on sleep quality and depression in sleep disturbed postnatal women: a randomized controlled trial. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 72(2), 306-315. doi:10.1111/jan.12836
Harati, E., Sadeghipour Roodsari, H. R., Seifi, B., Kamalinejad, M., & Nikseresht, S. (2014). The effect of oral Matricaria Chamomilla extract and selenium on postpartum depression and plasma oxidant-antioxidant system in mice. Tehran University Medical Journal, 71(10), 625-634.
Keefe, J. R., Mao, J. J., Soeller, I., Li, Q. S., & Amsterdam, J. D. (2016). Short-term open-label chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) therapy of moderate to severe generalized anxiety disorder. Phytomedicine, 231699-1705. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2016.10.013
Salina, S. (2015). Chamomile’s Calming Properties May Be Real. Environmental Nutrition, 38(2), 3.
Szafrański, T. (2014). [Herbal remedies in depression–state of the art]. Psychiatria Polska, 48(1), 59-73.