Herbal Remedies For Anxiety: Chamomile Tea

There are a number of herbal remedies touted as treatments for anxiety, and it can be hard to know which ones actually work and which are little more than old wives' tales. One herb that is commonly recommended to treat anxiety is chamomile. While a nice cup of chamomile tea may seem overly simplistic, it turns out that scientific research is supporting the idea that chamomile does help to ease anxiety.

There are two types of chamomile used to treat health conditions, with German chamomile the herb of choice in the United States. Chamomile has been used for thousands of years to treat insomnia, anxiety, gastrointestinal conditions, and skin conditions. The herb is used in a variety of ways--the flowering tops of the plant are used in teas, extracts, pills, creams, and ointments.

There haven't been very many scientific studies on chamomile use in humans, but just a couple years ago the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine funded a study of the effects of chamomile extract on generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The study found that treatment with chamomile capsules reduced anxiety more than treatment with a placebo, and the capsules were well-tolerated by the participants. While it is still unclear how much chamomile helps, or whether other formulations (like chamomile tea) also work to decrease anxiety, it may be worth a try for people with GAD.

As with all alternative and complementary treatments, it is important to share your treatment choices with your health care provider. If you're allergic to plants in the daisy family, which includes ragweed, you should be especially aware of the potential for an allergic reaction to chamomile.

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