Chamomile tea is a popular natural remedy for high blood pressure. Chamomile (also spelled as camomile) tea has a long history of use as medicinal herb, revered by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans for its soothing, relaxing properties. Chamomile tea is still enjoyed today to reduce stress, ease muscle tension and lower a high blood pressure.
Chamomile tea lowers blood pressure through direct effects on the brain, as it is calming and relaxing. Chamomile tea also has a direct relaxant effect on artery walls and a mild diuretic action to lower blood pressure. Chamomile tea is great to drink last thing at night to help you relax and produces few, if any, side effects. As a bonus, chamomile tea may even protect against thyroid cancer!
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Chamomile tea lowers blood pressure
Chamomile tea is made from the flower heads of two related plants. The most commonly used is German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) but petals from Roman or English chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) are also used.
Chamomile flowers contain volatile essential oils and are also a rich source of antioxidant polyphenols.
Chamomile has a number of beneficial actions that can lower blood pressure:
- chamomile has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic actions that help blood vessel walls to relax and dilate
- chamomile has an hypotensive effect by increasing fluid loss through the kidneys in a similar way to diuretic drugs
- chamomile has a relaxing, sedating action that lowers stress and anxiety and promotes sleep.
Chamomile tea reduces anxiety
If your high blood pressure is related to anxiety, then chamomile tea can definitely help to lower your blood pressure and your anxiety levels. In an extraordinary study, 12 people who needed hospital treatment for heart disease agreed to drink a cup of chamomile tea before they had a pressure-measuring catheter placed within their heart ventricles as part of their standard treatment. The chamomile tea was their only premedication before this very scary anxiety-inducing procedure.
After drinking the chamomile tea, the patient’s blood pressure and heart function were carefully monitored throughout the medical intervention. The workload of their heart did not change significantly, and the blood pressure within the left and right ventricles of their heart did not rise.
Within ten minutes of drinking the chamomile tea, ten of the twelve patients fell into a deep, relaxing sleep. They could be roused but immediately fell asleep again, until the end of the cardiac catheterization procedure, which lasted around 90 minutes.
This hypnotic effect was described as ‘striking’ as it is unusual for patients to fall asleep before or during a heart catheterisation procedure due to the high anxiety involved.
Drinking chamomile tea is likely to be particularly helpful at night as its sedative action reduces anxiety and will help to lower your blood pressure while also promoting restful sleep.
Chamomile tea for generalised anxiety disorder
People with moderate to severe generalised anxiety disorders can also benefit from drinking chamomile tea. In a medical study involving 93 people with generalised anxiety disorder, one group took a pharmaceutical grade chamomile extract (500mg capsule 3 times daily) and another took placebo for 26 weeks.
Those in the chamomile group had significantly fewer anxiety symptoms, lost a significant amount of weight (through reduced comfort eating) and had a significantly lower blood pressure, too.
The chamomile tea did not cause side effects and the researchers concluded that long-term use of chamomile was a safe and effective natural treatment for moderate-to-severe generalised anxiety disorder.
Inhaling Roman chamomile aromatherapy essential oil has also been shown to reduce anxiety in patients admitted to an intensive care unit following a percutaneous coronary intervention (dilation of coronary arteries following a heart attack). The aromatherapy blend used was 6 parts lavender oil, 2 parts Roman chamomile oil and 0.5 parts neroli oil.
Usual intakes are between one and three cups of chamomile tea per day. If you prefer, chamomile supplements are also available.
Chamomile tea for diabetes
If your high blood pressure is associated with diabetes or glucose intolerance, then drinking chamomile tea can both lower your blood pressure and improve your glucose control. In a study involving 64 people with diabetes, drinking chamomile tea (made from 3g chamomile in 150ml hot water) three times a day, for eight weeks. Compared with a control group who just drank water instead, those drinking chamomile tea had significant reductions in HbA1c, improved insulin resistance and glycemic control. Their cholesterol levels also improved.
How to make fresh chamomile tea
Chamomile tea made with fresh chamomile flowers is sweet with hints of apple, and tastes quite different to teas made with dried chamomile flowers.
Simply place 4 tablespoons freshly picked, organic chamomile flowers in a teapot.
Pour over around 250ml boiling water.
Leave to infuse for 5 minutes.
Pour the tea through a strainer, and drink!
I like to add a sprig of fresh garden mint to this mix, too.
I drink chamomile tea every night before I go to bed and it really helps me to sleep well.
Chamomile tea side effects
Rare cases of allergic reactions have been reported, usually in people who are allergic to plants from the daisy or aster family. Otherwise, chamomile tea has few side effects at normal concentrations. Drinking excessive amounts of very strong chamomile tea may cause nausea, vomiting and have a laxative effect.
If your blood pressure is raised, self-monitoring is key to maintaining good control.
Click here for my advice on choosing a blood pressure monitor to use at home.
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