Chamomile tea is an herbal tea which is manufactured from the flowers of the German chamomile plant. The scientific name is Matricaria recutita. The appearance of the flowers and the plant looks similar to daisies.
Chamomile tea is also made from the flowers of the Roman chamomile plant, Chamaemelum nobile, however, the most commonly used one is the German variation. To make chamomile tea, the flower heads are sun-dried, crumbled and stored in an air-tight container. The tea is brewed with chamomile tea powder and some boiling water.
Is Chamomile tea safe during pregnancy?
There are two primary kinds of tea: non-herbal and herbal. The non-herbal kind is made from using the tea plants and leaves. The tea contains caffeine, even the decaffeinated types have some caffeine content. It is usually recommended that breastfeeding or pregnant women steer clear from or limit their caffeine intake per day. This is due to a developing baby not being able to process caffeine in their systems the same way as adults can.
Limiting caffeine refers to all caffeine intake, not just caffeine that is present in tea. Remember, caffeine is found in various drinks and foods, including, soda, chocolate, and coffee. If you are consuming multiple sources of caffeine per day when you are pregnant, it means you are increasing you are the caffeine in your system. That is why it is critical to be aware of all different sources of caffeine. The following teas are non-herbal and have a high caffeine content:
Green tea may be a good option but be mindful about your daily caffeine intake while pregnant.
What are herbal teas?
Herbal teas are made from different parts of plants i.e., seeds, roots, and berries. 100% True herbal teas naturally do not contain caffeine. Always read the product labels of the teas that you are uncertain about. Keep in mind, not all herbal teas are viewed as a safe choice for pregnant women by the US FDA (Food and drug administration). This is mainly due to the number of studies that was conducted by the FDA on pregnant women and the types of herbs utilized.
Read also: Herbal teas Organic Herbal Teas that increase Breast Milk
The question remains, is chamomile tea safe during pregnancy? Chamomile has a number of health benefits, for example curing insomnia, remedying runny noses, relieving muscular pain, and soothing menstrual cramps. If chamomile tea is consumed in moderate amounts during pregnancy, it can be beneficial in the following ways:
Consuming a small cup of chamomile tea just before bedtime, can have a calming effect and assist you with sleeping better. Chamomile has a mild sedative effect and can soothe your nerves, curing sleeplessness.
Providing relief for muscular pain
Chamomile tea is effective for relieving muscle cramps and aches by boosting amino acid glycine quantities in the body. Glycine acts as a nerve and muscle relaxant, assisting with bringing relief for muscle cramps and pain. It can have a calming effect as well by relaxing the nerves.
Enhancing immunity and resistance
Chamomile is packed with nutrients which assist the body with fighting off infection as well as enhancing resistance to disease. Drinking chamomile tea can boost immunity and keep germs from infiltrating your body.
Preventing heart disease and cancer
The polyphenol content in chamomile can prevent heart disease. The antioxidants found in chamomile can also lower the risk of developing various types of cancer.
Helps with lessening morning sickness and aids in digestion
Chamomile has a soothing effect on your stomach and can bring relief for gas, constipation, and bloating. The anti-inflammatory components in chamomile can lower inflammation in your digestive tract. A small cup with chamomile tea in the morning can reduce nausea that is triggered by morning sickness.
Curing mouth ulcers
When chamomile is used as a mouth ulcer, it can cure mouth ulcers and sores. Merely rinse your mouth with chamomile tea twice daily to see a decrease in the amount of mouth sores.
7 Side-effects of drinking too much chamomile tea when expecting
Chamomile tea must be enjoyed in moderation during pregnancy. Drinking too much of it when expecting can lead to unpleasant and even toxic side effects. Some of the side-effects of drinking chamomile when expecting include:
It can result in pre-term delivery or a miscarriage
Consuming too much chamomile tea when you are expecting has been associated with premature birth and miscarriage. Excessive drinking of chamomile tea can trigger uterine contractions too early which results in premature labour, plus too much chamomile can become an abortion-inducing substance, resulting in miscarriage.
It could lead to drowsiness
Chamomile is a mild sedative, therefore consuming too much of it, can result in drowsiness.
Too much chamomile can trigger allergies
Chamomile is part of the aster and daisy flower families. If you happen to be allergic to any of these flowers, it is recommended to avoid chamomile tea since it can result in an allergic reaction that involves a runny nose, red, itchy and watery eyes, and nasal congestion.
Chamomile can mimic the hormone oestrogen
Chamomile has similar components than the female pregnancy hormone, oestrogen. If you have any risk of developing uterine or breast cancer, it is best to avoid chamomile since it may enhance your chances of developing cancer.
Chamomile can react with other drugs
Chamomile has been linked to impact functioning of blood-thinning drugs, painkillers, antimicrobial drugs, and sedatives. Chamomile can react to these medications and alter their performance.
Chamomile might react with anaesthetics during a C-section
Chamomile has been linked to reacting with anaesthetic drugs and can result in adverse side effects. Therefore, if you are having a C-section, it is better to avoid chamomile.
Can amplify nausea
Even though chamomile can help with soothing morning sickness, excessive consumption can have the opposite effect and induce vomiting. To prevent this from happening, limit your chamomile tea intake to one or two small cups of tea per day.
What precautions should you take when drinking chamomile tea?
It is crucial to note that when you are including chamomile tea into your pregnancy diet, you must first consult with your doctor or gynaecologist. Speak to your medical professional about the possible side-effects of drinking chamomile tea when expecting. Also, find out about a safe dosage for you and your growing infant. If you can drink chamomile tea during your pregnancy, here are some precautions that you can take.
Always buy chamomile tea from a trustworthy source
If you purchase the tea from reliable and reputable sources, you can rest assured that the product contains no harmful additives.
Use the flowers
Use the dried chamomile flower heads instead of the leaves to make tea. The leaves tend to leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
Only drink chamomile tea in moderation
The general rule of thumb is to stick to 15mg or less of chamomile extract when brewing tea. You can drink chamomile during pregnancy if you stick to one or two small cups per day.
Will chamomile tea assist with inducing labour?
There is not enough research to conclusively provide proof that chamomile induces labour. However, drinking too much chamomile during pregnancy has been associated with preterm births and miscarriages. When chamomile is consumed in substantial quantities, it can induce contractions which result in premature births and miscarriages.
Which teas are safe to drink when you are expecting?
There are a few herbal teas which are considered safe for pregnant women. Nettle tea and red raspberry tea, for instance, are used in numerous herbal teas and are typically considered safe for expecting women. However, when you are expecting a child, it is crucial to steer clear from herbal teas marketed as dieting or weight loss teas, or teas that are laxatives. Besides these, also avoid teas which ingredients include nutritional supplements. Such supplements can lead to interactions with other meds or complications. Even herbal teas which are labelled as pregnancy teas have not been tested sufficiently to be considered as completely safe during pregnancy. Always consult with your doctor before drinking any teas.
Which teas must be avoided when expecting?
According to research, drinking more than 200mg of caffeine a day when pregnant, has been causally linked to low birth weight in infants. Caffeine is absorbed by the body and crosses the placenta. An excess of 200mg of caffeine lowers blood flow in your placenta by twenty-five percent. Caffeine also prolongs the length of pregnancy by five hours for every 100mg. If you enjoy a cup of coffee every day, your pregnancy term becomes even longer.
10 Teas to avoid during pregnancy
Some teas contain too much caffeine and must be restricted when you are expecting. Here is a list of the teas that you should not drink when pregnant.
- Matcha/green tea (Green tea has a high caffeine content and lowers folate absorption)
- Anise tea
- Lichee tea
- Kava tea
- Aloe vera tea
- Lemongrass tea
- Barberry tea
- Hibiscus tea
- Ginseng tea
Useful tips for making chamomile tea at home
Making your own chamomile tea at home is a relatively simple process. When you want to brew your own tea at home, here is the method:
- Purchase chamomile extract from a reputable source.
- Heat a small cup with water and bring to the boil.
- Take the water off the stove and pour into another cup.
- Add the chamomile extract or tea bag and cover the top of the teacup.
- If you have used extract, strain the water.
- Add a teaspoon of honey to chamomile tea and enjoy.
Chamomile tea can be advantageous to pregnant women if consumed in small amounts (one to two small cups daily). However, you must first check with your doctor before adding it to your daily meal plan. Avoid excessive consumption of chamomile tea during pregnancy.
DIY decaf tea method
When you are making tea, caffeine is the first substance that is emancipated into the water during soaking (within twenty-five seconds). To decaffeinate tea, soak the tea bag or leaves for thirty seconds, dump the water, and refill your teacup with hot water and soak again. Most of the caffeine will be eradicated.
These health benefits associated with chamomile are mostly anecdotal and are not reinforced by scientific research:
Boosting your immune system
Chamomile is often endorsed as a strategy for treating and preventing the common cold, however sufficient evidence is lacking. Chamomile is also thought of as soothing a sore throat.
Offering relief for depression and anxiety
Some evidence exists that chamomile can lower the severity of depression and anxiety, but it is largely based on utilizing it as part of aromatherapy or drinking it as a supplement.
Enhancing skin health
It has been described as a moisturizer and reducing skin inflammation when introducing chamomile to your skin via cosmetics like eye creams, lotions, and soaps.
Averting bone loss
Some declare that chamomile tea may be playing a role in averting bone loss that results in health conditions like osteoporosis. But evidence on this topic is lacking.
To date, not enough research and studies have been conducted on the subject of herbal teas and pregnancy. This means there are still doubts about whether chamomile tea is safe to consume during pregnancy. The same rule always applies in terms of safe foods and drinks when you are pregnant. Whenever you are in doubt, rather avoid it. Always practice caution and consult with your doctor or gynaecologist before including herbal teas into your pregnancy diet. Many common teas may be an unsuitable choice for pregnancy. Your doctor can suggest pregnancy-safe beverages for ensuring you are staying hydrated for the following nine months without putting the health of your baby at risk.