Chamomile tea is a refreshing herbal tea people consume to relax their bodies and mind. Besides being caffeine-free, it has certain bioactive compounds that can boost health over time, which is why you might want to consume chamomile tea during pregnancy.
But is chamomile tea safe for pregnant women and their babies? Knowing this is vital to avert the risks that chamomile tea might pose for expectant mothers and their unborn babies. So, keep reading as we tell you all about the safety of chamomile tea for pregnant women, including its possible health benefits and risks and precautions to observe when drinking it.
What Is Chamomile Tea?
Chamomile tea is made of flowers of two common herbs German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). The flowers are sun-dried, crumbled and then stored in an air-tight jar.
The crumbled flowers are added to boiling water to make the tea, which has been a traditional medicine for inflammation, immunity, insomnia, menstruation and gastrointestinal problems. Since the tea is made of flowers, it has a beautiful aroma that soothes both the body and the mind (1).
Is It Safe To Drink Chamomile Tea During Pregnancy?
Chamomile tea could be safe during pregnancy if you are having it in moderation. There are not many studies on the safety or efficacy of herbal teas, including chamomile tea, during pregnancy (2). However, it is included in the Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) category by the US FDA (3).
How Much Chamomile Tea Is Safe During Pregnancy?
Restrict your consumption to one cup a day. If you want to have it multiple times in a day, divide that one cup of tea into multiple portions and drink it through the day, or dilute the content by adding more water.
An occasional cup of chamomile tea could be good for you.
Benefits Of Drinking Chamomile Tea During Pregnancy
1. Improves sleep quality
Having a cup of chamomile tea before bedtime soothes your nerves, and helps you sleep better. The sedative nature of the herb treats insomnia.
2. Boosts immunity
Chamomile tea improves immunity and thus helps fight infections. If you have a slight fever and a runny nose, a cup of freshly brewed tea would help.
3. Soothes muscular pain
Chamomile tea relieves muscle pains and spasms associated with gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders. It increases glycine levels in the body to provide relaxation to the muscles and nerves.
4. Cures mouth ulcers
Chamomile tea can be used as a mouthwash to treat the uncomfortable mouth ulcers and sores. Use strong tea or diluted tincture three to four times a day to rinse your mouth for relief from the ulcers.
5. Protects from cancers and heart diseases
Chamomile tea contains polyphenols that protect your heart and prevent any heart-related ailments. Its antioxidant properties lower the risk of cancers.
6. Treats indigestion and relieves morning sickness
The anti-inflammatory nature of chamomile helps alleviate digestion problems such as constipation, gas and bloating. The fruit aroma and tantalizing flavor also soothe nausea and morning sickness.
In spite of these healthy reasons, you need to drink chamomile tea in moderation because it could have some side effects too.
Side Effects Of Drinking Chamomile Tea During Pregnancy
- Taking excess chamomile tea might increase the risk of a miscarriage. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this. Probably, the relaxing property of chamomile tea may induce uterine contractions leading to a miscarriage.
- Chamomile tea may cause drowsiness because of its sedative nature. Therefore, do not take it in large quantities.
- If you are allergic to flowers such as daisies, ragweed, asters, and chrysanthemums, then you might be allergic to chamomile as well, leading to skin rashes and bronchial constriction. However, this is a rare occurrence.
- Chamomile might interact with anesthetic medications leading to adverse effects. Therefore, avoid drinking the tea before your C-section.
- Various forms of chamomile extracts and supplements may also react with medications such as painkillers, sedatives and antimicrobial drugs which you might be taking during pregnancy. Therefore, talk to your doctor on drinking the tea.
- Chamomile has blood-thinning properties. If you already have this problem, you might want to restrict the consumption of this tea.
- If you love the aroma and taste of chamomile tea and do not want to give it a miss, then drink it but take some precautions.
Precautions To Take While Drinking Chamomile Tea
Here is what you can do:
- Consult your healthcare provider before including it in your pregnancy diet.
- You may ask the doctor about the safe quantity of chamomile tea you can drink daily.
- Use the dried flower heads and not the leaves for making the tea. Leaves would taste bitter.
- Buy the tea from a reliable brand to avoid harmful additives in it.
Brew the tea at home to have a fresh one every time.
How To Make Chamomile Tea At Home?
Follow these simple steps to steep a perfect cup of tea:
- Boil one cup of water.
- Transfer the boiling water into a mug, and add chamomile dried flower extract or tea bag.
- Allow it to steep for five to ten minutes depending on how concentrated you want it to be. Cover the mug so that the aroma remains.
- Strain the tea to remove the chamomile extract or remove the tea bag.
- You might add a teaspoon of honey to enjoy the freshly brewed chamomile tea.
Next, we answer some commonly asked questions about chamomile during pregnancy.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does chamomile tea help induce labor?
There is not enough research to prove that chamomile tea can induce labor. But drinking in excessive amounts can cause uterine contractions, which could lead to miscarriage or preterm labor.
2. What is the best time to drink chamomile tea during pregnancy?
You can have chamomile tea anytime from the first trimester to the third trimester but in moderate amounts.
While a cup of freshly made chamomile tea is refreshing on a tiring day, do not get tempted to drink multiple cups. Have it moderately while enjoying each sip of it.
Chamomile tea is a herbal beverage that you may enjoy during pregnancy. Due to its medicinal and healing properties, consuming chamomile tea during pregnancy may help you manage your morning sickness, improve immunity, and soothe muscular pain. However, extra care needs to be taken while consuming anything when pregnant. So, be careful not too drink too much of it, but stick to the recommended amount. Moreover, given there is a possibility of side effects, you should consult your ob/GYN before consuming anything to avoid complications.
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5. Aphthous Ulcers; University of Mary Washington (2002)
6. Bret T. Howrey et al.; Chamomile Consumption and Mortality: A Prospective Study of Mexican Origin Older Adults; Gerontologist (2016)
7. Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita); UIC Heritage Garden3
8. Chandini Ravikumar; Review on Herbal Teas; Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research (2014)
9. Lourdes Rodriguez-Fragoso et al.; Risks and Benefits of Commonly used Herbal Medicines in México; Toxicol Appl Pharmacol (2009)