Chamomile is sometimes referred to as the most soothing plant in the world. It has been studied for many of its qualities, such as mild sedative and anti-inflammatory properties. Using chamomile for weight loss may have some benefit, but there is no evidence that it can reduce fat or suppress appetite.
Chamomile is a flower that is part of the daisy family. According to the National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), it has been used throughout history for a wide variety of medicinal purposes. One of chamomile’s traditional uses has been as a digestive aid for gastrointestinal irritation, upset stomach, bloating, flatulence and colic. It has been used to speed up the healing of wounds, insomnia, mouth sores and relief from menstrual cramps.
What Science Says
The active components in chamomile that may lead people to believe that it could have some value as a weight loss aid are bisabolol, matricin and the flavonoids apigenin, luteolin and quercetin. All these active ingredients are thought to be anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic in relation to the smooth muscles of the digestive tract. No studies or scientific evidence are available to support that chamomile is effective for weight loss.
If you are considering trying to lose weight with the help of chamomile, you will either need to drink it in tea form or take it as a dietary supplement. Supplements are sold at health food stores or in the supplement section of some drug stores; taking 300 to 400 milligrams three times per day is considered safe.
Tea can be brewed from the dried herb or purchased in tea bags at most grocery stores. You may choose to drink the tea instead of reaching for a high-calorie snack or beverage.
Chamomile is a diuretic--meaning it removes fluid from the body by urination--which may account for its usefulness as a rapid weight loss aid. However, water weight loss is usually temporary--there is no loss of fat, just extra body fluids.
Many people tend to overeat or turn to junk food when they feel stressed. The University of Maryland reports that animal studies have shown chamomile in low dosages may help with anxiety. Drinking a cup of chamomile tea may help reduce stress, thus allowing you to make wiser diet decisions instead of stress eating.
Chamomile is considered safe in most healthy adults, but vomiting may be a side effect of drinking too much highly concentrated tea. If you have asthma, you should avoid chamomile altogether. Chamomile may work as a uterine stimulant and is not advised for use if pregnant.
Chamomile may have adverse effects if you are currently taking anticoagulant drugs, anticonvulsant medication or sedatives.