Disclaimer: Initially drafted by AI, this article was edited by a human author to ensure accuracy and quality.
Chamomile is one of the most gentle natural remedies for sleep. Both German and Roman variety of chamomile is shown to have relaxing, anti-anxiety effects.
German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), are the most common varieties of chamomile.
Many people ask which one is more effective for sleep. In this article, we’ll explore the characteristics and benefits of both German and Roman chamomile in detail to determine which one might be better suited for your specific case.
About German Chamomile
German chamomile, also known as blue chamomile, is native to Europe and has a long history of medicinal use. Its hallmarks are daisy-like flowers with yellow centers and white petals. The flowers of German chamomile contain essential oils that are responsible for their soothing properties. These oils contain compounds such as chamazulene, bisabolol, and apigenin, which have anti-inflammatory and sedative effects—especially apigenin which boosts the sleep-inducing GABA brain chemical.
About Roman Chamomile
Roman chamomile, funnily enough also known as English chamomile, is native to Western Europe and looks similar to German chamomile, with small, daisy-like flowers with yellow centers and white petals.
It has a sweet, apple-like fragrance. This makes it a preferred ingredient in cosmetics and perfumes. Like German chamomile, Roman chamomile also contains essential oils with sedative properties, including compounds like bisabolol and chamazulene.
Here’s something interesting, though: Roman chamomile is commonly used in aromatherapy and herbal medicine to alleviate stress, anxiety, and promote relaxation. You’ll often see it diffused as an essential oil or used in massage oils and bath products, sometimes in doctor’s offices and other places to enhance the scent of the environment.
Inhaling the scent of Roman chamomile has been found to have a calming effect on the nervous system, helping to induce a sense of tranquility and prepare the body for sleep. This is why it might help against nervousness in a nicely scented dentist’s office!
Limited scientific studies have specifically examined Roman chamomile’s impact on sleep. However, its traditional use as a calming herb suggests its potential in promoting relaxation and supporting better sleep. The soothing aroma of Roman chamomile can be particularly beneficial for individuals who find it difficult to unwind and let go of stress at bedtime.
Which Chamomile is Better for Sleep?
Both German and Roman chamomile have similar characteristics and contain essential oils that offer sedative and calming effects. The choice between the two may come down to personal preference and availability. Some individuals may find German chamomile more effective due to its higher chamazulene content, which provides anti-anxiety properties. Others may prefer the sweet aroma of Roman chamomile and find it more relaxing.
It’s worth noting that chamomile alone may not be a magic solution for severe sleep disorders. If you consistently struggle with sleep problems or have a diagnosed sleep disorder, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate treatment.
How to Use Chamomile for Sleep?
- Chamomile Tea: Brew a cup of chamomile tea about 30 minutes before bedtime. Use either German or Roman chamomile flowers or tea bags readily available in stores. Ideally, go for organic ones as they may be cleaner and contain a higher ratio of sedative compounds.
- Aromatherapy: Diffuse Roman chamomile essential oil in your bedroom or dilute it in a carrier oil for a relaxing massage before bed.
- Bath Soak: Add a few drops of chamomile essential oil to your bathwater for a calming and soothing experience.
- Bedtime Ritual: Incorporate chamomile into your bedtime routine as a signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
Any Side Effects?
While German and Roman chamomile are generally safe for most people, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects and take necessary precautions, especially if you have specific health conditions or are taking certain medications. Here are some important points to consider:
- Allergies: Chamomile belongs to the Asteraceae family, which includes ragweed, daisies, and chrysanthemums. If you have known allergies to these plants, you may also be sensitive to chamomile. Our suggestion is to perform a patch test or start with a small amount to check for any adverse reactions before using chamomile extensively.
- Drug Interactions: Chamomile can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners, antiplatelet drugs, sedatives, and anti-anxiety medications. If you are taking any of these, check with your physician before consuming high doses of chamomile (especially in the context of supplements).
- Hormonal Effects: Some animal studies have suggested that chamomile may have estrogenic effects, which means it may mimic the hormone estrogen in the body. While the evidence is limited and inconclusive, individuals with hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast or ovarian cancer should exercise caution and seek medical advice before using chamomile regularly.
- Sedation and Drowsiness: Chamomile’s sedative properties may cause drowsiness, especially when consumed in larger amounts or combined with other sleep-inducing substances. If you are planning to operate machinery, drive, or perform tasks that require alertness, it’s advisable to avoid consuming chamomile tea or any other chamomile products beforehand.
German and Roman chamomile both offer sedative and calming properties that can aid in promoting better sleep. Whether you choose German chamomile for its anti-anxiety effects or Roman chamomile for its soothing aroma, incorporating chamomile into your bedtime routine may help you relax and improve sleep quality.
Further Reading: Feverfew vs Chamomile