Recent clinical and laboratory research has determined that chamomile is not only relaxing, but it can significantly decrease anxiety and even fight depression.
The most recent study, from the UK's University of Nottingham Medical School, found that chamomile significantly relaxed blood vessels and smooth muscle fibers. This effect was indicated specifically with the application of three of chamomile's central constituents, apigenin, luteolin and bisabolol – all hydroxylates.
This effect of chamomile to soothe and calm the system was also showed in a recent study from the Eulji University Hospital in South Korea. Here 56 patients undergoing coronary treatment and surgery were given aromatherapy with a combination of lavender, chamomile and neroli. A control group was given only nursing care.
The researchers found that the aromatherapy group had significantly lower anxiety and improved sleep compared to the control group.
Focused clinical evidence proves Chamomile's effectiveness
The fact that chamomile is an anti-anxiety and anti-depression herb was cemented by a clinical study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. This study was done in 2009, but its data and findings were re-investigated and confirmed last year.
The researchers enlisted 19 people diagnosed with anxiety with comorbid depression, along with 16 people who were diagnosed as having a history of anxiety and depression. These groups were studied along with a control group of 22 people who had no anxiety or depression – past or present.
The study was randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled. The researchers gave the subjects either 220 milligrams of chamomile extract (standardized to 1.2% apigenin) or a placebo study, both in capsules.
The treatment period spanned eight weeks. During the first week the subjects were given one capsule a day, and for those receiving less benefit on their anxiety scores, this was increased to two capsules the second week, three capsules the third week, four the fourth week and five for the remainder of the eight weeks.
The primary means for judging the success of the treatment was the Hamilton Anxiety Rating (HAM-A) scoring system – which utilizes questionnaires to determine ones level of anxiety. The researchers also used the Beck Anxiety Inventory system and the Psychological Well Being system, as well as the Clinical Global Impression Severity system to confirm their findings.
The researchers found that 57% of the group using the chamomile extract had significantly reduced (greater than 50%) anxiety scores using the HAM-A system.
Three years later, the University of Pennsylvania researchers undertook another review of the data in this study to determine whether or not treatment with chamomile for the clinically anxious and clinically depressed could be considered "clinically meaningful." This of course enables medical peers to gauge whether or not chamomile could be used as a prescriptive treatment for diagnosed patients.