Chamomile tea is a nice way to relax, but it won't directly help you lose weight. There's no substance in chamomile tea that aids fat burning — only exercise and diet can do that. However, it's a calorie-free drink that keeps you hydrated, and it may help reduce stress which can impact your weight.
Effects of Chamomile Tea
The dried flowers of the chamomile plant have been used medicinally for thousands of years to treat scores of conditions including stomach and menstrual disorders, insomnia, rheumatic pain, hemorrhoids and wound healing, according to the American Botanical Council. Today, chamomile is largely consumed as a tea to aid relaxation and sleep.
Whether it is effective for those uses still hasn't been determined by scientific research. According to the National Institutes of Health, little is known about the effects of chamomile because there have been few studies on people. However, preliminary evidence shows that it may have some benefits for generalized anxiety disorder. More research is still needed.
No research has been conducted on the benefits of chamomile tea for weight loss, and there is no reason to believe that it might be effective for reducing weight.
Calorie-Free Hydration for Weight Loss
However, staying hydrated is important for weight loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people sometimes overeat because they mistake hunger for thirst. When your body is missing something — be it food or fluids — it lets you know with symptoms that can sometimes be indistinguishable. Therefore, you might think you're hungry and need a snack when what you really need is fluid.
But not just any fluids will do. Caloric beverages, especially those sweetened with sugar, are strongly associated with overweight and obesity. Drinks such as sweetened teas and sodas provide calories but no nutrients. They may provide hydration, but they are likely to cause you to exceed your calorie needs for the day, which is how you gain weight.
Even drinks that do have nutritional value such as fruit juices and milk can still contribute to a calorie surplus because people often neglect to include them in their daily calorie total.
Herbal tea, such as chamomile, is a pleasing alternative to water for calorie-free hydration. When it's cold outside, a cup of chamomile tea can warm you up, and when it's hot out, iced chamomile is a refreshing way to cool off. Just be sure to drink your tea without sweetener for the best chamomile weight loss results.
Start a Ritual
The unscientific explanation for the relaxing effects of chamomile tea likely have to do with the ritual of preparing and drinking tea. In the evening, put the kettle on, get into your comfy clothes, grab a good book and sit down with a cup of chamomile. Feel the stress melt away.
Reducing stress by creating a relaxation ritual including chamomile tea can have indirect, but powerful, effects on your weight. According to Harvard Health Publishing, stress can increase cravings for "comfort foods" that are high in fat and sugar. Long-term stress raises levels of a hormone called cortisol, which increases appetite. Stress also affects your sleep and can cause you to drink more alcohol and exercise less.
When you're trying to lose weight, reducing stress levels is key. Instead of racing home, eating a hurried dinner and flopping down on the couch for TV time, try slowing things down a bit. Take time to make a healthy meal, take a warm bath, then make a cup of chamomile tea. Try shutting down your electronics and savoring the quiet, peaceful moments of the evening before hitting the sac for a restful night's sleep.
- American Botanical Council: "Introduction to Chamomile"
- NIH: "Chamomile"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Can Eating Fruits and Vegetables Help People Manage Their Weight?"
- Current Diabetes Reports: "Sugar-Sweetened Beverage, Obesity, and Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Adolescents: Policies, Taxation, and Programs"
- Harvard Medical School: "Why Stress Causes People to Overeat"
- "Molecular Medicine Reports"; Chamomile...; Janmejai K. Srivastava, et al; September 2007