Is Chamomile Tea Safe To Drink In Pregnancy?
Chamomile tea is generally considered safe to drink during pregnancy - in moderation.
Variety is definitely the spice of life when it comes to drinking tea when you're pregnant, and official National Health Service advice is to have no more than 4 cups a day, of any 1 herbal tea per day.
However, if you google chamomile in pregnancy - some quite terrifying advice pops up, stating you cannot drink it at all. So we want to deep dive into this, as this is a total contradiction to the NHS. But it's incredibly important to be informed and comfortable with your tea choices when growing a baby, so read on...
CHAMOMILE TEA FOR SLEEP AND RELAXATION
Chamomile flowers contains a compound called linalool, that has a mild sedative effect on our bodies. It can cause drowsiness and sleep if consumed in large amounts. It is therefore important not to drink too much chamomile when pregnant, as you don't want to make yourself, or the little one in your tummy, too drowsy.
1-2 cups should help relax you, but not put you at risk of falling asleep while driving.
CHAMOMILE TEA AND EARLY LABOUR
Many websites say that chamomile has been linked to bringing on early labour in research. This is true of one study, but this study looked at high doses of chamomile extract, not drinking 1-2 cups of chamomile tea a day.
The study was done in Iran in 2013, where 80 women who were over-due and had low-risk pregnancies, were divided into two groups. 40 were given 1,000 milligrams of chamomile every 8 hours for 1 week. The other group was given a placebo. After a week, 92.5% of the women in the chamomile group started having symptoms of labour. Only 62.5% of women in the placebo group had the same.
1000mg is 1 gram - so the women who had symptoms of labour where eating 3g of chamomile flower whole, each day. A large, medicinal dose.
When you brew tea, you will generally extract 30-40% of the active compounds in the leaf when you brew for 5 minutes. So, if you look at our Night Owl tea, which is 77% chamomile flowers - 1.15g of chamomile flowers per bag - when you brew 1 cup, you'll have active compound of c. 0.4g of tea or less. So you'd have to drink 7 cups a day, to get close to the level that this study gave to women. This is half a pack of our Night Owl tea - every day.
This isn't a normal level of tea drinking, and is why in smaller quantities of 1-2 cups a day, is generally considered safe by the NHS.
A LACK OF RESEARCH INTO CHAMOMILE TEA ITSELF
There is certainly a lack of research into this - no study has been done with chamomile tea specifically. Those that exist, only look at extracts and medicinal doses. This level of consumption is very hard to replicate with tea, but there is no direct comparative study to compare to.
This is true of all fruit and herbal teas, as there are no multi-national pharmaceutical companies who want to fund research into this area.
So, as with any herbal tea, it is really important to consult with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns, look to the NHS for firm advice, and do what makes you feel comfortable.