Could Chamomile Reduce Mortality in Women?

This spring, the journal The Gerontologist released a new study suggesting that drinking chamomile tea could reduce mortality in older women.

The study was conducted by the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and it involved 1,677 men and women of Mexican origin over the age of 65. The participants were from five states: Texas, California, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. The data was extracted from seven years of results of the Hispanic Established Populations for Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly. At the start of the study, 14% of those in the study were  consuming chamomile tea regularly.

Even after accounting for disparities in health behavior and pre-existing conditions and other demographic factors, regular consumption of chamomile tea resulted in a decreased mortality of 29% for Mexican women over the age of 65 across all causes of death. Curiously, no impact was seen for men, although the study sample of men consuming the tea on a regular basis was far lower.

“The reason for a difference in our reported findings between Hispanic women and men is not clear, although women were shown to be more frequent users of chamomile than men,” said study author Bret T. Howrey in a press release. “This difference may be due to traditional gender roles whereby women manage the day-to-day activities of the household, including family health, and may also reflect greater reliance on folk remedies such as herbs.”

Historically chamomile has been promoted as an immunity booster in herbal medicine. The 2002 National Health Interview Survey/Complementary and Alternative Medicine supplement (NHIS-CAM) showed that 20% of the U.S. population was using herbal remedies, but the number was 30% for Latino and Asian populations.

SOURCE: Medical Daily, Science Daily, and The Gerontologist