For a comprehensive look at the different chemical constituents, preperation methods, and the finest brands of Pu-Erh Tea, see our guide HERE!
There has long been a sense of confusion towards the topic of tea in mainstream America.
Which teas are real? Which teas are medicinally useful? Which teas have the highest amount of caffeine? Which teas have the lowest amount of caffeine? I could go on and on…
Today, we’re going to look at perhaps the most fashionable ‘tea’ on the market – Chamomile tea – and compare its various medicinal benefits, chemical constituents, and preparation methods to a classic: green tea.
Strap in, this will be a long one… and use our Table of Contents if you find yourself wanting immediate answers.
Table of Contents:
- What is Chamomile Tea?
- Chamomile Tea Benefits
- Chamomile Tea Chemical Constituents
- What is Green Tea?
- Green Tea Benefits
- Green Tea VS Chamomile Tea Grading Card
What is Chamomile Tea?
Chamomile tea is perhaps the most popular herbal beverage on the planet.
It provides a whole bevy of medicinal benefits (more on this later), along with some anxiety & stress relief, and perhaps most importantly: it tastes delicious.
Is Chamomile Tea Real Tea?
Short answer: no.
Chamomile tea is considered an herbal tea.
Every flavor, aroma, and variety of (real) tea is from the plant species Camellia sinensis.
That’s right, green tea, black tea, and Oolong tea are all derived from Camellia sinensis.
Different methods of cultivation create different varieties of tea which smell, look, and taste completely unique:
Green tea is concocted from unfermented Camellia sinensis leaves; Oolong tea is concocted from partially fermented Camellia sinensis leaves; black tea is concocted from fully fermented Camellia sinensis leaves.
Also, each tea variety goes through different oxidation processes.
We wrote up a comprehensive guide to tea oxidation (focusing on Oolong and green tea) here!
So why is Chamomile tea so popular if it’s not real tea?
Because of the medicinal benefits.
We’ll dive into this a little later but it’s important to point out that Chamomile is essentially the best selling medicinal herb on the planet because of its relative inexpensiveness, its many health benefits, and how easy it is to consume.
Roman VS German Chamomile
There are two separate species of Chamomile:
Roman Chamomile – Chamaemelum nobile (or Anthemis nobilis) – is considered real Chamomile. It’s a low growing perennial herb most commonly found in dry fields and gardens. You can differentiate Chamaemelum nobile from other species of Anthemis (the genus of flowering plants that is known as Chamomile) from the short blunt scales below the floret (small flower).
It’s worth noting that all Chamomile plant varieties have tiny scales below the floret; researchers look at these scales to differentiate the different species of Chamomile.
German Chamomile – Matricaria recutita – is considered fake Chamomile. It’s a tall-growing perennial herb also found in fields and gardens.
They look similar, smell fairly similar, and both make for a great warm beverage!
The two plants even share many of the same medicinal chemical constituents, which is why I wouldn’t worry too much about which species is ‘best’ for medicinal use.
Chamomile Tea Benefits
- This 2006 review on the health benefits of Chamomile published in Phytotherapy Research found that the herb offers potent anti-inflammatory action.
- Chamomile is listed as one of the best herbs for fighting skin related inflammation.
- This double-blind placebo study published in 2009 found that German Chamomile may have modest anti-anxiety activity in patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
- This 2004 study found that Chamomile aromatherapy improved anxiety & depression symptoms.
- This study published in 1972 found anti-microbial activity from Chamomile oil.
- This 2012 study found that Chamomile oil extracted with methanol had a significant level of anti-microbial activity.
Chamomile is loaded with anti-oxidant compounds.
- A 2012 study on wild Chamomile growing in Iran found that the herb is loaded with a wide variety of anti-oxidant chemical compounds.
Medicinal Chemical Compounds in Chamomile
Many of the medicinal benefits of Chamomile listed above are a product of these two chemical compounds:
Chamazulene is a medicinal chemical compound found in many herbs including Chamomile, Wormwood and Yarrow.
This 1994 study found that Chamazulene is a potent free radical scavenging chemical compound that has been found to treat both inflammatory skin diseases and bowel diseases.
Patuletin is a phenolic compound that also has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Take a look at this 2018 study that looks at the potential health benefits of spinach and how Patuletin, among other anti-oxidant compounds, functions.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea is a type of tea created from the unoxidized leaves of Camellia sinesis.
Green tea’s light color, bittersweet taste, and unique aroma is a result of its cultivation and lack of oxidation.
Differing cultivation methods also result in differing levels of nutrients and minerals.
Green Tea Medicinal Benefits
Green tea has been considered a medicinal beverage within traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
A few important notes:
- Green tea is loaded with more Catechins – an anti-oxidant phenolic compound – than any other variety of tea.
- Epidemiological studies have shown that green tea may be the most effective tea for cancer prevention.
- In mouse studies, topical application of green tea polyphenols to the skin has been shown to protect against certain kinds of skin tumors.
The most interesting chemical compound found in green tea:
Theanine is a highly useful anti-anxiety and anti-stress amino acid found in green tea.
Multiple studies have shown that Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress.
Green Tea VS Chamomile Tea Grading Card
As you can see from the grading card above and from the research I’ve cited throughout the article, green tea is the more effective nootropic and anti-anxiety agent of the two teas, while Chamomile has slightly more impressive anti-oxidant chemical constituents.
If you haven’t already, give both teas a try and give us your thoughts. Thanks for Reading!