Thursday, 21 May 2015 01:10 PM By Nick Tate

Drinking chamomile tea can do more than help you get a good night’s sleep. New research out of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston suggests the herbal tea may boost longevity.In findings published online in The Gerontologist, the UT researchers found Mexican-American women who drank the tea had a lower risk of death than those who did not.

Chamomile is one of the oldest, most-widely used medicinal plants in the world and has been widely used as an herbal remedy for a variety of health conditions in Mexico and among Mexican-Americans.

For the new study, one of the first to scientifically validate chamomile’s health benefits, researchers tracked the effects of chamomile and the cause of death in nearly 1,700 older Mexican- Americans from five Southwestern states for seven years.

The results showed that the 14 percent of the women in the study drank chamomile tea were 29 percent less likely to die over the seven-year period, compared with non-drinkers.

“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 lead researcher Bret Howrey, assistant professor in the UTMB department of family medicine.

“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.”

Past studies of chamomile have shown potential benefits in treating hyperglycemia, upset stomach, diabetic complications, anxiety disorder, and high cholesterol. It also has antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-clotting effects on the blood.

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This study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health.