Drs. Bret Howrey and M. Kristen Peek, investigators from the University of Texas Medical Branch, recently examined chamomile tea consumption and 7-year mortality in the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly (H-EPESE). They found that 29% decreased risk in 7-year mortality among Mexican-Americans in the total sample and a 33% decreased risk in 7-year mortality among Mexican-American women.
Herb and supplement use for health reasons has been increasing in the last 10–15 years, and one of the most common forms of herb use is as a brewed beverage. Tea consumption, both black and green, has been linked to a lower risk of mortality, reduced cardiovascular events, and reduced incidence of some cancers. Although the beneficial effects of chamomile have the potential to reduce mortality from all causes and from cardiovascular disease and cancer in particular, it is unclear if the positive effects of chamomile translate to decreased mortality in long-term users. While our findings suggest a reduction in mortality rate over 7 years, especially for women, the exact pathway for a reduction in mortality is unknown and represents an important area for future research. Studies with improved granularity in the measure of chamomile use in dosage and duration will lead to a better understanding of the role of chamomile in reduced mortality.