Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief
I tend to be very sceptical about anything that could be classified as a CAM (complementary and alternative medicine). As a scientist I should keep an open mind but I am often expected to accept what others claim to be facts which they cannot support with evidence. One clinical trial does not prove conclusively that something works but I was very surprised, at submission, to read the manuscript for this article from Taiwan by Chang and Cheng (2105) titled: 'Effects of an intervention with drinking chamomile tea on sleep quality and depression in sleep disturbed postnatal women: a randomized controlled trial' and published in JAN.
Apparently it works! Regular postpartum care was used as a control here and compared with, in addition to that, drinking chamomile tea for two weeks. Chamomile tea improved sleep but the effects wore off after a few weeks. This is not proof that chamomile tea is the answer to all sleep problems in women who have had babies but does suggest that it may be useful immediately after they have had a baby. The authors are suitably cautious in their summary, saying: 'Chamomile tea may be recommended to postpartum women as a supplementary approach to alleviating sleep quality problems and the symptoms of depression.'
You can listen to this as a podcast.
Chang SM, Cheng CH (2015) Effects of an intervention with drinking chamomile tea on sleep quality and depression in sleep disturbed postnatal women: a randomized controlled trial Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.12836