Stress Research Paper: Chamomile Tea

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Impacts of Chamomile Tea on Stress and Anxiety

Stress Research Paper: Introduction

Stress in the short term is considered beneficial to the human body as it boosts the performance, critical thinking, and situational awareness during critical settings such as a job interview, overwhelming debate, or critical date. However, the stress in the long term can be harmful to human health and may even trigger physical disorders such as alopecia areata (Legg, 2017). There are many ways of coping with stress, including meditation, communication, embracing feelings, and sometimes medication. However, findings infer that eating and drinking habits can have drastic positive impacts on dealing with stress (Mao et al., 2006). Chamomile tea, brewed from dried flower heads, has been traditionally used for medicinal purposes. In this assignment, the potential benefits and impacts of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita L.) have been presented. The paper also presents insights into the previous literature and researches. Although chamomile tea does not have instant results as pharmaceutical stress and anxiety drugs, the herb can be considerably useful in terms of relieving the stress and anxiety for patients who consume the herb on a regular basis.

Literature Review

McKay & Blumberg (2006) conducted a research on the bioactivity and potential health benefits of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita L.). The author presented evidence-based information about the bioactivity of the herb. Accordingly, quercetin, patuletin, glucosides, luteolin, and flavonids apigenin are among the main components of the herb. “Chamomile has moderate antioxidant and antimicrobial activities, and significant antiplatelet activity in vitro” (Mckay & Blumberg, 2006, p. 519). The objective of the study was to highlight the health benefits of brewed chamomile tea. In this direction, model studies inferred some antimutagenic, potent anti-inflammatory action, along with anxiolytic and antispasmodic effects. In other words, the study proved that chamomile tea had certain relieving potential health benefits on human psychology and physiology.

On the other hand, Mao et al. (2016) focused on the long-term chamomile treatment for generalized anxiety disorder. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is considered among the most often anxiety-related disorders. The purpose of their study was to evaluate the long-term chamomile use for the prevention of stress and GAD symptoms. In this direction, at a large US academic medical center, "outpatients from primary care practices and local communities with a primary diagnosis of moderate-to-severe GAD were enrolled for this two-phase study" (Mao et al., 2016, p. 1735). Patients were treated with 1500 mg chamomile pharmaceutical extract in a 12-week Phase 1. In Phase 2, responders were "randomized to either 26 weeks of continuation herb therapy or placebo in a double-blinded, placebo-substitution design" (p. 1736). Findings show that long term usage of chamomile tea was both safe and significantly beneficial for reducing the GAD symptoms. Also, Chang & Chen (2016) investigated the effects of an intervention with drinking chamomile tea on depression and sleep quality. According to authors, as the herb has certain sedative-hypnotic effects, chamomile is used as a folk remedy for postnatal women. The authors aimed to evaluate the effects on sleep quality, depression, and fatigue in postpartum women. “A total of 80 Taiwanese women with poor sleep patterns participated in the study” (2016, p. 306). Empirical findings revealed that chamomile tea might be recommended to individuals who suffer from stress, depression, or sleeping problems.

Stress and Anxiety

Many individuals may experience stressful events from time to time. Stress refers to demands placed on our physical bodies or brains. In this sense, many people can report stressful moods when they are overwhelmed with multiple challenges or competing demands. Also, the stress itself can be triggered by an incident that makes us nervous or frustrated. On the other hand, anxiety refers to a state of unease, fear, or worry. Anxiety can be a reaction against stress. Many people who cannot identify the core stressors in their lives can face anxiety.

The Effects of Stress and Anxiety

Although both words may seem negative, anxiety and stress are not always harmful to human psychology and physiology. That is, the stress in the short term is considered beneficial as it triggers the survival instinct. More specifically, the stress in the short term can boost performance, situational awareness, and attentiveness during challenging situations. Feeling stressed before giving a speech, finding a job, taking an important test, or the first date with a lover are among the daily stress, which is not harmful to human health. Nevertheless, the stress in the long term is considered extremely harmful to human health (Legg, 2017). The human body is not designed for permanent stress, and our bodies become vulnerable if exposed to stress in a long period. Stress in the long term can also have physical impacts on our bodies and trigger psychosomatic disorders such as alopecia areata.

In this sense, anxiety and stress can create both mental and physical complications, including dizziness, rapid breathing, stomachache, headache, fast heartbeat, muscle tension, fatigue, frequent urination, trouble sleeping, and change in appetite. Also, emotional and mental complications may include irrational anger, feelings of impending down, restlessness, panic or nervousness, and lack of situational awareness and loss of concentration (Legg, 2017). Instant changes in life order and loss of a relative or lover are among the common causes. Medications and drugs can lead to stress-related disorders. Illicit drugs (cocaine, heroin, MDMA, etc.), excessive alcohol consumption, and excessive caffeine consumption may aggravate anxiety and stress (Legg, 2017). Also, asthma inhalers, thyroid medications, and diet pills are known to increase stress and anxiety.

Stress- and Anxiety-Related Disorders

Frequent signs of stress and anxiety can be indicators of stress- and anxiety-related disorders. Findings state, "An estimated 40 million Americans live with some type of anxiety disorder” (Legg, 2017, para. 8). People with such disorders may regularly feel unease. Panic disorder, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are among the most common stress and anxiety-related disorders in literature. Although many incidents and bad habits can lead to stress and anxiety, some habits are considered useful to combat stress. However, these habits should be applied to medicine to have a proper impact. These habits and techniques include “dietary changes,” meditating, talking to a friend, sparing time for hobbies, proper sleep patterns, limiting alcohol and caffeine, balanced and healthy diet, deep breathing practices, embracing and recognizing the stressors, and getting regular exercise (e.g., sports activities, exercise). After all, although we may face many stressors such as tension with a beloved one, or even pandemics like Coronavirus, there are always ways to combat stress in the long term.

Discussion: Chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.) Tea

Matricaria recuita L. is widely a popular herb and used for medicinal purposes. The herb is known to ease stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Although it is not as effective as pharmaceutical drugs that directly affect the hormone levels in the human body, the natural solution offers promising benefits and solutions in the long run (Mao et al., 2016). Many scientific researches highlight the easing effects of chamomile tea (Chang & Chen, 2016; Mao et al., 2016). The components in the chamomile are known to ease dizziness, rapid breathing, stomachache, headache, fast heartbeat, muscle tension, fatigue, frequent urination, trouble sleeping, irrational anger, feelings of impending down, restlessness, panic or nervousness, and lack of situational awareness and loss of concentration, mostly due to its sedative effects. Therefore, individuals who experience stress and anxiety-related symptoms or disorders should try consuming chamomile tea. The herb does not have known side-effects. However, patients need to use the herb regularly in the long term in order to have satisfactory results.

Stress Research Paper: Conclusion

As a result, chamomile tea, brewed from dried flower heads, has been traditionally used for medicinal purposes. In this assignment, the potential benefits and impacts of chamomile tea have been presented. The paper also presented insights into the previous literature and researches. Accordingly, empirical and deductive findings revealed that chamomile tea should be recommended to individuals who suffer from stress, depression, or sleeping problems. After all, although chamomile tea does not have instant results as pharmaceutical stress and anxiety drugs, the herb can be considerably useful in terms of relieving the stress and anxiety for patients who consume the herb on a regular basis.

References

Chang, S.‐M. & Chen, C.‐H. ( 2016) 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 72( 2), 306– 315. doi: 10.1111/jan.12836

Legg, T. J. (2017, May 25). Stress and Anxiety. Retrieved April 15, 2020, from https://healthline.com/health/stress-and-anxiety

Mao, J. J., Xie, S. X., Keefe, J. R., Soeller, I., Li, Q. S., & Amsterdam, J. D. (2016). Long-term chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) treatment for generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized clinical trial☆. Phytomedicine, 23(14), 1735–1742.

McKay, D.L. and Blumberg, J.B. (2006), A Review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita L.). Phytother. Res., 20: 519-530.

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