I've tried chamomile and it works fine, but if I really need to sleep and wake up refreshed I take some valerian root. Works like GANGBUSTERS, every time. I still haven't worked out the whole "get more sleep" component of paleo, so it is extremely helpful on nights when I'm keyed up and need to go to bed.
this is from Mountain Rose Herbs:
"Chamomile Flowers and Powder Profile Also known as
Matricaria recutita, Hungarian chamomile or wild chamomile, Camomilla, Camomille Allemande, Chamomile, Chamomilla recutita, Echte Kamille, Feldkamille, Fleur de Camomile, Kamillen, Kleine Kamille, Manzanilla, Matricaire, Matricaria recutita, Matricariae Flos, Pin Heads, Sweet False Chamomile, True Chamomile. Introduction
Chamomile is a low-growing relative of the sunflower native to Eastern Europe and now found around the world. It is especially abundant in Hungary, Croatia, and Serbia, although chamomile grown in Egypt has an exceptionally high content of essential oils. Chamomile was used as a medicine by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Its name derives from the Greek chamos (ground) and melos (apple), referring to its creeping habit and the apple scent of fresh blossoms. Extensive research has confirmed the plant's usefulness in treating minor abrasions, cuts, and scrapes, and as a sedative and sleep aid. In the US, chamomile is one of the most widely used herbal ingredients in teas as well as in cosmetic, health, and beauty aid products. The amount of chamomile imported into the US each year is between 750,000 and one million pounds, with an estimated 90% used in teas. In commerce, chamomile is often called German chamomile or Hungarian chamomile, which not to be confused with the rare, and more costly, Roman or English chamomile (Anthemis nobilis/Chamaemelum nobile) Constituents
Essential oil (bisabolol and chamazulene), apigenin, matricin. Parts Used
Flowers Typical Preparations
Baths, creams, infusions, teas and extracts. Summary
The traditional use of chamomile tea is to induce a deep sleep, an effect confirmed in a study of patients undergoing cardiac catheterization. Chamomile stops spasms in the smooth muscles lining the stomach and intestines, and contains chemicals that are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitic. One hint for best results: Always brew chamomile tea in a closed container, especially if you live at a high altitude. Precautions
Chamomile is in the Ragweed family and may react with those who have extreme sensitivities to the Ragweed family."
to be honest, i have used chamomile tea and essential oil most of my life primarily for relaxation. based on my own experience, i dont know that i would describe it as a "sleep aid" necessarily. i do know that when my kiddos were teething, i would give them chamomile tea diluted in a bottle and would often take the edge off their expression of discomfort. my mother did the same for me when i was a baby. i think there is usually something to be said for folk-wisdom.
For me, chamomile is an extremely positive, calming association. When I was a little girl chamomile was the tea of choice at my tea parties, and it was also prepared for me when I was very upset, had a nightmare or generally couldn't sleep (I've been an insomniac pretty much since infancy).
I discovered a couple years ago that just deeply inhaling the smell of chamomile could calm me down, even from the beginnings of a panic attack. Since then I've kept a sealed tea bag in my purse at all times, in case of emergency I can open it up and smell it as a calming aromatherapy. Or, if I have hot water, I can make tea.
for serious sleep needs, I go for melatonin, diphenhydramine (tylenol pm/benidryl) or ambien (rx). I used valerian a few times however I found it left me drowsy in the AM. But that's different for everyone.
It is generally safe, but this use is not backed by research according to the commission E monograph cached copy of english translation here Anecdotally it works best with regular consistent use.
There is a risk of developing an allergy, if you have allergies to pollen you might be susceptible to developing a reaction.
Personally I prefer Magnesium Citrate and when I need heavy guns Valerianwhich is supported by commission E findings.
I love it and my husband is a bad sleeper and it's helped him. I buy the traditional medicines brand of tea.
If I have an especially stressful meeting to go to sometimes I drink chamomile before and it seems to help me stay more level.
Chamomile tea is wonderful I believe. I also enjoy the taste. Like some people mentioned however, there is a possibility of allergy (that goes with anything though.) Bananas are also good sleep aids. Eat one an hour before bed and get into "relax mode" (no electronics, no running around, no chowing down, dark room, comfy sleep spot.) Always helps me.