No. Chamomile does not contain caffeine.
It’s made from steeping the small flower heads of either the German or Roman chamomile varieties in hot water. It contains no caffeine which is one reason it’s a popular evening drink because it helps encourage sleep.
There’s always the possibility of trace elements of caffeine in chamomile leaves. This is due to the way that tea is processed in factories. Trace contamination can happen but any caffeine in the chamomile would likely be a very small amount.
What’s interesting is that brewing and steeping methods can increase the amount of caffeine in a cup of tea. That won’t be a factor in chamomile but it’s worth remembering the next time you’re preparing something like Earl Grey or English breakfast. Both of which contains higher levels of caffeine. Assam tea commonly used in chai contains caffeine, too. The Spruce writes that even things like a higher water temperature or using teabags can influence how strong the caffeine content is.
Chamomile is best known for its sleep-inducing qualities. Generally, you drink it in the evening or about 45-minutes before bed. It’s believed to reduce anxiety and to aid in relaxation thanks to an antioxidant called apigenin. When this binds to receptors in the brain, it causes sleepiness. (insider)
For some people, chamomile’s effect on their sleep routine may be a placebo. Placebos happen when you believe something works even when it doesn’t (but it seems to work for you). We believe in chamomile’s sleep benefits but we do also suspect there’s an element of a placebo, too. We’ve found that when we don’t have chamomile before bed, we get slightly anxious that we won’t sleep as well.
It’s also why we were hesitant to drink chamomile tea in the morning to relax. Several people have suggested it. Sleep inducing or not, we’re not sure we want to risk falling asleep at work!
Which Teas Contain Caffeine?
Sometimes we need that energy boost and only caffeine can cut it. Generally, black teas contain the most caffeine. We’ve already mentioned Earl Grey and English Breakfast. Yerba Mate tea is a herbal tea native to South America. It contains more caffeine than almost any other type.
Caffeine content has several variables. We’ve briefly mentioned a few already: trace contamination, time spent steeping or brewing the tea and even water temperature. Other differences include where the tea leaves have come from, the grade of the leaves, the altitude of where they were grown, and even what’s gone into the soil.
Certainly, you should be pretty safe staying caffeine-free with chamomile.
What is Caffeine?
It’s a stimulant. It’s an alkaloid commonly found in coffee beans, cacao beans and tea leaves. It stimulates the central nervous system helping people to feel more awake or more focused and less tired. According to Australia’s Alcohol and Drug Foundation, it speeds up messages sent between the body and brain. You may be surprised to read that caffeine is classed as a drug and is widely known to be the world’s most widely used psychoactive drug.