Chamomile has been a popular herbal medicine for centuries. In Rome, it was used to treat headaches, and in Egypt, people believed it could help cure a fever. In Medieval Europe, it was even sometimes used as an antidote against poison (to be clear, if you’re bitten by a snake, it’s unlikely chamomile flowers are going to save your life, so definitely head to the nearest hospital). But this humble herb does have some serious benefits, research suggests. Chamomile is known for its calming and relaxing properties, and, when it’s combined with dairy-free milk, it might help send you right to sleep.

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What is chamomile milk?

Chamomile milk is typically made by steeping chamomile flowers in warm milk. It’s often consumed before bedtime to help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. While some recipes call for cow’s milk, you can use any form of plant-based milk you like to make it.

Moon milk is a particularly popular choice. The milk, which has risen in popularity on social media in recent years, draws inspiration from traditional Ayurvedic practices. It is made by mixing non-dairy milk with herbs and spices, like turmeric or ashwagandha, which are known for their potential health benefits and calming effects.

Chamomile milk benefits

Drinking warm chamomile milk before bed may help you relax, feel calm, and help you to fall asleep. People have been drinking chamomile for centuries for this reason. “We’ve seen writings and recordings of people using chamomile as a treatment of sleep for hundreds if not thousands of years,” Eric Zhou, a faculty member in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, told Live Science.

That said, there isn’t much modern research to back this up. According to Live Science, several studies with chamomile capsules didn’t see any major improvements for people with insomnia.

However, in 2016, research on new mothers did find that those who drank chamomile tea every day for two weeks slept better. This could simply be that the act of sitting down with a cup of chamomile tea and believing that you’re doing something good for your body is relaxing and that in itself may help you sleep.

And there are plenty of other benefits that may come from regularly drinking chamomile. Some research has even indicated that chamomile may help prevent the growth of cancer, reduce inflammation, and lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.

A cup of warm milk is another age-old sleep remedy, and that’s because milk is high in tryptophan, an amino acid that increases serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a precursor to melatonin, one of the hormones that helps to regulate sleep. But you don’t have to drink dairy milk to get your dose of tryptophan. Plant-based milk alternatives like almond, soy, and oat milk also contain tryptophan, plus they all offer that same comforting warmth after they’ve been heated on the hob or in the microwave.

How to make chamomile milk: 5 vegan recipes

Drinking chamomile milk can become a soothing bedtime ritual, as it combines the benefits of chamomile and warm milk in one tasty drink. Below, we’ve gathered some of the best vegan recipes for you to try—we recommend whipping one up, sitting down with a good book, and letting your mind and your body relax. 

VegNews.chamomilelatte.wholeheartedeatsWhole Hearted Eats

1 Calming Chamomile Latte

This calming latte contains a tincture—made with a blend of holy basil, skullcap, lemon balm, oat straw, ashwagandha, and lavender—that has been designed to help people cope with stress. Combine it with chamomile, cinnamon, maple syrup, and ginger for an antioxidant-packed, relaxing bedtime beverage.
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VegNews.chamomileflowerberrymoonmilk.mytinylagunakitchenMy Tiny Laguna Kitchen

2 Chamomile Flower Berry Moon Milk

This caffeine-free, sugar-free moon milk concoction blends plant-based milk, berry powder, chamomile, and cornflowers for a calming, nourishing bedtime drink, perfect for a soothing evening wind-down.
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VegNews.chamomilegoldenmilklatte.lovecheflauraLove Chef Laura

3 CBD Chamomile Golden Milk Latte

This turmeric coconut latte, infused with soothing chamomile tea, is an anti-stress elixir. It’s sweetened with honey, but you can opt for maple syrup for a vegan version. For an extra dose of relaxation, consider adding CBD—find out more about the benefits of the cannabinoid here.
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VegNews.chamomileicedlatte.thefirstmessThe First Mess

4 Chamomile Iced Latte With Vanilla

If it’s too hot for a warm evening drink, opt for this cool chamomile dairy-free iced latte with vanilla instead. It’s refreshing, simple to make, and may help you find some calm and tranquility when things get stressful.
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VegNews.icedchamomilematchalatte.frommybowlFrom My Bowl

5 Chamomile Matcha Iced Latte

This refreshing iced latte combines chamomile, non-dairy milk, and agave with matcha powder (so note that this isn’t one to enjoy right before bed as matcha contains caffeine). The powdered green tea is associated with several health benefits and may help to enhance your mood and well-being. Find out more about matcha here.
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