Cyclical breast pain, medically known as mastalgia, is experienced by almost 70% of menstruating women.1 Because of its high prevalence, there is a pressing need for safe and side effect-free treatments that can not only relieve the pain, but also prevent it from negatively affecting women's lives.
Chamomile happens to be naturally rich in analgesic and anti-inflammatory compounds. In a handful of studies, preparations of chamomile, both on its own as well as with other herbs, have shown to provide relief from mastalgia.2 However, the studies lacked proper scaling systems to corroborate these benefits.
The purpose of this clinical trial was to evaluate the effectiveness of a standardized chamomile extract on managing cyclic mastalgia pain.
Iranian researchers from Mashhad University of Medical Sciences conducted this trial on 60 women with mastalgia. Their findings were published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
For eight weeks, half of the women underwent treatment with chamomile extract, while the other half received the placebo extract (distilled water). The dosage consisted of consuming five drops of the extracts (mixed with a glass of warm water), three times a day.
The main measured outcomes with the visual analogue scale (VAS) and the Breast Pain Chart included breast pain severity.
Researchers observed a significant reduction in breast pain scores in women taking chamomile extract (a decrease from 36.45 to 21.86 in the chamomile group versus 39.42 to 33.31 in the placebo group).
The small reduction of symptoms among the placebo group can most probably be attributed to the effects. No participant reported serious side effects.
What Does this Mean?
This study provides further evidence of chamomile's effects on relieving breast pain.
Authors of the trial encourage other studies on chamomile for mastalgia, particularly those comparing its effects to those of pharmacological treatments commonly prescribed for breast pain.
- Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Effectiveness of Marticaria chamomilla (chamomile) extract on pin control of cyclic amstalgia: a double-blind randomized controlled trial, 2017
- Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynaecology. (2001). Cyclical mastalgia: prevalence and associated health and behavioral factors. Retrieved February 9, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11446156/
- Complementary Therapy Clinical Practice. (2014). Comparison of the effects of Matricaria chamomila (Chamomile) extract and mefenamic acid on the intensity of premenstrual syndrome. Retrieved February 9, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24439651/