Women over the age of 65 who regularly drink the tea seem to have a 29 per cent reduced risk of premature death compared to non-drinkers.
Researchers discovered the protective qualities of the tea when they analysed the lives and habits of 1,677 Mexican-American men and women living in the US.
After adjusting for health problems, demographics and healthy behaviours, chamomile tea drinking was the one remaining factor that seemed to be having an effect on longevity. In all, 14 per cent of the participants were regularly drinking the tea.
Strangely, similar benefits weren't seen in men, although it may be because they weren't drinking as much chamomile tea. The women may also be more reliant on traditional folk remedies, researchers from the University of Texas said.
The researchers aren't sure why the tea should help people live longer. Other studies have suggested the tea helps lower cholesterol, and is a natural antioxidant, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory.
(Source: The Gerontologist, 2015; published online April 29, 2015: doi: 10.1093/geront/gnv051)