- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Generic Name: chamomile
Brand and Other Names: chamomilla recutita, German chamomile, matricaria chamomilla, matricaria recutita, pin heads, Roman chamomile, wild chamomile
Drug Class: Herbals
What is chamomile, and what is it used for?
Chamomile is a medicinal herb that has been consumed as tea by humans since ancient times. Chamomile preparations have been commonly used for many ailments including gastrointestinal disorders, inflammation, hay fever, menstrual disorders, mouth ulcers, wounds and muscle spasms. Chamomile preparations are usually made from two common varieties, German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).
Chamomile tea is made from dried chamomile flower powder and the medicinal ingredients are extracted from the dried flowers for various preparations such as tincture, lotions and poultices. The whole plant is used to make herbal beers and chamomile essential oils are used for aromatherapy and for external use in skin care and cosmetic preparations. Inhalation of vaporized chamomile oil is believed to relieve anxiety and depression.
Chamomile plant contains volatile oils and chemical compounds such as flavonoids and terpenoids, which contribute to its medicinal properties. These phytochemicals have anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anti-allergic, antimicrobial, anticancer and antioxidant properties. In particular, one of the flavonoids, apigenin has anti-inflammatory effects comparable to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Further research with randomized controlled clinical trials is required to establish chamomile’s safety and efficacy. Limited studies of chamomile show promising effects in many of the following conditions:
- Inflammations of skin and mucous membranes, including chemotherapy-induced mucus inflammation (mucositis)
- Inflammatory conditions
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Prostate cancer
- Colic and diarrhea in children
- Gastrointestinal conditions
- Common cold, sore throat, and hay fever
- Wound healing
- Anxiety and depression
- General health and to boost immunity
- Improving the quality of life in cancer patients
- Do not take chamomile if you are hypersensitive to Asteraceae/Compositae family of plants including chamomile, chrysanthemums, daisies, marigolds and ragweed
- Do not take chamomile if you have allergic conditions such as asthma
- Chamomile may increase anticoagulant properties of other medications; use with caution
What are the side effects of chamomile?
Common side effects of chamomile include:
- Hypersensitivity reactions
- Contact dermatitis
- Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
- Exacerbation of eye inflammation with eye washing
- Vomiting if taken in large doses
This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug.
Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the dosages of chamomile?
There isn’t an established standard dose of chamomile.
- Swish orally and swallow three times daily; use 10-15 drops liquid extract/100 ml warm water
- 1 mL orally three times daily (Iberogast, Medical Futures, Inc)
Dried flower heads
- 2-8 g orally three times daily
- 1 cup orally three times daily to four times daily; 3 g dried flower heads/150 ml water
- 1-4 ml orally three times daily; 1:1 in 45% alcohol
- Apply 3-10% ointment/gel as needed
- Chamomile is not known to produce any serious adverse effects.
- Overdose may cause drowsiness and vomiting. In case of overdose, discontinue chamomile and hydrate well.
What drugs interact with chamomile?
Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.
- Chamomile could interact with:
The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.
It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information.
Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
What else should I know about chamomile?
- Chamomile is generally considered safe, however, there is little data on its long-term use; use with caution
- Seek the medical help of Poison Control if you have hypersensitivity reactions
- Do not apply close to the eyes if you are using topical application of chamomile
- Check with your doctor before taking chamomile if you have kidney or liver function impairment
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Chamomile is a medicinal herb commonly used for many ailments including gastrointestinal disorders, inflammation, hay fever, menstrual disorders, mouth ulcers, wounds and muscle spasms. Common side effects of chamomile include hypersensitivity reactions, contact dermatitis, severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), exacerbation of eye inflammation with eye washing, and vomiting if taken in large doses. Do not take chamomile if you have allergic conditions such as asthma. Chamomile may increase anticoagulant properties of other medications. Avoid chamomile use in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
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