Chamomile has been used as a traditional medicine for thousands of years to calm anxiety and settle stomachs. In the U.S., chamomile is best known as an ingredient in herbal tea.
Known since Roman times for its medicinal properties, chamomile has been used as an antispasmodic and sedative in folk treatment of digestive and rheumatic disorders.
Two plants each provide the product known as chamomile. Matricaria chamomilla is also known as German chamomile, Hungarian chamomile, pin heads, chamomilla, wild chamomile, sweet false chamomile, and genuine chamomile. Anthemis nobilis is also known as English or Roman chamomile, ground apple, whig plant, and common chamomile.
- Chamomile has been used orally to reduce flatulence and/or diarrhea due to a nervous stomach, to reduce stomach upset, to treat travel sickness, to produce mild sedation, to reduce restlessness and irritability, to treat the common cold, to treat fevers, to reduce cough, for liver and gallbladder complaints, and to increase appetite.
- Chamomile tea has been used to treat parasitic worm infections and as hair color and conditioner.
- The volatile oil has been used to flavor cigarette tobacco.
- Chamomile has been utilized as a skin wash to clean wounds and ulcers, and to increase the sloughing of necrotic tissue and promote granulation and proper healing.
- It also has been reported to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, astringent, and deodorant properties.
- Various formulations of chamomile have been used to treat colic, cystitis, fever, flatulence, and vomiting.
- Chamomile and other herbal medicines has been shown to ease upset stomach, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting.
- Chamomile is applied to the skin and mucous membrane for inflammations and skin diseases.
- It can be inhaled for sore throats, used in baths to soothe anal or genital inflammation, and used internally for stomach and intestinal spasms and inflammatory diseases. However, clinical proof supporting any of these uses of chamomile is limited.
- Do not use if you are allergic to ragweed pollens. Use of the tea and essential oil has resulted in anaphylactic shock, contact dermatitis, and other severe allergic reactions. Persons who are allergic to asters, chrysanthemums, ragweed, and other members of the Asteraceae daisy family should avoid chamomile.
- Poorly documented adverse reactions (eg, affects on menstrual cycle, reputed abortive effects, uterine stimulant). Avoid use during pregnancy.
- No clinical data are available on the use of chamomile during lactation.
- Possible interactions have been reported with warfarin or cyclosporine. Because warfarin and cyclosporine have a narrow therapeutic index, patients taking either of these medications in more than modest amounts should avoid using chamomile at the same time.
- No interactions caused by sedative effects or antispasmodic properties of chamomile have been reported.
Source: WebMD, “Chamomile” web article-Reviewed by David Kiefer, MD on November 03, 2014, www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-chamomile?page=2