The Benefits of Chamomile

What You Need to Know About Chamomile

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Chamomile is a flowering plant in the daisy family. It is native to Europe and Asia. The flowers are used medicinally.

Chamomile comes in capsule, liquid, and tea form.

Other names: Matricaria recutita, German chamomile, true chamomile, Hungarian chamomile

Uses for Chamomile

Chamomile has a long history of use in Europe as an alternative medicine for digestive ailments. The active constituents of chamomile are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and ease spasm and discomfort in the digestive tract.


Chamomile is part of the Asteraceae plant family, which includes ragweed and chrysanthemum, so people with allergies may react when they use chamomile either internally or topically. Call your doctor if you experience vomiting, skin irritation, allergic reactions (chest tightness, wheezing, hives, rash, itching) after chamomile use.

Chamomile contains coumarin, a naturally-occurring compound with anticoagulant or blood-thinning effects. It should not be combined with warfarin or other medications or supplements that have the same effect or be used by people with bleeding disorders.

In the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Montreal doctors described the case of a 70-year-old woman who developed severe internal bleeding after drinking plenty of chamomile tea for a sore throat and using chamomile skin lotion. The woman was being treated with the drug warfarin for a heart condition. It’s believed that the chamomile tea (and possibly the lotion) acted synergistically with the warfarin to cause bleeding. 

It shouldn't be used two weeks before or after surgery.

Supplements haven't been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label. Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications have not been established. You can also get tips on using supplements here.

Using Chamomile for Health

Due to a lack of supporting research, it's too soon to recommend chamomile for any condition. If you're considering using it, talk with your primary care provider first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

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Article Sources
  • Canadian Medical Association Journal, April 25, 2006.