Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD.
Matricaria recutita, Chamaemelum nobile
Other Common Name:
Parts of the plant used:
The flower heads.
How is it used?
Both species of Chamomile (Roman or perennial and German or annual) are usually employed as tea and have similar therapeutic applications, although their chemical components are not entirely the same. Chamomile extracts, capsules and tinctures are also available. Chamomile preparations are also used externally as poultices and eye drops.
What is it used for?
The two species of Chamomile have been used for a variety of ailments including: colic (especially in children), bloat, mild upper respiratory infections, premenstrual pain, anxiety and insomnia. Chamomile tea is also used to promote labor. Externally, Chamomile is used to treat sore and chapped nipples in nursing mothers, as well as minor skin infections and abrasions. Eye drops made from these herbs are also used for tired eyes and mild ocular infections.
Safety / Precautions
- Chamomile is included in the “Generally Regarded As Safe” (GRAS) list by the FDA.
- Do not ingest large amounts of chamomile tea during pregnancy, since some of the plant’s ingredients may cause uterine contractions.
- Alcohol present in some chamomile containing eyewashes may irritate the eyes.
- Highly concentrated hot teas may cause nausea and vomiting.
- People allergic to other plants belonging to the Daisy family, such as ragweed, elecampane and arnica for example, may be susceptible to cross-hypersensitivity with Chamomile.
- Asthmatic patients should employ chamomile tea with caution, especially if they are allergic to these plants.
- Chamomile may cause allergies either by direct contact with the plant, employing it as an eye wash, skin cream or drinking the tea.
- Enemas containing chamomile preparations may be dangerous if applied to patients during labor, due to possible allergic reactions.
- Chamomile may interfere with blood clotting, do not use together with aspirin, warfarin or other substances that possess anticoagulant (blood-thinning) action.
- Do not ingest Chamomile products concurrently with diazepam or other sedative medications, since this may increase the potency of the drugs.
Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with your health care professional first. Avoid self-medication and self-diagnosis: Always be on the safe side!