Description of Chamomile:
Chamomile is a dietary supplement popular for a variety of uses including sleep problems, anxiety, digestive upset, skin infections, wound healing, colic and diaper rash. German chamomile (matricaria recutita) is the focus of most scientific research and is available almost everywhere except for England where Roman chamomile (chamaemelum nobile) is popular. In North America chamomile is most often found prepared as an herbal tea to aid in sleep. In general, not enough reliable scientific research has been conducted to support any of the many common uses of chamomile.
How to Take Chamomile:
Chamomile is available as capsules, liquid extracts, tinctures, teas, and topical creams, among other preparations.
Dosage Guidelines for Chamomile:
You should always read the product label for dosing instructions and consult a healthcare provider if necessary.
For adults, the recommended doses are:
- Capsules: 400 to 1600 mg in divided doses daily
- Liquid extract: 1 to 4 ml three times daily
- Tincture: 15 ml three to four times daily
- Tea: 1 to 4 cups of tea per day
There is not enough scientific evidence to recommend use of chamomile in children.
Who Shouldn’t Take Chamomile:
The following groups of people should avoid the use of chamomile:
- those with allergies to plants in the daisy family such as aster, chrysanthemum, ragweed, marigold and daisy
- those with bleeding disorders and those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding
- pregnant and nursing women (chamomile may act as a uterine stimulant or lead to abortion)
Medication Interactions With Chamomile:
In general, more research is needed to fully evaluate medication interactions for chamomile. There are a number of potential interactions with medications and other dietary supplements. Before using chamomile you should consult with a medical professional about potential interactions with other products you are using.
Some common interactive effects include:
- drowsiness when combined with benzodiazepines, barbituates, narcotics, some antidepressants, and alcohol
- increased risk of bleeding if combined with blood thinners, ibuprofen, and naproxen
- risk if combined with medications that affect blood sugar or blood pressure
Given the potential for drowsiness, it is not recommended to drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how chamomile affects you.
Side Effects of Chamomile:
Reported side effects of using chamomile include:
- serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis, throat swelling, and shortness of breath
- skin allergic reactions such as eczema
- vomiting when taken in large doses
Risks Associated with Chamomile:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the production of herbs and supplements. Most herbs and supplements are not thoroughly tested, and there is no guarantee regarding the ingredients or safety of the products.
Although a number of potential side effects and interactions are presented here, the risks associated with chamomile have not been adequately studied.
Other supplements for social anxiety disorder:
National Center for Complementary and Alernative Medicine. Chamomile. Accessed September 5, 2008.
Medline Plus. Chamomile. Accessed September 5, 2008.