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Chamomile

KAM-oh-mile

What are other names for this remedy?

Type of medicine: natural remedy

Scientific and common names: Matricaria chamomilla (German, Hungarian, wild, or genuine chamomile), Anthemis nobilis (English, Roman, garden, sweet, true chamomile)

What is chamomile?

There are two types of chamomile plants. One is an annual and the other is a slow-growing perennial. The flowering heads of both plants are collected and dried for use in teas and extracts.

What is it used for?

This remedy has been used to treat several conditions. Studies in humans or animals have not proved that this remedy is safe or effective for all uses. Before using this remedy for a serious condition, you should talk with your healthcare provider.

Chamomile has been taken by mouth to treat:

  • ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder)
  • Bronchitis
  • Common cold
  • Cough
  • Hay fever
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Motion sickness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Stomach and intestinal problems

Chamomile has been used on the skin to treat:

  • Gum irritation
  • Rectal and genital irritation
  • Skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, psoriasis, and acne
  • Wounds and burns

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve uses for natural remedies. The FDA does not inspect or regulate natural remedies the way they do prescription medicines.

How is it taken?

Chamomile comes in the form of dried flower heads, tea, liquid extract, capsules, and topical ointments or creams.

Chamomile is used in many skin and hair care products such as shampoos, lotions, and bath products.

Follow the directions printed on the product label or given by your healthcare provider. Do not swallow products intended for external use.

What if I overdose?

Symptoms of an acute overdose have not been reported.

What should I watch out for?

Chamomile has Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status from the FDA. However, do not use chamomile if:

  • You are allergic to ragweed, mugwort, marigolds, chrysanthemums, or daisies.
  • You have asthma.

If chamomile gets into your eyes, flush them with lots of cool water.

Chamomile may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive or operate machinery unless you are fully alert.

If you need emergency care, surgery, or dental work, tell the healthcare provider or dentist you are taking this remedy.

Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any natural remedy that you are using or thinking about using. If your provider does not tell you how to take it, follow the directions that come with the package. Do not take more or take it longer than recommended. Ask about anything you do not understand. Remember:

  • Natural remedies are not always safe.
  • You should not take them if you are pregnant or breast-feeding without your healthcare provider’s approval. They should not be taken by infants, children, or older adults without your provider’s approval.
  • They affect your body and may interact with prescription medicines that you take.
  • Natural remedies are not standardized and may be contaminated. They may have different strengths and effects.

What are the possible side effects?

Along with its desirable effects, this remedy may cause some unwanted side effects. Some side effects may be very serious. Some side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the remedy. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that continue or get worse.

Life-threatening (Report these to your healthcare provider right away. If you cannot reach your healthcare provider right away, get emergency medical care or call 911 for help): Allergic reaction (hives; itching; rash; trouble breathing; tightness in your chest; swelling of your lips, tongue, and throat).

Other: Drowsiness, dizziness, mild rash, vomiting.

What products might interact with this remedy?

When you take this remedy with other medicines, it can change the way the remedy or the medicines work. Vitamins and certain foods may also interact. Using these products together might cause harmful side effects. Before taking this remedy, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking:

  • Antianxiety medicines such as alprazolam (Xanax), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and oxazepam
  • Birth control pills, rings, patches, and implants and hormones such as conjugated estrogens (Premarin), estradiol (Estrace), medroxyprogesterone (Provera), and norethindrone (Aygestin, Camila, Jolivette, Micronor)
  • Cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune)
  • Natural remedies such as 5-HTP, California poppy, catnip, kava, St. John’s Wort, and valerian
  • Sleeping pills such as butabarbital (Butisol), flurazepam, phenobarbital, temazepam (Restoril), triazolam (Halcion), zaleplon (Sonata), and zolpidem (Ambien)

Do not drink alcohol while you are taking this remedy.

If you are not sure if your medicines might interact, ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider. Keep a list of all your medicines with you. List all the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Be sure that you tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all the products you are taking.


Keep all natural remedies and medicines out of the reach of children.

This advisory includes select information only. The information was obtained from scientific journals, study reports, and other documents. The author and publisher make no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the information. The advisory may not include all side effects associated with a remedy or interactions with other medicines. Nothing herein shall constitute a recommendation for the use of any remedy. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Medication Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2013-12-03
Last reviewed: 2013-12-03
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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