What is chamomile?

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Chamomile: Overview

Chamomile is an herb that people have used for centuries. It is available in many forms. They include chamomile tea, dietary supplements, and products put on the skin or used in a diffuser.

What are some cautions about chamomile?

Side effects are uncommon but may include nausea, dizziness, or mild-to-severe allergic reactions. If you are allergic to plants like ragweed, you may not be able to use chamomile. Chamomile may interfere with medicines like cyclosporin or warfarin (a blood thinner).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way it regulates medicine. A dietary supplement can be sold with limited or no research on how well it works.

Always tell your doctor if you are using a dietary supplement or if you are thinking about combining a dietary supplement with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on a dietary supplement. This is especially important if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

When using dietary supplements, keep in mind the following:

  • Like conventional medicines, dietary supplements may cause side effects, trigger allergic reactions, or interact with prescription and nonprescription medicines or other supplements you might be taking. A side effect or interaction with another medicine or supplement may make other health conditions worse.
  • The way dietary supplements are manufactured may not be standardized. Because of this, how well they work or any side effects they cause may differ among brands or even within different lots of the same brand. The form of supplement that you buy in health food or grocery stores may not be the same as the form used in research.
  • Other than for vitamins and minerals, the long-term effects of most dietary supplements are not known.

Why is chamomile used?

Some people drink chamomile tea for an upset stomach, sleeping problems, or menstrual pain. Others take chamomile supplements for anxiety. Or they use creams, gels, and ointments with chamomile for skin conditions.

Limited studies have been done on chamomile. But so far there isn't clear proof that taking chamomile helps with these or other health problems.

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