Report on Chamomile Side Effects and Usage


Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 – Contraindications: Pregnancy and breast-feeding. Chamomile is considered to be an abortifacient (a substance that induces abortion). Chamomile may cause adverse reactions in individuals who are allergic to ragweed pollen, asters, chrysanthemums, celery, or have hayfever.

Warning 2 – Anticoagulants: Chamomile contains coumarin, which can interfere with the actions of anticoagulants/blood thinners:

  • Ardeparin (Normiflo),
  • Dalteparin (Fragmin),
  • Danaparoid (Orgaran),
  • Enoxaparin (Lovenox),
  • Heparin, or
  • Warfarin (Coumadin),
  • Another blood thinner

Talk to your doctor before using chamomile if you are using any prescription drug.

Warning 3 – Sedative/hypnotics: This herb increases the effects of sedatives.

Used as a natural health remedy: Chamomile is used internally for the following benefits and conditions:

  • Antispasmodic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiviral (Essential oil) against herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2)
  • Anxiety
  • Cholesterol-lowering effects
  • GI inflammatory disease
  • GI spasms
  • Immune system enhancer
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Migraine and tension headaches
  • Muscle twitches
  • Panic attacks
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Stomach cramps
  • Stomach flu
  • Ulcers

Chamomile is used externally for:

  • Burns
  • Chickenpox
  • Diaper rash
  • Eczema
  • Eye bags and dark circles
  • Itching
  • Lighten skin
  • Mucous membrane inflammation
  • Psoriasis
  • Scrapes
  • Skin inflammation
  • Speed healing time of wounds

Used as a mouthwash, chamomile has been found to prevent mouth sores associated with radiation and chemotherapy.

A recent clinical study of colostomy patients found that a twice-a-day chamomile compress was as effective as hydrocortisone 1% ointment on skin lesions.

Side Effects of Chamomile

Side effects are extremely rare from the typical use of Chamomile although an allergic reaction is possible in those who are allergic to ragweed pollen or have hayfever.

  1. Drowsiness (Use caution if driving or operating machinery)

Other side effects may also occur when using Chamomile. (See form below)

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

Return to the Herb List.

For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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