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Chamomile

By Melissa G. Marko, PhD, Senior Clinical Scientist, Nestle Nutrition ; Ara DerMarderosian, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Biology and Pharmacognosy, University of the Sciences

The daisy-like flower of this herb is dried and used as tea or in a capsule or extract.

Medicinal claims

People most often take chamomile as a mild sedative or antidepressant, and the tea is said to reduce inflammation and fever. People sometimes take chamomile by mouth to relieve stomach cramps and indigestion or apply a compress of chamomile extract to soothe irritated skin.

Possible side effects

Chamomile is generally considered safe. The most likely side effect is an allergic reaction, especially in people who are allergic to ragweed or sunflowers. Allergic reactions may include skin irritation, itchy eyes, sneezing, and runny nose. People very rarely have a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). In high doses, chamomile may lead to drowsiness, sedation, and vomiting.

Possible drug interactions

Chamomile may reduce the absorption of drugs taken by mouth. Chamomile may also increase the effects of drugs that prevent blood clots (anticoagulants) and sedatives (including alcohol) and decrease the absorption of iron supplements.

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