The flower of chamomile is dried and drunk as a tea or used topically as an extract.
Chamomile tea is said to reduce inflammation and fever, to act as a mild sedative, to relieve stomach cramps and indigestion, and to promote healing of gastric ulcers. Chamomile extract applied topically in a compress is said to soothe irritated skin. Mechanism is due to essential oil containing bisabolol constituents.
Chamomile is generally safe. It may interact with alcohol and sedatives (eg, barbiturates). Some people are allergic to pollen in chamomile products.
Chamomile may reduce the absorption of oral drugs. Chamomile may also increase the effects of anticoagulants and sedatives (including alcohol) and decrease the absorption of iron supplements.
Last full review/revision May 2009 by Ara DerMarderosian, PhD
Content last modified October 2010