Generic name: chamomile [ KAM-oh-meal ]
Drug class: Herbal products
What is chamomile?
Chamomile is an herb also known as Camomille, Blue Chamomile, Camomèle, Echte Kamille, Feldkamille, Fleur de Camomile, Kamillen, Kleine Kamille, Manzanilla, Matricaire, Matricaria chamomilla, Petite Camomille, Pin Heads, Sweet False Chamomile, and other names.
Chamomile is a common flavoring agent in foods and beverages, and other products such as mouthwash, soaps, and cosmetics. When used as a food product, chamomile is not likely to produce health benefits or side effects. When used as a medicinal product, chamomile may produce both desired and unwanted effects on the body.
Chamomile has been used in alternative medicine as a possibly effective aid in treating anxiety, upset stomach, colic (intestinal gas), or diarrhea. Chamomile may also be possibly effective in treating or preventing mouth ulcers caused by chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Chamomile may have been combined with other plants or extracts in a specific preparation to treat these conditions.
Chamomile has also been used to treat insomnia, gingivitis (gum disease), and skin irritation. However, research has shown that chamomile may not be effective in treating these conditions.
Other uses not proven with research have included hemorrhoids, vaginal infection, skin wounds, and common cold symptoms.
It is not certain whether chamomile is effective in treating any medical condition. Medicinal use of this product has not been approved by the FDA. Chamomile should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.
Chamomile is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.
Chamomile may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.
Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use chamomile if you have:
past or present cancer of the breast, ovary, or uterus; or
a history of endometriosis or uterine fibroids.
Ask a doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider if it is safe for you to use this product if you have:
pollen allergies (especially to ragweed, herbs, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, other plants).
It is not known whether chamomile will harm an unborn baby. Avoid using this product if you are pregnant.
Chamomile might make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using non hormonal birth control (condom, diaphragm with spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while using chamomile.
It is not known whether chamomile passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Avoid using this product if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I use chamomile?
When considering the use of herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.
If you choose to use chamomile, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.
Do not use different forms (tablets, liquid, tincture, teas, etc) of chamomile at the same time without medical advice. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose.
Call your doctor if the condition you are treating with chamomile does not improve, or if it gets worse while using this product.
If you need surgery, stop taking chamomile at least 2 weeks ahead of time.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra chamomile to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking chamomile?
Rinse with water if this product gets in your eyes. Chamomile can irritate the eyes.
Avoid using chamomile with other herbal/health supplements that can cause drowsiness. This includes 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), California poppy, catnip, gotu kola, Jamaican dogwood, kava, melatonin, St. John's wort, skullcap (or scullcap), valerian, yerba mansa, and others.
Chamomile side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Although not all side effects are known, chamomile is thought to be possibly safe when taken for a short period of time.
Stop using chamomile and call your healthcare provider at once if you have:
severe skin irritation (itching, rash, redness, swelling) after applying chamomile to the skin.
Common side effects may include:
mild skin rash, scaling, or itching.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect chamomile?
Taking this product with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking chamomile with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Do not take chamomile without medical advice if you are using a medication to treat any of the following conditions:
any type of infection (including HIV, malaria, or tuberculosis);
asthma or allergies;
high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a heart condition;
psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders; or
a psychiatric disorder.
Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with chamomile, especially:
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with chamomile, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More about chamomile
Related treatment guides
- Consult with a licensed healthcare professional before using any herbal/health supplement. Whether you are treated by a medical doctor or a practitioner trained in the use of natural medicines/supplements, make sure all your healthcare providers know about all of your medical conditions and treatments.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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