People use German chamomile for diarrhea, indigestion (dyspepsia), anxiety, and excessive crying in infants (colic). Some people also use German chamomile for insomnia, mouth sores, hemorrhoids, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
In foods and beverages, German chamomile is used as flavoring.
In manufacturing, German chamomile is used in cosmetics, soaps, and mouthwashes.
How does it work ?
German chamomile might reduce swelling by slowing the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and histamines. These chemicals are usually released to create a swelling response in the body.
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Possibly Effective for
- Diarrhea. Taking a product containing apple pectin and German chamomile (Diarrhoesan, Dr. Loges + Co. GmbH) for 1-3 days seems to reduce diarrhea in children 6 months to 6 years old.
- Indigestion (dyspepsia). Taking certain combination products (Iberogast; STW-5-S) containing German chamomile and other ingredients seems to improve symptoms of heartburn.
- A type of persistent anxiety marked by exaggerated worry and tension (generalized anxiety disorder or GAD). Research suggests that taking capsules containing 220-1110 mg of German chamomile extract daily for 8 weeks reduces anxiety and depression in adults with generalized anxiety disorder.
Possibly Ineffective for
- Skin damage caused by radiation therapy (radiation dermatitis). Applying German chamomile cream to the skin does not seem to prevent skin irritation caused by cancer radiation therapy.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis). Some research shows that applying a cream containing 2% German chamomile extract (Kamillosan, Asta Medica AG) to the skin improves inflamed or irritated skin. However, other research shows that applying a cream containing 10% German chamomile extract does not improve inflamed or irritated skin.
- Excessive crying in infants (colic). Some research shows that giving a specific multi-ingredient product containing fennel, lemon balm, and German chamomile (ColiMil by Milte Italia SPA) to breast-fed infants with colic twice daily for a week reduces crying time. Other research shows that giving infants a tea preparation containing German chamomile, vervain, licorice, fennel, and lemon balm (Calma-Bebi by Bonomelli) up to three times per day increases the number of infants for whom colic resolves.
- Common cold. Early research suggests that dissolving a German chamomile product (Kneipp Kamillen-Konzentrat, Kneipp Werke) in hot water and inhaling the steam for 10 minutes reduces common cold symptoms.
- Hemorrhoids. Early research shows that applying German chamomile ointment (Kamillosan, Asta Medica AG) together with standard treatment improves bleeding, itching, and burning in people with hemorrhoids.
- Insomnia. Research shows that taking German chamomile twice daily for 28 days does not improve sleeping problems in people with insomnia.
- Swelling (inflammation) and sores inside the mouth (oral mucositis). Early research shows that using German chamomile mouth rinses might help prevent or treat sores in the mouth caused by radiation therapy, some types of chemotherapy, or stem cell transplants.
- Skin breakdown around a stoma (peristomal lesions). . Early research shows that applying a German chamomile compress to areas of skin breakdown around colostomy appliances decreases the amount of time needed for skin lesions to heal by about 5 to 6 days compared with applying 1% hydrocortisone cream.
- Loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence). Early research shows that applying oil infused with German chamomile to the skin above the pubic area or near the anus nightly for 6 weeks may reduce episodes of uncontrolled urination in children.
- Wound healing. Research shows that applying a German chamomile product (Kamille Spitzner, W. Spitzner Arzneimittelfabrik GmbH) to wounds for 14 days reduces wound size after 4 days of treatment but does not affect wound healing approximately 3 weeks after tattoo removal.
- A mild form of gum disease (gingivitis).
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Gas (flatulence).
- Hay fever.
- Cancer of the white blood cells (leukemia).
- Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea).
- Swelling (inflammation) of the nasal cavity and sinuses (rhinosinusitis).
- Travelers' diarrhea.
- Other conditions.
When applied to the skin: German chamomile is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin. It can cause allergic skin reactions. When applied to the skin near the eyes, German chamomile may cause eye irritation.
When used as a mouthwash: German chamomile is POSSIBLY SAFE when used as a mouthwash. It can cause nausea and burning in the mouth.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Children: German chamomile is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin as a medicine, short-term. Early research shows that several products containing German chamomile are safe in infants when taken by mouth for up to one week. Early research also shows that oil containing German chamomile is safe in children and teenagers when applied to the skin nightly for up to 6 weeks.
Allergies to ragweed or related plants: German chamomile may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family of plants. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many other herbs.
Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: German chamomile might act like estrogen in the body. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use German chamomile.
Surgery: German chamomile might interact with anesthesia for surgery. Stop using German chamomile at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs) interacts with GERMAN CHAMOMILE
Some birth control pills contain estrogen. German chamomile might have some of the same effects as estrogen. But German chamomile isn't as strong as the estrogen in birth control pills. Taking German chamomile along with birth control pills might decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. If you take birth control pills along with German chamomile, use an additional form of birth control such as a condom.
Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.
Estrogens interacts with GERMAN CHAMOMILE
Large amounts of German chamomile might have some of the same effects as estrogen. But large amounts of German chamomile aren't as strong as estrogen pills. Taking German chamomile along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.
Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates) interacts with GERMAN CHAMOMILE
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.
German chamomile might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking German chamomile along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking German chamomile, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.
Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.
Sedative medications (Benzodiazepines) interacts with GERMAN CHAMOMILE
German chamomile might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Drugs that cause sleepiness and drowsiness are called sedatives. Taking German chamomile along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
Some of these sedative medications include alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), midazolam (Versed), temazepam (Restoril), triazolam (Halcion), and others.
Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with GERMAN CHAMOMILE
German chamomile might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking German chamomile along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
Some sedative medications include pentobarbital (Nembutal), phenobarbital (Luminal), secobarbital (Seconal), fentanyl (Duragesic, Sublimaze), morphine, zolpidem (Ambien), and others.
Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) interacts with GERMAN CHAMOMILE
Some types of cancer are affected by hormones in the body. Estrogen-sensitive cancers are cancers that are affected by estrogen levels in the body. Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) is used to help treat and prevent these types of cancer. German chamomile seems to also affect estrogen levels in the body. By affecting estrogen in the body, German chamomile might decrease the effectiveness of tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Do not take German chamomile if you are taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex).
Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with GERMAN CHAMOMILE
Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. German chamomile might increase the effects of warfarin (Coumadin). Taking German chamomile and warfarin (Coumadin) together might slow blood clotting too much and cause bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.
Be cautious with this combination
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates) interacts with GERMAN CHAMOMILE
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.
German chamomile might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking German chamomile along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of these medications. Before taking German chamomile, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.
Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), haloperidol (Haldol), ondansetron (Zofran), propranolol (Inderal), theophylline (Theo-Dur, others), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, others), and others.
Be watchful with this combination
- For indigestion (dyspepsia): 1 mL of a specific product containing licorice, milk thistle, peppermint leaf, German chamomile, caraway, celandine, angelica, lemon balm, and clown's mustard plant (Iberogast; Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) has been taken three times daily for 4 weeks. Also, 1 mL of another specific product containing licorice, milk thistle, peppermint leaf, German chamomile, caraway, celandine, angelica, and lemon balm (STW-5-S, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) has been taken three times daily for 4 weeks. In addition, 1 mL of a specific product containing clown's mustard plant, German chamomile, peppermint, caraway, licorice, and lemon balm (STW 5-II, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) has been taken three times daily for up to 12 weeks.
- For a type of persistent anxiety marked by exaggerated worry and tension (generalized anxiety disorder or GAD): Capsules containing 220-1100 mg of German chamomile extract have been taken daily for 8 weeks.
- For diarrhea: A specific product (Diarrhoesan, Dr. Loges + Co. GmbH) containing apple pectin and German chamomile extract has been used for 1-3 days in children 6 months to 6 years old.
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