German Chamomile

Botanicals

18/Description

About

German chamomile is an herb that is native to southern and eastern Europe. The herb smells slightly like apple, and is popular throughout the world. The name "chamomile" is Greek for "Earth apple". Do not confuse German chamomile with Roman chamomile.

People take German chamomile by mouth for intestinal gas, travel sickness, stuffy nose, hay fever, diarrhea, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), fibromyalgia, anxiety, restlessness, and trouble sleeping. It is also taken by mouth for stomach and intestinal spasms, stomach and intestinal inflammation, stomach ulcers, colic, indigestion, and menstrual cramps.

Some people apply German chamomile directly to the skin for hemorrhoids; breast soreness; leg ulcers; pressure ulcers; allergic skin irritation; and bacterial skin diseases, including those of the mouth and gums. It is also used on the skin for treating or preventing damage to the inside of the mouth caused by chemotherapy or radiation; to treat skin breakdown around colostomy appliances, and skin rash.

A form of German chamomile that can be inhaled is used to treat inflammation (swelling) and irritation of the respiratory tract and the common cold.

In foods and beverages, German chamomile is used as flavoring.

In manufacturing, German chamomile is used in cosmetics, soaps, and mouthwashes.

How it works

German chamomile contains chemicals that seem to promote relaxation and reduce swelling (inflammation).

Researchers aren't sure which chemicals in German chamomile might cause relaxation.

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.

Effectiveness

Possibly Effective
Anxiety

Research suggests that taking capsules containing 220 to 1100 mg of 220-1110 mg of German chamomile extract daily for 8 weeks reduces anxiety and depression in adults with generalized anxiety disorder.

Colic

Research shows that a specific product containing fennel, lemon balm, and German chamomile (ColiMil, Milte Italia SPA), taken twice daily for one week, reduces crying in breast-fed infants with colic. Other research shows that a specific herbal tea (Calma-Bebi, Bonomelli, Dolzago, Italy) containing German chamomile, vervain, licorice, fennel, and lemon balm, taken up to three times daily after each episode of colic for 7 days, helps eliminate colic in some infants. However, it doesn't seem to reduce the number of nighttime awakenings.

Diarrhea

Taking a product containing apple pectin and German chamomile (Diarrhoesan, Dr. Loges + Co. GmbH, Winsen, Germany) for 1-3 days seems to reduce diarrhea in children 6 months to 6 years old.

Heartburn (dyspepsia)

Research suggests that taking two specific combination products containing German chamomile and other ingredients (Iberogast, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH; STW-5-S, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) improves symptoms of heartburn. Also, using another combination product containing German chamomile and other ingredients (STW 5-II, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) improves heartburn by 40% when compared to a placebo treatment.

Concerns

Likely safe

German chamomile is LIKELY SAFE when taken in amounts found in food. In fact, it has "Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)" status in the U.S

Possibly safe

German chamomile is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth as a medicine for short periods of time (up to 8 weeks). German chamomile has also been applied to the skin of adults for short periods of time. The long-term safety of German chamomile is unknown. German chamomile can cause allergic reactions in some people when taken by mouth. It is in the same plant family as ragweed, marigolds, daisies, and other related herbs.When applied to the skin, German chamomile can cause allergic skin reactions. When applied near the eyes, German chamomile may cause eye irritation.

18/Warnings

Warnings

Children: German chamomile isPOSSIBLY SAFEwhen taken by mouth appropriately, short-term. Early research shows that several products containing German chamomile are safe in infants when used for up to one week.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking German chamomile if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

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 and should not be used 2 weeks before surgery.

Interactions

Always consult with your doctor.
Moderate
Tamoxifen (Nolvadex)

Some birth control pills contain estrogen. German chamomile might have some of the same effects as estrogen. However, 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.Large amounts of German chamomile might have some of the same effects as estrogen. However, 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.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 nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), ibuprofen (Motrin), meloxicam (Mobic), and piroxicam (Feldene); celecoxib (Celebrex); amitriptyline (Elavil); warfarin (Coumadin); glipizide (Glucotrol); losartan (Cozaar); and others.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 tricyclic antidepressants such as imipramine (Tofranil) and amitriptyline (Elavil); antipsychotics such as haloperidol (Haldol), risperidone (Risperdal), and chlorpromazine (Thorazine); beta-blockers such as propranolol (Inderal), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), and carvedilol (Coreg); tamoxifen (Nolvadex); and others.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.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.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.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)

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.

The information provided on this page is for reference purposes and is not meant to be used as a medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with a medical professional. The content on this page has been provided with thanks by RxList.com