Chamomile has been widely used in children and adults for thousands of years for a variety of health conditions. Today, chamomile is used as a folk or traditional remedy for sleeplessness, anxiety, and gastrointestinal conditions such as upset stomach, gas, and diarrhea. It is also used topically for skin conditions and for mouth ulcers resulting from treatments related to cancer.
The flowering tops of the chamomile plant are used to make teas, liquid extracts, capsules, or tablets. The herb can also be applied to the skin as a cream or ointment, as well as being used as a mouth rinse.
Chamomile has not been well studied in people so there is little evidence to support its use for any condition.Some early studies point to chamomile’s possible benefits for certain skin conditions and for mouth ulcers caused by chemotherapy or radiation.In combination with other herbs, chamomile may be of some benefit for upset stomach, diarrhea in children, and for infants with colic.
Research funded by the National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine includes studies of chamomile for generalized anxiety disorder and abdominal pain caused by children’s bowel disorders.
There are reports of allergic reactions in people who have eaten or come into contact with chamomile products. Reactions can include skin rashes, throat swelling, shortness of breath, and anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction).People are more likely to experience allergic reactions to chamomile if they are allergic to related plants in the daisy family, which includes ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies.
Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help to ensure coordinated and safe care.
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