Chamomile is an herb that people have used for centuries. It is available in many forms. They include chamomile tea, dietary supplements, and products put on the skin or used in a diffuser.
Why It Is Used
Some people drink chamomile tea for an upset stomach, sleeping problems, or menstrual pain. Others take chamomile supplements for anxiety. Or they use creams, gels, and ointments with chamomile for skin conditions.
Limited studies have been done on chamomile. But so far there isn't clear proof that taking chamomile helps with these or other health problems.
Side effects are uncommon but may include nausea, dizziness, or mild-to-severe allergic reactions. If you are allergic to plants like ragweed, you may not be able to use chamomile. Chamomile may interfere with medicines like cyclosporin or warfarin (a blood thinner).
The Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD), within the Health Products and Food Branch of Health Canada, regulates natural health products in Canada. Natural health products, including chamomile, must be reviewed and approved by the NNHPD before they can be sold in Canada.
Always tell your doctor if you are using a natural health product or if you are thinking about combining a natural health product with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on a natural health product. This is especially important if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
When using natural health products, keep in mind the following:
- Like conventional medicines, natural health products may cause side effects, trigger allergic reactions, or interact with prescription and non-prescription medicines or other natural health products you might be taking. A side effect or interaction with another medicine or natural health product may make other health conditions worse.
- The way natural health products are manufactured may not be standardized. Because of this, how well they work or any side effects they cause may differ among brands or even within different lots of the same brand. The form of natural health product that you buy in health food or grocery stores may not be the same as the form used in research.
- Other than for vitamins and minerals, the long-term effects of most dietary natural health products are not known.
Current as of: January 3, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
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