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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Dietary Supplements >>  Chamomile


Chamomile is an aromatic perennial herb native to Europe and Mediterranean region. Dried flower heads of the plants are used in herbal tea preparation for mild sedative effects and oil yielding used for commercial flavoring and perfumery. The two major types of chamomile used for health conditions are German chamomile and Roman chamomile. German chamomile may be slightly stronger and more studied than the roman chamomile; but both of them serve similar health benefits.

Health and chamomile

Chamomile has a reputation of gentle medical plant and although it is used widely for various medical conditions scientific researches for its effectiveness and safety are lacking.
Some unclear scientific studies claim that inhaling stem with chamomile extract may be helpful to treat common cold symptoms.

Chamomile when combined with apple pectin may also help children with diarrhea.
Tropical application of chamomile on skin is been approved by German Commission E and may also be beneficial in eczema cure.
Chamomile may also be beneficial in many gastrointestinal conditions like colic or spasm, digestive disorders, stomach upset, flatulence (gas), ulcers and gastrointestinal irritation.
Chamomile may have anti-spasmodic activity and chamomile ointments may help improve hemorrhoids.
Massage using chamomile essential oil in cancer patients may help improve their quality of life and anxiety.
Chamomile when applied tropically has anti-inflammatory action and may help soothe skin inflammation and also help in wound healing.  
Chamomile is also beneficial in sleep disorder treatment. Dried petal tea or essential oil aromatherapy has been used as a sedative and to cure insomnia.

Side effects of chamomile

Various allergic reactions to chamomile have been reported. When it is taken orally or as enema it may lead to throat swelling, shortness of breath and anaphylaxis. When applied tropically can cause dermatitis and eczema and when used as an eyewash can cause allergic conjunctivitis.
Chamomile use may lead to sedation and drowsiness so have to use with caution while driving or while operating heavy machineries.
Coumarin in chamomile may increase the risk of bleeding and increase blood pressure too. Thus patients with bleeding disorders or hypertension and on medications for the same should use chamomile with a word of caution.
Chamomile is not recommended during pregnancy and lactation as it may stimulate uterine contraction or lead to abortion.

Before starting ingestion of any products with chamomile, it is advisable to consult a health care professional who will recommend its use in prescribed doses.

Submitted on January 16, 2014