Chamomile is an herb that has almost as many names as it does uses. The most common use of chamomile is found in chamomile tea, which most people drink as a way to help them to relax and be able to sleep.
While it is great as a tea, it has many other more medicinal purposes and more are being tested and developed every day. The two most common species of chamomile are German and Roman (English).
Though they are of two different species, they are used in the same way to treat the same medical issues. Scientists and researchers use the flower of the chamomile herb to make medications and supplements, as this is the most potent part of the herb.
Uses & Benefits
Chamomile is used for many different common illnesses that people may encounter, such as trouble sleeping, stuffy nose, hay fever, issues with plane or car travel, and ADHD in children and adults. When it comes to consuming chamomile as a food, it has only been used to flavor drinks and more research needs to be conducted on how it will flavor actual food dishes.
You can find German Chamomile in certain household items such as cosmetics, soaps, and even mouthwashes. More often than not, if you find a product boasting chamomile, you are getting the flowered part of the plant and not the leaves or stems.
German chamomile is also used to treat skin irritations and problems when applied as an ointment. The chemicals that are found in chamomile have been shown to relax and reduce inflammation, which is why it is used to help with hemorrhoids, leg ulcers, and allergic skin reactions.
You can also use chamomile on your face and around your mouth to help with skin irritations or cracking due to radiation or chemotherapy. There is a form of chamomile that can be used similar to an inhaler to help with upper respiratory infections by reducing the swelling and allowing the sufferer to take more air in.
There are four medical conditions that German chamomile has been shown to be either effective or extremely promising with. If you are choosing to use chamomile for these conditions, make sure you are buying the chamomile extract with the least number of unnatural ingredients as possible.
You will want the chamomile to do the majority of the work, and should allow the added ingredients to take a back seat to it. The four main areas that chamomile has been shown to positively effect are anxiety, colic, upset stomach, and diarrhea. These are medical conditions that millions of people face on a daily basis, and that the majority of us will experience at some point in our lives.
Millions of people struggle with some form of anxiety on a regular basis, ranging from mild to severe, and fluctuating from situation to situation. Research has indicated that adults suffering from anxiety or depression can take up to 1,100mg a day of German chamomile for around 8 weeks.
After taking chamomile for 8 weeks, most adults in the studies noticed a significant decrease in the level of their anxiety and in the number of anxiety attacks that they were experiencing.
It can also be used to treat depression, both in adults that are also suffering from anxiety and those that are not. The dosage for depression alone is slightly lower than for anxiety, but the timeline of 8 weeks is still the same.
Infants can develop colic whether they are formula fed or breast fed. In the case of chamomile’s effects on colic, research was conducted on babies who were breast fed. Using a product known as ColiMil which contains fennel, lemon balm, and German Chamomile twice daily for a week was shown to improve the colic symptoms in breast fed infants. This is a natural product that the mother takes twice a day for a week.
While this is not a cure all for colic, research has indicated that it can significantly reduce the colic symptoms and help both mom and baby to get some rest and relief. When it comes to infants, it is important to talk with both your doctor and the baby’s pediatrician before you begin taking a supplement that will be transferred to your baby.
This is also where checking the supplement labels is very important, as you do not want to take a supplement that has artificial ingredients in it and then transfer it to your baby. Both your doctor and the baby’s doctor can help you choose a product that is safe for the both of you.
While this is an unpleasant occurrence, it happens in millions of people every day. Children seem to be more likely to have diarrhea happen to them than adults are. If you find that other diarrhea medications or supplements are not working for your child and they are still experiencing diarrhea, there is something you can do.
A supplement with apple pectin and German chamomile taken no more than 3 days at a time was shown in research studies to help with a child’s diarrhea. All children are different though, and you should monitor your child while they are taking this supplement to make sure they are not having any adverse effects from it.
This medical issue can be caused by many different things, from the wrong type of food to genetic medical conditions. If you find yourself with consistent upset stomachs, you may want to try a chamomile supplement called Iberogast, which can help with the various symptoms that come with upset stomachs.
Taken three times a day for a month, you should notice a significant improvement in symptoms like acid reflux, stomach pains, cramping, and vomiting. You will want to update your doctor that you have begun taking this supplement so they can monitor you in case of reactions.
Risks & Side Effects Of Chamomile Extract
German chamomile has been declared a safe product for short term use in adults and children. This is true of both the extract taken by mouth and also the extract used as an ointment on the skin. Research indicates that it is safe for continuous use for about one month, after which use should stop and you should consult your doctor before beginning the supplements again.
Chamomile extract has not been studied in women who are pregnant. Because of this, these women should avoid taking any supplements with chamomile extract in them. Women who are breastfeeding should only take the exact amount prescribed to them by their doctor for the treatment of colic in their infants.
If you have an allergy to ragweed, daisies, marigolds, or herbs that are similar to these plants, you may experience an allergic reaction to Chamomile extract. German chamomile can also increase and act like estrogen in the body in both men and women. It is important for people who have hormone sensitive reaction to extra estrogen to avoid taking German chamomile.
Research has also indicated that German chamomile can alter the way anesthesia works in the body, so people who have been taking German chamomile should discontinue use at least two weeks before undergoing any type of surgery.
It should also be listed as a previous medication when filling out paperwork for any surgeries. You will want to ensure that both your doctor and your surgery team are aware that you have been taking it and have discontinued the use of it.
If you are taking other medications that have been prescribed to you by your doctor, you should be careful with taking German chamomile as it can have negative effects on certain medications. If you are taking birth control pills of any type, you should avoid taking German Chamomile as it can cause the birth control pills to lose their effectiveness.
If you continue to take German chamomile with your birth control pills, you should use back up birth control just to be on the safe side. If you are taking any medications that are specifically changed or broken down by the liver, you should avoid taking German chamomile.
German chamomile has been shown to decrease how quickly the liver breaks down medications. So if your medication relies on being broken down quickly, adding German chamomile to your routine would not be advised.
If you are taking medications for blood clotting, you should not take German chamomile, as it can cause increase the effects of these drugs. If you slow down the blood clotting function in your blood too much, you can cause internal bleeding and bruising to form.
Chamomile Extract Conclusion
Before you begin taking any supplements with chamomile in them, you should consult with your medical doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough to take it. You will also want your doctor to check your current list of medications to make sure that you are not taking any prescriptions that would be negatively affected by chamomile.
If you are deemed healthy enough to take chamomile, make sure you follow all instructions given to your by your doctor in regards to dosage and the length of time that you should be taking it.