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18 Health Benefits of Chamomile + How to Use It

In this in-depth profile on chamomile herb, you’ll learn the health benefits of chamomile, plus how to find and use this popular plant.

18 health benefits of chamomile, plus how to use it (The Grow Network)

Image by gefrorene_wand from Pixabay

18 Health Benefits of Chamomile + How to Use It

  • Botanical Name: Matricaria recutita (syn. M. chamomilla)
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Other Common Names: German chamomile,  sweet false chamomile, wild chamomile, Hungarian chamomile, Italian chamomile, scented mayweed
  • Parts Used: Flowering tops
  • Energetics: Dry
  • Thermal Properties: Warm
  • Actions: Anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antispasmodic, aromatic, bitter, carminative, mild sedative, relaxing diaphoretic, relaxing nervine, vulnerary
  • Taste: Bitter, pungent
  • Plant Uses: Teething, colic, women’s health, insomnia, anxiety, depression, digestive issues, muscle tension, fever, colds, flu, allergies, general aches and pains, and many others
  • Plant Preparations: Tea, infused oil, tincture, essential oil, bath, steam, cough drops, lotions, food, flavoring, perfume
  • Toxicities/Warnings: Chamomile is generally very safe and well tolerated, even over extended use. Occasionally, individuals may be allergic to chamomile, and should not consume it if they are. Cautions about using chamomile while pregnant are probably overstated. However, you should consult with a trained herbalist or medical professional before using it medicinally while pregnant. Chamomile is an effective and safe herb to use with young children.

Introduction to Chamomile

Here's everything you need to know about chamomile herb (The Grow Network)

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Before jumping into a conversation on chamomile, we had better make sure we’re all talking about the same plant.

Several beneficial plants bear the name “chamomile,” including Roman chamomile, German chamomile, Moroccan chamomile, and others. While each of these has their own benefits, we will be focusing on German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) in this article.

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The common name “chamomile” comes from a word meaning “ground apple,” and refers to the apple-like aroma and low-growing habits of some chamomile species. Its genus, Matricaria, means “of-the-womb” and refers to its historical use in treating uterine infections. “Recutita” means “skinned” or “circumcised,” and is reference to the appearance of the flower head.

History of Chamomile

Chamomile was originally found in Western Europe and Northern Africa. But with its popularity and easygoing nature, it has now been spread to temperate areas all over the world.

As with many other excellent herbs, chamomile has a long history with humans. It has been used everywhere it has grown.

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Early American settlers brought chamomile with them from Europe. The Europeans were using chamomile centuries before that. And the Egyptians have used chamomile for thousands of years.

But our history with chamomile may extend much further back than that. Archeologists in Israel have discovered evidence that chamomile may have been used as long as 800,000 years ago.1)Urban Moonshine. “Science Update: Paleolithic Herbalism.” Urban Moonshine. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://www.urbanmoonshine.com/blogs/blog/science-update-paleolithic-herbalism

Traditional Uses of Chamomile

Traditional uses of chamomile herb include infusing it in tea (The Grow Network)

Image by Jackie Matthews from Pixabay

Traditional uses of chamomile are so numerous that a complete listing would be impossible here.

Some of the main categories would include sleep aids, beauty products, women’s health, infection fighters, mood lifters, gentle medicines for pregnant women (see the Precautions and Contraindications section), treatment for any type of nervous system stress or disorder, treatment of digestive disorders, lowering fevers, treating various illnesses, aromatherapy and perfumes, and flavorings for food and drink.

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Chamomile has not fallen out of favor in the modern world, either. The most popular use today is in chamomile tea.

However, it still finds mainstream use in food and drink flavorings, perfumes, and beauty products. And of course, its medicinal uses are still faithfully maintained by herbalists around the world.

Benefits of Chamomile

Benefits of chamomile herb (The Grow Network)

Image by James C from Pixabay

  1. Safe and Gentle: Chamomile is safe for children and infants, and it has a pleasant taste they’ll enjoy.2)Bone, Kerry, and Simon Mills. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Place of publication not identified: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.
  2. Pain Reliever: Ease pains with chamomile, internally or topically.3)Shoara, Ruhollah, Mohammad Hashem Hashempur, Alireza Ashraf, Alireza Salehi, Shadab Dehshahri, and Zahra Habibagahi. “Efficacy and Safety of Topical Matricaria Chamomilla L. (Chamomile) Oil for Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. Churchill Livingstone, June 9, 2015. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1744388115000493.4)Zargaran, Arman, Afshin Borhani-Haghighi, Mohammad Salehi-Marzijarani, Pouya Faridi, Saeid Daneshamouz, Amir Azadi, Hossein Sadeghpour, Amirhossein Sakhteman, and Abdolali Mohagheghzadeh. “Evaluation of the Effect of Topical Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla L.) Oleogel as Pain Relief in Migraine without Aura: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study.” Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, August 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29808331.
  3. Digestive Health: Sip chamomile tea to ease nausea, indigestion, and gas.5)Forêt, Rosalee de la. “Chamomile.” HerbMentor. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/chamomile/. It can also help to soothe and heal ulcers.6)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.7)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: a Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010.
  4. Allergy Relief: Chamomile reduces histamine formation, helping to reduce allergic reactions and excess mucous production.8)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: a Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010.9)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/.
  5. Muscle Cramps: Relax tired, cramping muscles with chamomile.10)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.
  6. Women’s Health: Chamomile is beneficial for a variety of women’s health issues, including menopause, uterine infections, the physical and emotional symptoms of PMS, and mastalgia.11)Saghafi, N, H Rhkhshandeh, N Pourmoghadam, L Pourali, M Ghazanfarpour, A Behrooznia, and F Vafisani. “Effectiveness of Matricaria Chamomilla (Chamomile) Extract on Pain Control of Cyclic Mastalgia: a Double-Blind Randomised Controlled Trial.” Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology : the journal of the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, January 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29072514.12)Forêt, Rosalee de la. “Chamomile.” HerbMentor. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/chamomile/.
  7. Skin Health: Use chamomile to maintain a youthful appearance, speed healing of injured skin, clear up skin infections, and smooth the complexion.13)NayakS, B. Shivananda, Chalapathi Rao, B. Shivananda Nayak, S. Sivachandra Raju, and A.V. Chalapathi Rao. “Wound Healing Activity of Matricaria Recutita L. Extract.” Journal of Wound Care, September 29, 2013. https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/abs/10.12968/jowc.2007.16.7.27061.14)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/.
  8. Emotional Health: Chamomile has been shown to help relieve depression and anxiety, and to gently lift the mood of those who regularly drink it.15)Amsterdam, Jay D, Yimei Li, Irene Soeller, Kenneth Rockwell, Jun James Mao, and Justine Shults. “A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Oral Matricaria Recutita (Chamomile) Extract Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.” Journal of clinical psychopharmacology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, August 2009. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19593179.16)“Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita) May Provide Antidepressant Activity in Anxious, Depressed Humans: an Exploratory Study.” Chamomile Matricaria recutita may provide antidepressant activity in, August 14, 2013. https://www.greenmedinfo.health/article/chamomile-may-provide-clinically-meaningful-antidepressant-activity-occurs-add.
  9. Detoxify: Chamomile is a gentle detoxifier, especially for the liver.17)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/.18)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: a Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010.
  10. Antioxidant Source: Drink up a cup full of powerful antioxidants with chamomile tea.19)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: a Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010.20)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/.
  11. Antimicrobial: Chamomile fights bacteria on the skin, on the teeth, and in the body.21)“Clinical Efficacy of a 1% Matricaria Chamomile L. Mouthwash and 0.12% Chlorhexidine for Gingivitis Control in Patients Undergoing Orthodontic Treatment with Fixed Appliances.” Clinical efficacy of a 1% Matricaria chamomile L. mouthwash and 0.12%, December 29, 2016. https://www.greenmedinfo.health/article/chamomile-extract-reduced-biofilm-accumulation-and-gingival-bleeding-patients-.22)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: a Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010.
  12. Anti-Cancer: Chamomile has demonstrated anti-cancer properties, and protects against some negative effects of chemotherapy.23)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/.24)Johnson, Rebecca L., Steven Foster, and Andrew Weil. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: the Worlds Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2014.25)Sanaati, Fateme, Safa Najafi, Zahra Kashaninia, and Masoud Sadeghi. “Effect of Ginger and Chamomile on Nausea and Vomiting Caused by Chemotherapy in Iranian Women with Breast Cancer.” Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention : APJCP. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27644672.
  13. Anti-Inflammatory: Chamomile can help to lower inflammation levels throughout the body.26)Forêt, Rosalee de la. “Chamomile.” HerbMentor. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/chamomile/.
  14. Gentle Sleep Aid: Use chamomile to help you drift off into peaceful sleep.27)Forêt, Rosalee de la. “Chamomile.” HerbMentor. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/chamomile/.
  15. Natural Fever Reducer: Chamomile helps your body to naturally lower a high temperature, rather than artificially forcing it lower, like a pharmaceutical.28)Forêt, Rosalee de la. “Chamomile.” HerbMentor. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/chamomile/.
  16. Congestion: Chamomile helps to break up respiratory system congestion. Breathe freely with chamomile.29)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.
  17. Dental Health: Use chamomile as a rinse and gargle to break up plaque and to stimulate healthy gums and teeth.30)“Clinical Efficacy of a 1% Matricaria Chamomile L. Mouthwash and 0.12% Chlorhexidine for Gingivitis Control in Patients Undergoing Orthodontic Treatment with Fixed Appliances.” Clinical efficacy of a 1% Matricaria chamomile L. mouthwash and 0.12%, December 29, 2016. https://www.greenmedinfo.health/article/chamomile-extract-reduced-biofilm-accumulation-and-gingival-bleeding-patients-.31)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/.
  18. Heart Health: Chamomile has been linked to lower blood pressure and instances of heart attack.32)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/.

Medicinal Uses of Chamomile Herb

German chamomile is one of the most popular medicinal plants in the world. It has quite a number of medicinal uses; many more than we could hope to cover here. But we’ll cover as much as possible.

Sleep Aid

Chamomile’s most famous use is likely that of a gentle sleep aid. The most widely known method is with a simple cup of tea. But you could also smell the essential oils or relax in a hot herbal bath. All applications are equally valid.

Chamomile’s restful properties don’t work like a pharmaceutical drug. That is, they don’t force you to sleep. Rather, they help to relieve your physical and emotional tension, allowing you to drift off to sleep naturally.

While the direct effect of a pharmaceutical might have more raw power than a cup of tea, chamomile will help to relieve the source of your sleeplessness, not just suppress it.

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Chamomile works through your whole self, helping to relieve physical, mental, and emotional tension.33)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. It helps to prevent and relieve muscle cramps, and relieve pain associated with tight muscles that are still holding onto the stress of the day.34)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

It calms the nervous system and helps switch on the parasympathetic system, which controls resting and healing. When used as a sleep aid, more chamomile is often better. However, even small doses can have an effect.35)Forêt, Rosalee de la. “Chamomile.” HerbMentor. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/chamomile

Mood Lifter and Anxiety Soother

One of the health benefits of chamomile is its power to act as an antidepressant (The Grow Network)

Image by Jackson David from Pixabay

Beyond sleep, chamomile’s effects on the nervous system can help to lift the mood and calm overactive thoughts. Chamomile use has been shown to have a significant effect on depression and generalized anxiety disorder symptoms.36)Mao, Jun J, Sharon X Xie, John R Keefe, Irene Soeller, Qing S Li, and Jay D Amsterdam. “Long-Term Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla L.) Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, December 15, 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27912875.37)“Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita) May Provide Antidepressant Activity in Anxious, Depressed Humans: an Exploratory Study.” Chamomile Matricaria recutita may provide antidepressant activity in, August 14, 2013. https://www.greenmedinfo.health/article/chamomile-may-provide-clinically-meaningful-antidepressant-activity-occurs-add.38)Amsterdam, Jay D, Yimei Li, Irene Soeller, Kenneth Rockwell, Jun James Mao, and Justine Shults. “A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Oral Matricaria Recutita (Chamomile) Extract Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.” Journal of clinical psychopharmacology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, August 2009. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19593179. There is also some limited evidence to support its use in the treatment of ADHD.39)[“7 Health Benefits Of Chamomile.” DoveMed. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://www.dovemed.com/healthy-living/natural-health/7-health-benefits-of-chamomile/.

Digestive Health Support

Various digestive issues respond well to chamomile. It helps to calm overactive sensations and cramping in the bowels, as well as promote correct digestion, relieve constipationprevent vomiting, and relieve gas pain.40)Forêt, Rosalee de la. “Chamomile.” HerbMentor. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/chamomile/. It can also help to soothe and heal ulcers.41)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.42)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: a Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010. Chamomile is especially helpful when these symptoms are linked to stress. Ulcers respond especially favorably to its use. Chamomile reduces ulcer pain, speeds up their healing, and helps to prevent new ulcers from forming.43)NayakS, B. Shivananda, Chalapathi Rao, B. Shivananda Nayak, S. Sivachandra Raju, and A.V. Chalapathi Rao. “Wound Healing Activity of Matricaria Recutita L. Extract.” Journal of Wound Care, September 29, 2013. https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/abs/10.12968/jowc.2007.16.7.27061.44)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: a Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010.45)Forêt, Rosalee de la. “Chamomile.” HerbMentor. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/chamomile/.46)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

Natural Antihistamine

Chamomile herb acts a natural antihistamine (The Grow Network)

Image by cenczi from Pixabay

Allergy sufferers may also wish to reach for a cup of chamomile instead of over-the-counter antihistamines. Chamomile naturally reduces histamine production and reduces excess mucous production.47)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: a Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010.48)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/. It also helps to detoxify the liver, which lesson the body’s overreaction to environmental irritants and allergens..49)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/.50)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: a Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010.

Antibacterial and Antifungal

Chamomile has antibacterial and antifungal actions.51)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: a Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010. Chamomile tea can be used as an eyewash to help clear conjunctivitis, or as a mouth rinse and gargle for tooth and gum health.52)Forêt, Rosalee de la. “Chamomile.” HerbMentor. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/chamomile/.53)“Clinical Efficacy of a 1% Matricaria Chamomile L. Mouthwash and 0.12% Chlorhexidine for Gingivitis Control in Patients Undergoing Orthodontic Treatment with Fixed Appliances.” Clinical efficacy of a 1% Matricaria chamomile L. mouthwash and 0.12%, December 29, 2016. https://www.greenmedinfo.health/article/chamomile-extract-reduced-biofilm-accumulation-and-gingival-bleeding-patients-.54)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/. Chamomile helps to lower fevers by supporting your body’s ability to sweat out toxins and invading microbes.55)Forêt, Rosalee de la. “Chamomile.” HerbMentor. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/chamomile/. Cold and flu sufferers can also find some relief in chamomile.56)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/.

Pain Reliever

Chamomile can ease minor aches and pains throughout the body.57)Shoara, Ruhollah, Mohammad Hashem Hashempur, Alireza Ashraf, Alireza Salehi, Shadab Dehshahri, and Zahra Habibagahi. “Efficacy and Safety of Topical Matricaria Chamomilla L. (Chamomile) Oil for Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. Churchill Livingstone, June 9, 2015. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1744388115000493.58)Zargaran, Arman, Afshin Borhani-Haghighi, Mohammad Salehi-Marzijarani, Pouya Faridi, Saeid Daneshamouz, Amir Azadi, Hossein Sadeghpour, Amirhossein Sakhteman, and Abdolali Mohagheghzadeh. “Evaluation of the Effect of Topical Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla L.) Oleogel as Pain Relief in Migraine without Aura: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study.” Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, August 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29808331. This is partly a direct pain-relieving action of the plant, but also partly due to its ability to relieve the root causes of various pains. Anywhere inflammation or tension are present, chamomile can help bring relief.59)Forêt, Rosalee de la. “Chamomile.” HerbMentor. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/chamomile/.


PMS Symptom Reliever

Another big area for chamomile is women’s health. It is often taken to help with the physical and emotional symptoms of PMS, and was found to be superior to NSAIDs, with fewer side effects.60)Sharifi, Farangis, Masoumeh Simbar, Faraz Mojab, and Hamid Alavi Majd. “Comparison of the Effects of Matricaria Chamomila (Chamomile) Extract and Mefenamic Acid on the Intensity of Premenstrual Syndrome.” Complementary therapies in clinical practice. U.S. National Library of Medicine, February 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24439651.It also helps with menopause symptoms. Mothers can use chamomile to stimulate milk production.61)European Union, and Feder. “Chamomile Reveals to Be a Potent Galactogogue: the Unexpected Effect.” Taylor & Francis. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14767058.2016.1274300 Chamomile can also be used to alleviate postpartum depression and recurring mastalgia.62)Chang, Shao-Min, and Chung-Hey Chen. “Effects of an Intervention with Drinking Chamomile Tea on Sleep Quality and Depression in Sleep Disturbed Postnatal Women: a Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of advanced nursing. U.S. National Library of Medicine, February 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26483209/. Traditionally, chamomile tea has been given to pregnant mothers. However, you should read the Precautions and Contraindications section for more information on this.

Skin Healer

A number of skin conditions benefit from both internal and topical chamomile use. Chamomile helps to clear the complexion and preserve skin’s useful appearance. It can help to fight fungal and bacterial infections, and soothe rashes and other irritations.63)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/. Wound healing is faster and stronger with chamomile, and chamomile can even help to fade old scars.64)NayakS, B. Shivananda, Chalapathi Rao, B. Shivananda Nayak, S. Sivachandra Raju, and A.V. Chalapathi Rao. “Wound Healing Activity of Matricaria Recutita L. Extract.” Journal of Wound Care, September 29, 2013. https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/abs/10.12968/jowc.2007.16.7.27061.65)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/. Calendula and chamomile work well together in this area and are often combined for wound healing.

Cancer Fighter

Chamomile has anti-cancer properties for a variety of cancers, including thyroid, skin, prostate, breast, and ovarian.66)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/.67)Mercola. “Chamomile Tea: Why This Ancient Therapeutic Drink Still Stands Out Today.” Prohealth, January 1, 2018. https://www.prohealth.com/library/chamomile-tea-why-this-ancient-therapeutic-drink-still-stands-out-today-45909. One study found that a long-term habit of drinking chamomile tea may reduce the risk of thyroid cancer by nearly 80%.68)Riza, Elena, Athena Linos, Athanassios Petralias, Luca de Martinis, Leonidas Duntas, and Dimitrios Linos. “The Effect of Greek Herbal Tea Consumption on Thyroid Cancer: a Case-Control Study.” European journal of public health. U.S. National Library of Medicine, December 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25842380. Chamomile can also help to prevent and heal mouth sores associated with chemotherapy and radiation treatments.69)Johnson, Rebecca L., Steven Foster, and Andrew Weil. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: the Worlds Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2014. Here again, chamomile is often paired with calendula. Chamomile can also help to prevent vomiting associated with cancer treatment.70)Sanaati, Fateme, Safa Najafi, Zahra Kashaninia, and Masoud Sadeghi. “Effect of Ginger and Chamomile on Nausea and Vomiting Caused by Chemotherapy in Iranian Women with Breast Cancer.” Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention : APJCP. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27644672.

Child Friendly

Chamomile is a child-friendly herb (The Grow Network)

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

And of course we can’t forget that chamomile is a classic herb for children, due to its pleasant taste and gentle nature. But don’t be fooled by the word “gentle.” “Gentle” doesn’t mean “weak.” It just means that it won’t rough you up when you take it.

Additional Uses

As stated before, chamomile has far too many uses to go into detail on them all. We’ve already gone over quite a few, but we still haven’t addressed its uses for heart health, diabetes, carpal tunnel syndrome, ear infections, alcohol toxicity, or chicken pox.71)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/.72)Mercola. “Chamomile Tea: Why This Ancient Therapeutic Drink Still Stands Out Today.” Prohealth, January 1, 2018. https://www.prohealth.com/library/chamomile-tea-why-this-ancient-therapeutic-drink-still-stands-out-today-45909.73)Jabri, Mohamed-Amine, Nadhem Aissani, Haifa Tounsi, Mohsen Sakly, Lamjed Marzouki, and Hichem Sebai. “Protective Effect of Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita L.) Decoction Extract against Alcohol-Induced Injury in Rat Gastric Mucosa.” Pathophysiology : the official journal of the International Society for Pathophysiology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, March 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28027824.74)Gok Metin, Zehra, Ayse Arikan Donmez, Nur Izgu, Leyla Ozdemir, and Ismail Emre Arslan. “Aromatherapy Massage for Neuropathic Pain and Quality of Life in Diabetic Patients.” Journal of nursing scholarship : an official publication of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28605119.75)Chamomile and Oregano Extracts Synergistically Exhibit.” Accessed December 3, 2019. https://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/combination-chamomile-and-oregano-extracts-could-form-new-class-drugs-treat-di.76)“Alternative versus Conventional Treatment Strategy in Uncomplicated Acute Otitis Media in Children: a Prospective, Open, Controlled Parallel-Group Comparison.” Alternative versus conventional treatment strategy in uncomplicated, January 29, 2011. https://www.greenmedinfo.health/article/proprietary-plant-based-and-homeopathic-remedy-superior-conventional-treatment.

You can see how this could quickly turn into a book. Chamomile’s uses are so broad that the saying should be, “When in doubt, try chamomile.” Whatever your problem is, it’s got a great chance of helping, and almost couldn’t make anything worse.

Nutrition Properties

Chamomile flowers are rarely eaten directly, though they can be. They are much more often consumed as a tea.

In this form, chamomile is very low in calories, but still provides an easily absorbed solution of nutrients. These include calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin A, and vitamin C.77)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: a Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010. Chamomile tea is an excellent source of a variety of antioxidants.78)Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects.” Dr. Axe, June 10, 2019. https://draxe.com/nutrition/chamomile-benefits/.

If you’d like to try eating chamomile flowers, trying crushing a few blooms and browning them in butter or coconut oil. Then toss them in with your oatmeal to add an apple-like flavor.

How to Prepare and Use Chamomile

Infusion

A simple cup of chamomile tea is the most common, and one of the most enjoyable, ways to use this plant.

Place chamomile herb in a cup and pour boiling water over it. Depending on your goal, and your affinity for the herb, you may want to use anywhere from 1 tsp. to 2 tbsp. of dried chamomile.

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Chamomile is very safe, and it’s fine to experiment with different amounts until you find what will work for you. Use a saucer to cover the cup and prevent its essential oil content from escaping.

When the tea has cooled enough to drink, tip the saucer to allow any condensed liquids to fall back into the cup. Drink it as often as desired.

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Tincture

Chamomile can be used in tincture form (The Grow Network)

Image by Erin Stone from Pixabay

Place dried chamomile in a mason jar and cover it with alcohol so that the herbs are covered by an inch or two. Because we are mainly focused on drawing out the essential oils, we will want a higher proof alcohol. Around 180 proof (90% alcohol) would be best, but a lower proof can be used.

(If you are trying to extract components other than the essential oils, you may wish to use around 40%-50% alcohol.)

Screw on the lid, shake it up, and label your jar. Place it in a cool, dark location, such as a pantry or kitchen cabinet. Come back to shake it up daily for about 4 weeks. At this point, you can strain out the herbs and rebottle your tincture. Alternately, leave it sitting for as long as desired.

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Dosing recommendations for tinctures will vary, depending on your sources. This phenomenon is amplified by the widespread popularity of chamomile. Everyone makes their tincture a little differently, and everyone has their preferred way of using it.

Thankfully, chamomile is very safe, and this dosing flexibility is usually not an issue. One reasonable adult dose for this tincture would be 1-2 dropperfuls (about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp), 3 times a day.

Children would take half this, or less.

An herbalist may recommend a different dose for your specific circumstances.

Infused Oil

You can enjoy the health benefits of chamomile via infused oil (The Grow Network)

Image by zerin117 from Pixabay

Place dried chamomile in a mason jar and cover it with oil so that the herbs are covered by an inch or two. Popular oil choices are coconut, olive, and jojoba. But others can also be used.

Screw on the lid, label your jar, and shake it up.

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Now place it in a brown paper bag and set the jar in a sunny windowsill. The gentle warmth from the sunlight will help the herbs infuse into the oil, and the paper bag will help to soften the sunlight and protect the herbs from its more damaging effects.

After 3 weeks, strain out the herbs and rebottle the oil. Rub the oil on liberally, as often as desired. Infused oils are typically pretty shelf stable, but refrigeration will greatly extend their life. If the oil smells rancid or “off,” it’s time to toss it out.

Essential Oil

Many of chamomile’s medicinal properties come from its oil content. This makes chamomile essential oil an excellent strategy for herbal application.

Aromatic Use of Essential Oils

Essential oils evaporate very quickly, making them one of the best herbal application to administer by inhalation. This gives them direct access to the entire respiratory system. Being highly aromatic, they can also directly stimulate the limbic system via our sense of smell.79)Integrative, PDQ, Alternative, and and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board. “Aromatherapy With Essential Oils (PDQ®).” PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet]. U.S. National Library of Medicine, October 24, 2005. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK65874/.

An essential oils diffuser is an excellent tool for conveniently inhaling oils. But oils can also be inhaled directly from the bottle, or by placing a drop onto a cotton ball and holding it under your nose.

Topical Use of Essential Oils

Not everyone is comfortable with direct skin application of essential oils. Some feel that it must be mixed with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil.

Regardless of your thoughts on this, using a carrier oil will help to distribute the essential oil over a larger area.

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You need not worry about diluting its effectiveness. Essential oils are incredibly concentrated.

Drip one drop of chamomile essential oil into enough coconut (or other) oil to cover the desired area and stir it in. Then rub it over the skin and enjoy its benefits.

Internal Use of Essential Oils

Internal consumption of essential oils is controversial, and much too large of a topic to cover here.

If you feel comfortable ingesting essential oils, remember that they are very concentrated. A single drop is often enough to bring about the desired results. Some drip it into their mouth directly. Others dilute it with a drink.

Herbal Bath

Try a relaxing chamomile bath to wash away the stress of the day. Place dried chamomile into a cloth bag and tie it so that the water from your bath faucet flows through the bag.

Run straight hot water at first, to pull out the medicinal components, then adjust the temperature as needed. You should also close the bathroom door to keep any evaporated essential oils from escaping the room.

Relax in the tub, and allow your skin to soak in the goodness. You can also use the cloth bag of herbs like a bath scrub or wash cloth. Or close your eyes and lay it across your face to relax your eyes and facial muscles.

Herbal Steam

Enjoy the health benefits of chamomile via herbal steam (The Grow Network)

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Chamomile works well as an herbal steam, due to its concentration of easily evaporating oils.

Boil a desired quantity of water. Remove it from heat and place chamomile into the water.

Hold the desired body part over the water, being careful not to burn yourself. Drape a large towel over everything. The idea is to make a tent to hold in the steam and evaporated herbal compounds, and to allow them to condense on the skin. You can also stick your head under the towel and breathe in the steam.

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The quantities here are highly variable and will depend on the area you are treating. If you’re treating a finger, you may only need a cup of water and a tsp of chamomile. If you’re steaming your whole torso, you’ll need a lot more.

It’s okay to guess. If you feel that you didn’t use enough, just steam some more.

Chamomile for Pets

Pets can use chamomile, too (The Grow Network)

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Chamomile can be safely used with your dog or cat. Use chamomile as a wound wash, itch reliever, or destressor, much as you would for a human. Chamomile is good for calming your pet down when he or she gets nervous or agitated.80)“Chamomile Benefits for Dogs: Is Chamomile Good for Dogs?” Natural Dog Health Remedies. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com/chamomile-benefits.html.81)Jones, Carlye. “Is Chamomile Safe for Cats?” Pets, July 14, 2016. https://pets.thenest.com/chamomile-safe-cats-8867.html.

When used internally, use a much smaller dosage than you would for a human. Cats may only need 1/2 tsp. of chamomile infusion.82)Jones, Carlye. “Is Chamomile Safe for Cats?” Pets, July 14, 2016. https://pets.thenest.com/chamomile-safe-cats-8867.html.

Some animals may be allergic to chamomile. Expose a small area of skin to a chamomile preparation, and wait to see if your pet has a reaction.

Precautions and Contraindications

Chamomile herb is very safe for people of all ages. A small number of people may have allergic reactions to chamomile and should not use it. An allergy to ragweed or other plants in the Asteraceae family may increase your chances of being allergic to chamomile.

Pregnant women are warned not to use chamomile. However, this caution might be over-stated. Despite the frequent consumption of chamomile by women worldwide, no credible proven increase in rates of harmful outcomes for the fetus can be established.83)Bone, Kerry, and Simon Mills. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Place of publication not identified: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. Many times, studies suggesting a link between chamomile and pregnancy risk will ignore the impact of other, more likely, herbs and drugs.  Nevertheless, a lack of proof that chamomile is unsafe is not the same as proof that it is safe. Use caution and consult your doctor before consuming chamomile during pregnancy.

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Chamomile is safe for breastfeeding mothers.84)Bone, Kerry, and Simon Mills. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Place of publication not identified: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

How to ID Chamomile Herb

How to identify chamomile plants (The Grow Network)

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

Chamomile is a member of the Asteraceae family. It has small, daisy-like flowers with white petals and yellow, cone-shaped centers. The stems are thin, and the leaves are feathery and light.

German chamomile grows upright, to a height of around 1 or 2 feet (30-60 centimeters). Roman chamomile is physically very similar, but grows as a ground cover.

Chamomile may be superficially similar to many other daisy-like flowers. But in addition to its other features, chamomile can be distinguished by the apple-like scent of its blooms.

Always be sure of your identification before consuming a wild plant.

Where It Grows and Where to Find It

Chamomile can be found in temperate location around the world. You can most easily find chamomile growing in flower and herb gardens. It can also be found in the wild.

German chamomile likes open, sunny locations, but will tolerate light shade. It will also tolerate poor fertility, clay soils, and hot, dry weather.

German chamomile is an annual and can easily be grown from seed.

How and When to Harvest Chamomile

How to harvest chamomile (The Grow Network)

Image by ivabalk from Pixabay

Harvest chamomile blooms when they are at their fullest, preferably before the white petals start to fall away. Harvesting encourages continued blooming. A regularly harvested plant can produce blooms all summer.

Blooms can be pinched off individually, or picked en masse by running your fingers through the plant like a comb. Special comb-like harvesting tools can also be purchased.

Use chamomile fresh or dry it with as little heat as possible. Store dried chamomile in an airtight container to preserve its essential oil content.

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Many of chamomile’s healing properties come from its volatile oils (essential oils). Because these oils are easily lost to evaporation, processing and storage methods are important.

Chamomile is best when used fresh or dried at a low temperature and stored in an airtight container. A plastic zipper-lock bag is alright for temporary storage. However, the volatile oil molecules are so tiny that, over time, they can escape in the gaps between the molecules of the plastic bag. For long-term storage, use an airtight container, such as a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Other applications, such as tinctures and distilled essential oils, can also keep your herbs potent for many years.

What Do You Think?

What’s your favorite way to use chamomile? Which of the health benefits of chamomile herb are your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

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