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German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


German chamomile is an herb that is native to southern and eastern Europe. The herb smells slightly like apple, and is popular throughout the world. The name "chamomile" is Greek for "Earth apple". Do not confuse German chamomile with Roman chamomile.

People take German chamomile by mouth for intestinal gas, travel sickness, stuffy nose, hay fever, diarrhea, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), fibromyalgia, anxiety, restlessness, and trouble sleeping. It is also taken by mouth for stomach and intestinal spasms, stomach and intestinal inflammation, stomach ulcers, colic, indigestion, and menstrual cramps.

Some people apply German chamomile directly to the skin for hemorrhoids; breast soreness; leg ulcers; pressure ulcers; allergic skin irritation; and bacterial skin diseases, including those of the mouth and gums. It is also used on the skin for treating or preventing damage to the inside of the mouth caused by chemotherapy or radiation; to treat skin breakdown around colostomy appliances, and skin rash.

A form of German chamomile that can be inhaled is used to treat inflammation (swelling) and irritation of the respiratory tract and the common cold.

In foods and beverages, German chamomile is used as flavoring.

In manufacturing, German chamomile is used in cosmetics, soaps, and mouthwashes.

How does it work?

German chamomile contains chemicals that seem to promote relaxation and reduce swelling (inflammation).

Researchers aren't sure which chemicals in German chamomile might cause relaxation.

German chamomile might reduce swelling by slowing the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and histamines. These chemicals are usually released to create a swelling response in the body.

Traditionally used for

Heartburn (dyspepsia).
Common cold.
Inflamed or irritated skin (eczema).
Gum disease.
Swelling and deterioration of the mouth lining (oral mucositis).
Skin breakdown around colostomy appliances (peristomal lesions).
Vaginal infection (vaginitis).
Wound healing.
Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Hay fever.
Intestinal gas.
Menstrual cramps.
Nasal swelling (inflammation).
Stomach and intestinal disorders.
Travel sickness.



For anxiety: Capsules containing 220-1100 mg of German chamomile extract have been taken daily for 8 weeks.

For heartburn (dyspepsia): 1 mL of a specific product containing licorice, milk thistle, peppermint leaf, German chamomile, caraway, celandine, angelica, lemon balm, and clown's mustard plant (Iberogast; Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) has been taken three times daily for 4 weeks. Also, 1 mL of another specific product containing licorice, milk thistle, peppermint leaf, German chamomile, caraway, celandine, angelica, and lemon balm (STW-5-S, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) has been taken three times daily for 4 weeks. In addition, 1 mL of a specific product containing clown's mustard plant, German chamomile, peppermint, caraway, licorice, and lemon balm (STW 5-II, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) has been taken three times daily for up to 12 weeks.


For colic: A product containing 164 mg of fennel, 97 mg of lemon balm, and 178 mg of German chamomile (ColiMil, Milte Italia SPA) has been taken twice daily for one week. A 150 mL dose of an herbal tea (Calma-Bebi, Bonomelli, Dolzago, Italy) containing extracts of German chamomile, vervain, licorice, fennel, and lemon balm, has been taken up to three times daily after each episode of colic for 7 days.

For diarrhea: A specific product (Diarrhoesan, Dr. Loges + Co. GmbH, Winsen, Germany) containing apple pectin and German chamomile extract has been used for 1-3 days in children 6 months to 6 years old.

Possible Side Effects

German chamomile is SAFE when taken in amounts found in food. In fact, it has "Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)" status in the U.S. German chamomile is SAFE when taken by mouth as a medicine for short periods of time (up to 8 weeks). German chamomile has also been applied to the skin of adults for short periods of time. The long-term safety of German chamomile is unknown.
German chamomile can cause allergic reactions in some people when taken by mouth. It is in the same plant family as ragweed, marigolds, daisies, and other related herbs.

When applied to the skin, German chamomile can cause allergic skin reactions. When applied near the eyes, German chamomile may cause eye irritation.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Children: German chamomile is SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately, short-term. Early research shows that several products containing German chamomile are safe in infants when used for up to one week.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking German chamomile if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Allergies to ragweed or related plants: German chamomile may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family of plants. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many other herbs.

Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: German chamomile might act like estrogen in the body. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use German chamomile.

Surgery: German chamomile might interact with anesthesia for surgery and should not be used 2 weeks before surgery.

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