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German chamomile is an herb that is native to southern and eastern Europe. It is popular throughout the world as a medicine. Do not confuse German chamomile with Roman chamomile, which is a different plant.

People use German chamomile for diarrhea, indigestion (dyspepsia), anxiety, excessive crying in infants (colic), and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

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

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

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
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Info

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

When taken by mouth: German chamomile is LIKELY SAFE when taken in amounts found in food. German chamomile is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth as a medicine for short periods of time.

When applied to the skin: German chamomile is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin. It can cause allergic skin reactions. When applied to the skin near the eyes, German chamomile may cause eye irritation.

When used as a mouthwash: German chamomile is POSSIBLY SAFE when used as a mouthwash. It can cause nausea and burning in the mouth.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if German chamomile is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: German chamomile is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin as a medicine, short-term. Early research shows that several products containing German chamomile are safe in infants when taken by mouth for up to one week. Early research also shows that oil containing German chamomile is safe in children and teenagers when applied to the skin nightly for up to 6 weeks.

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. Stop using German chamomile at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Some birth control pills contain estrogen. German chamomile might have some of the same effects as estrogen. But German chamomile isn't as strong as the estrogen in birth control pills. Taking German chamomile along with birth control pills might decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. If you take birth control pills along with German chamomile, use an additional form of birth control such as a condom.

Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.

Estrogens

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Large amounts of German chamomile might have some of the same effects as estrogen. But large amounts of German chamomile aren't as strong as estrogen pills. Taking German chamomile along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.

Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates)

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

German chamomile might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking German chamomile along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of these medications. Before taking German chamomile, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), haloperidol (Haldol), ondansetron (Zofran), propranolol (Inderal), theophylline (Theo-Dur, others), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, others), and others.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

German chamomile might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking German chamomile along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking German chamomile, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.

Sedative medications (Benzodiazepines)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

German chamomile might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Drugs that cause sleepiness and drowsiness are called sedatives. Taking German chamomile along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

Some of these sedative medications include alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), midazolam (Versed), temazepam (Restoril), triazolam (Halcion), and others.

Sedative medications (CNS depressants)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

German chamomile might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking German chamomile along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

Some sedative medications include pentobarbital (Nembutal), phenobarbital (Luminal), secobarbital (Seconal), fentanyl (Duragesic, Sublimaze), morphine, zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

Tamoxifen (Nolvadex)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Some types of cancer are affected by hormones in the body. Estrogen-sensitive cancers are cancers that are affected by estrogen levels in the body. Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) is used to help treat and prevent these types of cancer. German chamomile seems to also affect estrogen levels in the body. By affecting estrogen in the body, German chamomile might decrease the effectiveness of tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Do not take German chamomile if you are taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex).

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. German chamomile might increase the effects of warfarin (Coumadin). Taking German chamomile and warfarin (Coumadin) together might slow blood clotting too much and cause bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Herbs and supplements with sedative properties: German chamomile might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Using German chamomile along with other herbs that can cause sleepiness might cause too much sleepiness. Some of these supplements include 5-HTP, calamus, California poppy, catnip, hops, Jamaican dogwood, kava, St. John's wort, skullcap, valerian, yerba mansa, and others.

There are no known interactions with foods.

The appropriate dose of German chamomile depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for German chamomile. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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