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Is Chamomile Bad For You?



Short answer

Chamomile has been around since the ancient Egyptians and has many health benefits. This powerful herb can be used in many ways to help with general anxiety and calm the nerves of the gastrointestinal tract. It is a natural anti-coagulant so individuals on blood thinners need to be monitored or may want to avoid this herb.



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Long answer

Many people know chamomile as a major ingredient in tea, however you can inhale chamomile, use it topically by rubbing it on your skin or bathing in it.  For thousands of years chamomile has been used for its anti-anxiety effects.  Studies have been limited in terms of the benefits of chamomile but the anecdotal reports speak volumes.

At the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health a study was conducted on generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and how chamomile extract (capsule form) would impact their symptoms.

Done at the University of Pennsylvania, this was a randomized, double blinded, placebo-controlled trial to test patients diagnosed with GAD.  The study included 57 participants over 8 weeks. Certain anxiety scales were used to evaluate their response to either the chamomile extract versus the placebo. Out of the patients that received chamomile, their reduction in anxiety scores was statistically significant. The majority of individuals that enjoy chamomile state that they sleep much better. There needs to be more investigation but this herb has shown to not only be calming to the brain but to the gastrointestinal tract. 

Many alternative and traditional health practitioners recommend chamomile for patients that have irritable bowel syndrome as well as inflammatory bowel syndrome.  The distinction should be made clear between these two disorders. Irritable bowel syndrome is a motility based disorder that often presents with a change in bowel pattern (constipation predominant or diarrhea predominant), abdominal pain, abdominal distention and flatulence.  The lining of the intestinal tract is normal so this is a diagnosis of exclusion.  Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis) are disorders that can present like irritable bowel but have biopsy proven inflammation in the intestinal tract. Inflammation can also impact the spine, eyes, skin and the hepatic system. Chamomile-with its anti-inflammatory and calming effects can be used in both disorders.

Chamomile is sometimes referred to as “herbal aspirin” and over the centuries has been used for pain.   Chamomile contains Chamazulene, an aromatic chemical compound that possesses anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antispasmodic properties. Chamomile has also been used for its anti-bacterial properties and many health care professionals will recommend inhaling chamomile tea to open up the sinuses and decrease congestion and mucous production.  Chamomile can be very helpful for menstrual cramps and is soothing for stomach pain.  Chamomile tea is a powerhouse of antioxidants and protects the skin from free-radical damage. It accelerates cell and tissue regeneration, helps tighten the pores and can help to slow the effects of aging. Used topically chamomile can decrease the pain associated with sunburn and can decrease dark circles under the eyes.  Used on the hair, chamomile is effective for dandruff. 

Chamomile is a powerful herb and it does possess blood thinning properties.  Anyone on a blood thinning medicine should consult with their health care professional before using chamomile.  Rare allergic reactions have been reported and GI upset can occur if large quantities of chamomile are ingested.  

Possible short-term side effects

  • can interfere with blood thinning medications
  • large doses can cause gi upset
  • drowsiness
  • allergic reaction

Possible long-term side effects

  • can interfere with blood thinning medications

Commonly found in

  • tea
  • capsules
  • vapor
  • oil
  • skin and hair care products


  • antioxidant
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-spasmodic
  • helps with anxiety
  • helps with irritable bowel and inflammatory bowel disease
  • helps with sleep
  • great antioxidant
  • anti-aging for the skin
  • helps with dandruff
  • anti-bacterial properties
  • analgesic properties

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Organic Chamomile Tea

  • Calms nerves
  • Supports digestion
  • Organic ingredients
  • 96 tea bags
  • Caffeine-free
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

View Sources | Written by Dr. Becky Maes
Published on: 11-14-2023
Last updated: 12-01-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

View Sources
Written by Dr. Becky Maes
Published on: 11-14-2023
Last updated: 12-01-2023

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