Chamomile Side Effects
Chamomile is an herb that is commonly used as a flavoring agent, as well as an alternative treatment for various ailments. Some of the most common health conditions treated with chamomile include stomach or intestinal upset, inflammation and anxiety. Although chamomile is a naturally-occurring substance that is readily available for purchase without a prescription, it may still cause side effects and/or interact with other medications you may be taking.
Chamomile is found in cosmetics, soaps and some mouthwashes. When used to treat medical conditions, chamomile may be administered in the form of an herbal supplement, tea or topical ointment. People typically choose a specific preparation of chamomile based on the ailment they hope to treat.
Possible Side Effects
Chamomile is thought to be safe for short-term usage. However, it may still cause side effects. The most common side effect of chamomile is skin or eye irritation. In people who are sensitive to plants in the daisy family, chamomile may also cause or worsen hay fever symptoms. Some people who take chamomile report mild drowsiness.
Keep in mind that side effects may differ based on the nature of the preparation. For example, chamomile tea side effects are less likely to include skin irritation because the herb was not applied directly to the skin. However, systemic side effects such as drowsiness may be more likely with chamomile tea or oral supplements.
Chamomile may enhance the effect of other drugs that cause drowsiness, including medications taken for seizures, depression, anxiety, muscle spasms, seasonal allergies and insomnia. Other drugs that have possible interactions with chamomile include birth control pills, estrogen pills, tamoxifen and warfarin. If you are taking any of these medications, talk to your doctor before you begin using any form of chamomile.
Scientists are not aware of every interaction possible with chamomile. In addition to the interactions described above, this herb may also interact with other prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications or herbal supplements. If you notice signs of an interaction while taking chamomile, discontinue its use and speak with your doctor.
Severe Allergic Reactions
Chamomile may cause severe allergic reaction in some people. Potential allergies to chamomile may present with any or all of the following symptoms:
- Swelling of the face, throat, tongue or lips.
- Shortness of breath
If you experience any of these symptoms after using or taking chamomile, seek medical attention immediately.
A systemic allergic reaction is more likely when chamomile is ingested. Severe allergic reactions to topical chamomile may present with swelling, itching and redness of the skin shortly after application. If you notice these symptoms, discontinue use of chamomile and call your doctor.
Certain types of chamomile may cause uterine contractions that increase the risk of miscarriage or pre-term labor. In addition, it not yet known whether chamomile is harmful to the fetus during pregnancy. Thus, pregnant women should not use chamomile.
Researchers don’t have enough information to determine whether chamomile is safe during breastfeeding, either. For this reason, many experts instruct breastfeeding mothers to avoid this herb as well.
Talk to your doctor before using chamomile if you have pollen allergies, a history of uterine fibroids, a history of endometriosis or cancer in your uterus, ovary or breast.