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Is chamomile right for you? An expert opinion.

By Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD

When you think of chamomile, you may think of a calming cup of tea before bedtime, and you would be on the right track. Chamomile is a plant whose flowering tops have been used as a health aid since ancient times in Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It’s commonly taken as a tea or liquid extract, capsule, or tablet to help with sleep, anxiety, and gut health issues. Along with these health benefits, research shows that it may also help improve heart and immune health.

Best Overall Chamomile Supplement

Physician’s CHOICE Sleep Aid

This all-in-one chamomile supplement is a complete chill pill with not just chamomile, but other natural compounds that can help you stay calm. Inside each two-capsule serving are chamomile as well as compounds like pyroxidal-5-phosphate, which can reduce inflammation in the body. They also contain calming valerian root, as well as L-theanine that may reduce stress-related behavior, and melatonin which may help with sleep.

Summary of Physician’s CHOICE Sleep Aid:
  • Five calming and sleep-inducing compounds in each serving
  • 100% natural ingredients
  • Made in the USA in a Food & Drug Administration (FDA), National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)-certified facility
  • Non-GMO
  • Third-party tested
  • 100% money back guarantee
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Gluten-free
  • Vegan-friendly

Best Complete Chamomile Supplement

Key Elements Lights Out Natural Sleep Aid

This chamomile supplement contains ingredients like valerian root, pyroxidal-5-phosphate, and melatonin, plus other bonus ingredients such as passionflower which may help to induce sleep, GABA that may reduce anxiety, as well as hops strobile that may improve anxiety, depressive, and stress symptoms.

Summary of Key Elements Lights Out Natural Sleep Aid:
  • Eight calming and sleep-inducing compounds besides chamomile
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Veteran-owned business
  • Non-GMO
  • 100% vegan product
  • Free of allergens like dairy, soy, gluten, tree nuts, shellfish, animal products, and animal derivatives
  • Third-party testing
  • 60-day, 100% money back guarantee

Best Child-Friendly Chamomile Supplement

Dr. Talbot’s Nuby Chamomile Soothing Tablets

This chamomile and marigold extract formula comes in a convenient quick dissolve form for children. Each three-tablet serving is made to help relieve pain from teething and to calm restless children.

Summary of Dr. Talbot’s Nuby Chamomile Soothing Tablets:
  • Natural ingredients
  • Benzocaine and Belladonna-free
  • Lasting relief
  • Safe for ages three months and older
  • Gluten-free
  • Made in the U.S.A.

What You Need to Know

When you think about buying any kind of dietary supplement, there are certain things you should remember including the following:

  • Look for third-party testing: Third-party testing, such as that by the NSF, ensures that the potency and purity of the product matches what it says on the label.
  • Check the label carefully: According to NSF, the label of a dietary supplement should include certain information such as:
    • Supplement name
    • Measure of contents
    • Directions for use
    • A supplement facts panel with listed serving size, number of servings, and active ingredients, as well as other ingredients
    • The name and place of business of the manufacturer or distributor
  • Only take the recommended dose: Typically, the dose listed on the label is what the manufacturer has determined is an effective and safe dose, thus taking more is not necessarily better.
  • Check with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement: Although they may seem natural and harmless, some dietary or herbal supplements can interact with some medicines, therefore be sure to let your doctor know before starting to make sure it’s safe for you.

Types of Chamomile

There are three types of chamomile known as Roman, English, and German chamomile.  Although these are different species of the chamomile plant, they provide similar health benefits.  In traditional medicine, Roman chamomile has been used to treat upset stomach, nausea, vomiting as well as heartburn and gas. On the other hand, German chamomile is known for its positive effects on wound healing, muscle spasms, and sleep. Finally, English chamomile has been used as a sleep aid, a stomach reliever and for its calming effects.

The health benefits of chamomile come from its flowers, which in all species look like tiny, daisy-like flowers. These flower heads are dried and used in tea bags or capsules. In the case of supplements, the flower heads are crushed and steamed to produce a blue oil. Also, chamomile essential oils may become a part of a topical product, cosmetics, or used in aromatherapy.

Benefits

German chamomile may act as an anti-inflammatory agent, however, such properties are not just in German chamomile. Chamomile extract in the form of a water-based extract has been effective as a mild sedative. In this form, chamomile may help those with conditions like anxiety and insomnia to calm their nerves and induce sleep. Furthermore, chamomile may provide benefits for those with arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and premenstrual syndrome, to name a few.

Safe dosages of chamomile include:

  • Tea: Three grams of dried flower heads per 150 mL water, three to four times daily
  • One to four mL orally, three times daily in a 1:1 ratio in 45% alcohol
  • 3-10% ointment or gel applied as needed
  • 10-15 drops of liquid extract per 100 mL warm water as a mouthwash swished and swallowed three times daily

Cons

Even though both German chamomile and Roman chamomile is generally safe for most people, it’s not safe for everyone. Common side effects of taking chamomile include:

  • Allergic reactions: Possible if you’re allergic to chamomile or are sensitive to plants like daisies, mums, marigolds, or ragweed
  • Mild skin rash or skin irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Vomiting, if taken in excessive amounts

Also, people with certain health issues who are taking medicines for their condition should not consume chamomile because of possible interactions. Such conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Infections
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Migraines
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Birth control pills
  • Blood thinners
  • Mental health conditions

Also, due to limited research on the impact of chamomile on babies, do not consume chamomile if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Why Would You Take Chamomile?

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the benefit of chamomile most supported by research is reducing anxiety. When taken with other herbs, chamomile may also help upset stomach, diarrhea in children, and infants with colic. Therefore, if you are looking for a natural way to calm your nerves, then chamomile may help. However, since chamomile may interact with certain medicines, be sure to talk with your doctor before taking this supplement.

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