Pregnancy Use

Safety has not been established scientifically; however, no teratogenic effects have been observed in vivo.

PRACTICE POINTS/PATIENT COUNSELLING

• German chamomile has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, sedative and antimicrobial activity.

• It is taken orally either as a tea or tincture, used externally as a poultice, cream or ointment or inhaled as an essential oil.

• Internally, it is used to relieve flatulence, gastrointestinal spasm, dyspepsia and induce a sense of relaxation. It is also used for infants with teething pain and colic.

• Externally, chamomile preparations are used to treat dermatitis, enhance wound healing, nappy rash and soothe irritated skin. Comparative studies show it has an anti-inflammatory effect equivalent to low-dose hydrocortisone preparations.

• There is some evidence from clinical trials to support the use of chamomile in the treatment of wounds, eczema, dermatitis, nervousness and tension, diarrhoea in children and for the symptoms of haemorrhagic cystitis (in association with antibiotic therapy).

ANSWERS TO PATIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will this herb do for me?

Chamomile is taken to relieve stomach spasms and flatulence, to induce relaxation and promote sleep. It is also popular for children with teething pain and digestive complaints such as colic or diarrhoea. Applied externally as a cream, ointment or poultice, it is used to reduce skin irritation and inflammation. When will it start to work?

Chamomile relieves gastrointestinal symptoms quickly, within several minutes. For more chronic problems, it may need to be used long term. Are there any safety issues?

Chamomile is considered a very safe herb. While there have been reports of allergic reactions, the majority have been due to adulteration with other herbs. Chamomile tea is more likely to cause allergic reactions than either extracts or essential oil. Chamomile should not be used by persons with hypersensitivity or known allergy to chamomile or other members of Asteraceae family (e.g. yarrow, tansy, feverfew, wormwood).

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