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German Chamomile

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What other names is German Chamomile known by?

Blue Chamomile, Camomèle, Camomilla, Camomille, Camomille Allemande, Camomille Sauvage, Camomille Tronquée, Camomille Vraie, Chamomile, Chamomilla recutita, Echte Kamille, Feldkamille, Fleur de Camomile, Hungarian Chamomile, Kamillen, Kleine Kamille, Manzanilla, Manzanilla Alemana, Matricaire, Matricaire Camomille, Matricaria chamomilla, Matricaria recutita, Matricariae Flos, Œil du Soleil, Petite Camomille, Pin Heads, Sweet False Chamomile, True Chamomile, Wild Chamomile.

What is German Chamomile?

German chamomile is an herb that is native to southern and eastern Europe. The herb smells slightly like apple, and is popular throughout the world. The name "chamomile" is Greek for "Earth apple". Do not confuse German chamomile with Roman chamomile.

People take German chamomile by mouth for intestinal gas, travel sickness, stuffy nose, hay fever, diarrhea, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), fibromyalgia, anxiety, restlessness, and trouble sleeping. It is also taken by mouth for stomach and intestinal spasms, stomach and intestinal inflammation, stomach ulcers, colic, indigestion, and menstrual cramps.

Some people apply German chamomile directly to the skin for hemorrhoids; breast soreness; leg ulcers; pressure ulcers; allergic skin irritation; and bacterial skin diseases, including those of the mouth and gums. It is also used on the skin for treating or preventing damage to the inside of the mouth caused by chemotherapy or radiation; to treat skin breakdown around colostomy appliances, and skin rash.

A form of German chamomile that can be inhaled is used to treat inflammation (swelling) and irritation of the respiratory tract and the common cold.

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

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

Is German Chamomile effective?

There is some scientific evidence that a German chamomile oral rinse might be helpful for a condition called "mucositis," a side effect of radiation therapy or chemotherapy in some people with cancer.

There isn't enough information to know if German chamomile is effective for the other conditions people use it for, including: upset stomach, insomnia, skin conditions, stuffy nose, gas, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, and others.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Anxiety. Research suggests that taking capsules containing 220 to 1100 mg of 220-1110 mg of German chamomile extract daily for 8 weeks reduces anxiety and depression in adults with generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Colic. Research shows that a specific product containing fennel, lemon balm, and German chamomile (ColiMil, Milte Italia SPA), taken twice daily for one week, reduces crying in breast-fed infants with colic. Other research shows that a specific herbal tea (Calma-Bebi, Bonomelli, Dolzago, Italy) containing German chamomile, vervain, licorice, fennel, and lemon balm, taken up to three times daily after each episode of colic for 7 days, helps eliminate colic in some infants. However, it doesn't seem to reduce the number of nighttime awakenings.
  • Diarrhea. Taking a product containing apple pectin and German chamomile (Diarrhoesan, Dr. Loges + Co. GmbH, Winsen, Germany) for 1-3 days seems to reduce diarrhea in children 6 months to 6 years old.
  • Heartburn (dyspepsia). Research suggests that taking two specific combination products containing German chamomile and other ingredients (Iberogast, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH; STW-5-S, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) improves symptoms of heartburn. Also, using another combination product containing German chamomile and other ingredients (STW 5-II, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) improves heartburn by 40% when compared to a placebo treatment.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Skin irritation (dermatitis). Applying German chamomile cream (Kamillosan, AP Medical AB, Stockholm, Sweden) to the skin does not seem to prevent skin irritation caused by cancer radiation therapy.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Common cold. Early research suggests that dissolving a German chamomile product (Kneipp Kamillen-Konzentrat, Kneipp Werke) in hot water and inhaling the steam for 10 minutes reduces common cold symptoms.
  • Inflamed or irritated skin (eczema). Some research shows that applying a cream containing 2% German chamomile extract (Kamillosan, Asta Medica AG) to the skin improves inflamed or irritated skin. In fact, it might work better than creams containing 0.75% fluocortin butyl ester or 5% bufexamac. However, other research shows that applying a cream containing 10% German chamomile extract does not improve inflamed or irritated skin. The differences in effectiveness might be related to differences in creams used and the severity of eczema in patients.
  • Gum disease. Research shows that using an herbal toothpaste containing German chamomile, sage, myrrh eucalyptus, calcium carbonate, and sodium monoflurophosphate twice daily for 30 days reduces gum disease compared to pretreatment. But it doesn't appear to work better than standard toothpaste.
  • Hemorrhoids. Early research shows that applying German chamomile ointment (Kamillosan, Asta Medica AG) together with standard treatment improves bleeding, itching, and burning in people with hemorrhoids.
  • Insomnia. Research shows that taking German chamomile twice daily for 28 days does not improve sleeping problems in people with insomnia.
  • Swelling and deterioration of the mouth lining (oral mucositis). Using a German chamomile mouth rinse (Kamillosan Liquidum, Asta Media AG) might help prevent or treat swelling or deterioration of the mouth lining caused by radiation therapy and some types of chemotherapy. However, it doesn't appear to prevent swelling and deterioration of the mouth lining caused by 5-fluorouracil.
  • Skin breakdown around colostomy appliances (peristomal lesions). Early research shows that applying a German chamomile compress to areas of skin breakdown around colostomy appliances decreases the amount of time needed for skin lesions to heal by about 5 to 6 days compared to applying 1% hydrocortisone cream.
  • Vaginal infection (vaginitis). Early research shows that flushing the vagina with a German chamomile extract in water reduces symptoms such as odor and swelling in women with vaginal infections.
  • Wound healing. Research shows that applying a German chamomile product (Kamille Spitzner, W. Spitzner Arzneimittelfabrik GmbH) to wounds for 14 days reduces wound size after 4 days of treatment but does not affect wound healing approximately 3 weeks after tattoo removal.
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Hay fever.
  • Intestinal gas.
  • Menstrual cramps.
  • Nasal swelling (inflammation).
  • Restlessness.
  • Stomach and intestinal disorders.
  • Travel sickness.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of German chamomile for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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