Herbs offer natural methods for maintaining health and treating ailments, and among herbal teas, chamomile is one of the safest and mildest. Consumed in moderation, chamomile rarely causes problems, but the risk of side effects increases, proportionally, with excess use. Talk to your doctor before adding any herbal tea or supplement to your diet to ensure that the herb is safe for you, and discontinue use if you develop any side effects.
There are two types of chamomile, German and Roman, although German chamomile, or Matricaria recutita, is the official medicinal chamomile, according to NYU Langone Medical Center. If you buy chamomile tea at your grocer or health food store, you will be purchasing German chamomile. Growers harvest the blossoms for use in making herbal tea.
Chamomile contains volatile oils, flavonoids, coumarins, fatty acids, glycosides and salicylic derivatives that may be responsible for the herbs antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and sedative properties.
The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests preparing an herbal tea by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over up to 3 tsp. of dried chamomile and steeping up to 15 minutes before straining. You may drink up to 4 cups of chamomile tea, preferably between meals.
German chamomile is probably safe for most people when consumed at the recommended dosage. Drinking more tea than recommended, however, puts you at risk of side effects, which include vomiting and the potential to trigger an asthma attack if you are asthmatic.
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Pregnant women should not drink chamomile tea, due to a slight risk of miscarriage, reports the University. People who are allergic to ragweed, asters or daisies, might also be allergic to chamomile, even in small amounts. Chamomile may interfere with current medications youre taking, including sedatives, blood-thinners and drugs that break down when exposed to liver enzymes, such as birth control pills, statins and some antifungal drugs.
Herbal remedies cannot replace professional medical advice, so talk to your doctor before exceeding the recommended amount of chamomile tea or any other herbal product.