By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 2 February 2015)
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (2011), chamomile has been used traditionally to treat various problems, ranging from frayed nerves to stomach upsets to skin conditions. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many studies conducted into its anti-anxiety effects. However, a few researchers have explored the use of chamomile for anxiety reduction.
Amsterdam et al. (2009) completed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled 8-week study of chamomile supplementation for generalized anxiety disorder, finding that chamomile yielded statistically significant reductions in anxiety compared to a placebo. Chamomile was also well-tolerated by subjects (meaning that they did not suffer any major adverse side effects). Amsterdam et al. (2012) found similar effects in a more recent study as well. There have also been some animal studies in which anti-anxiety effects occurred after chamomile supplementation (Head & Kelly, 2009).
Chamomile Supplements for Anxiety
Available in capsules, teas, and tinctures, chamomile is a popular anti-anxiety remedy. Reviews of chamomile supplements and teas on Amazon and other sites where such products are commercially available are largely positive, suggesting that many people are happy with the benefits they receive from this herb, though there are some exceptions.
Chamomile is considered safe for most people, but according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (2011), there are a number of precautions for chamomile use:
- Chamomile may increase the risk of miscarriage for pregnant women.
- Chamomile may worsen asthma symptoms.
- Chamomile can cause drowsiness, so you shouldn’t take it before driving or operating heavy machinery.
- Don’t take chamomile within at least two weeks of surgery (including dental surgery).
- Those who have allergies to ragweed, daisies, chrysanthemums, or asters may be allergic to chamomile.
- Chamomile can interact with certain medications.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (2012) also notes that in excessively large amounts, chamomile can induce vomiting.
To be on the safe side, always consult a doctor before taking herbal supplements.
Other Natural Anxiety Remedies
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychiatric advice. Medical concerns should be referred to a qualified doctor.
- Amsterdam, J. D.; Shults, J.; Soeller, I.; Mao, J. J.; Rockwell, K.; & Newberg, A. (2012). “B. Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita) May Provide Antidepressant Activity in Anxious, Depressed Humans: An Exploratory Study.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 18(5), 44-49.
- Amsterdam, J.D.; Yimei, L.; Soeller, I.; Rockwell, K.; Mao, J.J.; & Shults, J. (2009). “A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Oral Matricaria Recutita (Chamomile) Extract Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.” Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 29(4), 378-382.
- Griffin, R.M. (Reviewed by D. Kiefer, MD, 2010, November 28). “Chamomile.” WebMD.com.
- Head, K.A., ND, & Kelly, G.S., ND. (2009). “Nutrients and Botanicals for Treatment of Stress: Adrenal Fatigue, Neurotransmitter Imbalance, Anxiety, and Restless Sleep.” Alternative Medicine Review, 14(2), 116-140).
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (2009, August 3). “Study Shows Chamomile Capsules Ease Anxiety Symptoms.” NCAM.NIH.gov.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. (2012, February 16). “Roman Chamomile.” MedinePlus, NLM.NIH.gov.MedlinePlus.
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2011). “German Chamomile” and “Roman Chamomile.” UMM.edu.