How Is Chamomile Used for Social Anxiety?

Characteristics, Dosage, Interactions, Side Effects and Risks

Woman holding cup with chamomile tea
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Chamomile, a flower in the daisy family, is a dietary supplement popular for a variety of uses including sleep problems, anxiety, digestive upset, mouth sores, skin infections, wound healing, colic, and diaper rash.

Chamomile has been used for thousands of years, including by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans. You've probably most often used chamomile in the form of chamomile tea—one of its most popular uses. While many people find it to be relaxing before bed or when feeling anxious, not much research has been conducted on its effectiveness for these uses.


German chamomile (matricaria recutita) is the focus of most scientific research and is available almost everywhere except for England, where Roman chamomile (chamaemelum nobile) is popular. In North America, chamomile is most often found prepared as an herbal tea to aid in sleep.

Research suggests that chamomile may have a number of health benefits including: 

  • Decreasing skin irritation
  • Lowering depression and anxiety
  • Improving sleep
  • Improving wound healing
  • Providing pain relief
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Reduced gastrointestinal upset

How to Take It

Chamomile is available as capsules, liquid extracts, tinctures, teas and topical creams among other preparations.

Dosage Guidelines

Always read the product label for dosing instructions and consult a healthcare provider if necessary.

For adults, the recommended doses are the following:

  • Capsules: 400 to 1600 mg in divided doses daily
  • Liquid extract: 1 to 4 ml three times daily
  • Tincture: 15 ml three to four times daily
  • Tea: 1 to 4 cups of tea per day

There is not enough scientific evidence to recommend the use of chamomile in children.

Who Should Not Take It

The following groups of people should avoid the use of chamomile:

  • Those with allergies to plants in the daisy family such as aster, chrysanthemum, ragweed, marigold, and daisy
  • Those with bleeding disorders and those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding
  • Pregnant and nursing women because chamomile may act as a uterine stimulant or lead to the fetus being aborted

Medication Interactions

In general, more research is needed to fully evaluate medication interactions for chamomile. There are a number of potential interactions with medications and other dietary supplements. Before using chamomile, consult a medical professional about potential interactions with other products or medications you are using.

Some common interactive effects include the following:

  • Drowsiness when combined with benzodiazepines, barbiturates, narcotics, anti-seizure medications, some antidepressants, and alcohol
  • Increased risk of bleeding if combined with blood thinners, ibuprofen, or naproxen
  • Risk if combined with medications that affect blood sugar or blood pressure
  • May interfere with the effectiveness of hormone therapy because chamomile is similar to estrogen

Side Effects

Reported side effects of using chamomile include:

  • Serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis, throat swelling, and shortness of breath
  • Skin allergic reactions such as eczema
  • Vomiting when taken in large doses

Effectiveness for SAD

In general, not enough scientific research has been conducted to support any of the many common uses of chamomile; however, exploratory studies in 2009 and 2012 by Amsterdam and colleagues demonstrated its potential usefulness for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and depression. Research is needed to determine whether there is a significant effect of chamomile for social anxiety disorder (SAD).

Risks Associated

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the production of herbs and supplements. Most herbs and supplements are not thoroughly tested, and there is no guarantee regarding the ingredients or safety of the products.

Although a number of potential side effects and interactions are presented here, the risks associated with chamomile have not been adequately studied. There has been no incidence found in the published literature of overdose.

6 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH). Chamomile.

  2. Amsterdam JD, Shults J, Soeller I, Mao JJ, Rockwell K, Newberg AB. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may provide antidepressant activity in anxious, depressed humans: an exploratory studyAltern Ther Health Med. 2012;18(5):44-49.

  3. Kazemian H, Ghafourian S, Sadeghifard N, Houshmandfar R, Badakhsh B, Taji A, Shavalipour A, Mohebi R, Ebrahim-Saraie HS, Houri H, Heidari H. In vivo Antibacterial and Wound Healing Activities of Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Infect Disord Drug Targets. 2018;18(1):41-45. doi:10.2174/1871526516666161230123133

  4. Sebai H, Jabri MA, Souli A, Rtibi K, Selmi S, Tebourbi O, El-Benna J, Sakly M. Antidiarrheal and antioxidant activities of chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.) decoction extract in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014;152(2):327-32. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2014.01.015

  5. Aronson JK. Meyler's Side Effects of Herbal Medicines. Elsevier; 2009.

  6. Amsterdam JD, Shults J, Soeller I, Mao JJ, Rockwell K, Newberg AB. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may provide antidepressant activity in anxious, depressed humans: an exploratory study. Altern Ther Health Med. 2012;18(5):44-9.

Additional Reading
  • Amsterdam JD, Li Y, Soeller I, Rockwell K, Mao JJ, Shults J. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2009;29(4):378-382. doi:10.1097/JCP.0b013e3181ac935c.
  • Amsterdam JD, Shults J, Soeller I, Mao JJ, Rockwell K, Newberg AB. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may provide antidepressant activity in anxious, depressed humans: an exploratory study. Altern Ther Health Med. 2012;18(5):44-49.
  • Medline Plus. Roman Chamomile
  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH). Chamomile
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. German Chamomile; 2015.

By Arlin Cuncic
Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety."