Two distinct plants are known as chamomile
and are used interchangeably: German and
Roman chamomile. Although botanically far
apart, they both look like miniature daisies
and appear to possess similar medicinal benefits.
It has been suggested chamomile’s reported effect
is due to the constituents of its bright blue oil, including
chamazulene, alphabisabolol, and bisaboloxides.
However, the water-soluble part of chamomile may play
a role too, especially in soothing stomach upset.
Chamomile is useful for digestive disturbances,
especially if they occur from nervousness (irritable
bowel disorder). Due to the number of chemicals
contained in chamomile, this herb can be effective in
inflammatory bowel disease and other gastrointestinal
disorders, such as pets with excessive intestinal gas.
It might help protect the stomach against irritation
caused by anti-inflammatory drugs.
Concentrated alcohol extracts of chamomile
are also sometimes used to treat the pain caused by
various forms of arthritis. And, it is common practice in
Germany for individuals with asthma or other breathing
problems to inhale the steam from boiling chamomile
and other herbs.
Chamomile is often recommended as an herbal
dewormer for pets with worms, especially roundworms
and whipworms, and is safer than other dewormers
(wormwood, black walnut).
Chamomile is useful for pets with nervousness and
anxiety. Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory herb that
is also useful for its antimicrobial properties (for pets
with skin infections) and for its ability to heal wounds.
Chamomile can be used as a cooled infusion
preparation applied topically to inflamed or infected
skin, and applied topically to the eye for pets with
Avoid using German chamomile in pregnant animals as
it may cause abortion. Usually considered a safe herb,
the rare pet may be allergic to chamomile, especially
those allergic to ragweed, so a small amount should
be applied to the skin first to check for inflammation,
hives, or other signs of sensitivity. If no reaction occurs,
feed a small amount and watch for vomiting, diarrhea,
or hives. If no reaction occurs, use as directed by your
Chamomile also contains naturally occurring
coumarin compounds that can act as “blood
thinners.” Excessive use of chamomile is therefore
not recommended when taking prescription anticoagulants.
Safety in young children, pregnant or
nursing women, or those with liver or kidney disease
has not been established, although there have not been
any credible reports of toxicity caused by this common
beverage tea. Similar precautions should probably be
observed in pets.