Chamomile

Food Type:
Age Suggestion: 12 months +
Nutrition Rating:How nutritious a food is with a focus on the specific nutrients babies need for optimal growth. The more nutritious a food, the more stars it will have.
Prep Time:How much time a food takes to prepare safely for a baby. The more time-consuming a food is to prepare safely, the more clocks it will have.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Poop Friendly:Whether a food has qualities that help baby poop. Yes
Common Allergen: No
Jump to Recipe ↓
a pile of dried chamomile flowers before being prepared for babies starting solids

When can babies have chamomile?

It is our professional opinion that chamomile may be introduced to children who are 12 months old and up. Botulism spores have occasionally been found in chamomile, more often in dried chamomile sold by weight, so opt for chamomile in tea bags when purchasing chamomile to share with young toddlers.1 2 Infant botulism is a rare, but potentially fatal illness, and babies under 12 months of age are most at risk.

Where does chamomile come from?

Chamomile is the common name for a family of wild asters whose spray of starry flowers smell of apples, bright and sweet. The flowers are often dried to make an herbal tea, but both the blooms and foliage can also be used to season food, from salads and soups, to refreshing beverages like chamomile lemonade, to desserts like chamomile ice cream. Like all plants, there are different varieties to try and many common names—babuna, mayweed, and pinhead to name a few. The information here pertains to one of the most common varieties—German chamomile. This variety originated in Europe and now grows all over the world, where it is cultivated as a source of food, medicine, and essential oil for aromatherapy, cosmetics, and other products.

Julian, 12 months, tastes chamomile tea for the first time.
Sebastián, 15 months, has a tea party with chamomile tea.
Adie, 23 months, tastes chamomile tea.

Is chamomile safe for babies?

There is limited research available on its safety in infants and nursing mothers, however, it is classified as “generally recognized as safe” for human consumption by the United States government.3 That said, it is important to note that a study found some sources of chamomile to contain botulism spores, particularly when in dried, loose-leaf form, so when serving to young toddlers, it is important to buy bagged chamomile or commercial preparations.4 Infant botulism is very rare, but can be fatal.

Is chamomile healthy for babies?

Yes, in moderation. In the amounts it is typically consumed, chamomile does not offer significant amounts of vitamins or minerals, but it does have anti-inflammatory properties and can aid digestion and relieve intestinal distress.5 6 7 It has also been used to help ease aches and pains associated with teething.

Is chamomile a common choking hazard for babies?

No. Chamomile in tea form is not a common choking hazard, though in theory, one could choke on any food or liquid. As always, be sure to create a safe eating environment and stay near baby during mealtime. For more information on choking, visit our sections on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with the list of common choking hazards.

Is chamomile a common allergen?

No. Allergies to chamomile are rare, though not unheard of. Chamomile is part of the same family of plants as ragweed, and as a result, individuals with ragweed allergy may be sensitive to chamomile.8 9 For sensitive babies, chamomile can worsen pre-existing eczema. While infrequent, there have been reports of serious allergic reactions to chamomile, so it’s best to introduce in small amounts.10 As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity on its own for the first few servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.

Can chamomile help babies with colic or digestive issues?

Current evidence suggests yes.11 12 Several multi-ingredient products containing German chamomile have been studied in infants and have been shown to be safe and often effective when it comes to improving colic symptoms. It is also possible that chamomile, in combination with certain other ingredients, can shorten diarrheal illnesses among children as well.13 Be sure to talk with your pediatric healthcare provider if you have any concerns about colic or baby’s digestive function.

How do you introduce chamomile to babies?

0 to 12 months old: Hold off on serving chamomile tea unless recommended by your child’s healthcare provider.

12 to 24 months old: At this age, offer no more than 4 ounces a day of lukewarm chamomile tea in an open cup or straw cup. For the reasons noted above, opt for pre-bagged tea rather than loose-leaf chamomile.

For more guidance on teaching baby to use a cup, check out our Cup Drinking FAQ page.

Recipe: Chamomile Tea

(12 months+)

cup of chamomile tea on table

Age: 12 months+

Ingredients

  • 1 chamomile tea bag
  • 1 cup water

Directions

  1. Bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  2. Cover and steep the chamomile in the hot water for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the tea bag and allow the tea to cool before serving to your child.
  4. Pour up to 4 ounces of chamomile tea into a cup for your child and the rest into yours. Serve and drink alongside your child to show how it’s done!

Flavor Pairings

Chamomile tea is mellow and light, with earthy floral notes and a sweet scent of apples. Season it with bold flavors like cinnamon, ginger, lemon, mint, or orange to balance its herbal taste. Try steeping in cream or milk or adding it to the cooking liquid when making grains like amaranth, oats, or quinoa to add a layer of bright grassiness to the food. Chamomile tea also tastes delicious on its own or when paired with sweet fruits like fig, lychee, or mango.

Reviewed by

A. Gilbaugh, RD, CNSC

J. Truppi, MSN, CNS

J. Sage, Herbalist

K. Grenawitzke, OTD, OTR/L, SCFES, IBCLC, CNT

K. Rappaport, OTR/L, MS, SCFES, IBCLC

Dr. S. Bajowala, MD, FAAAAI. Board-Certified Allergist & Immunologist (allergy section)

Dr. R. Ruiz, MD, FAAP. Board-Certified General Pediatrician & Pediatric Gastroenterologist

  1. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-. Chamomile. (Updated 2019 Jul 20)
  2. Bianco MI, Lúquez C, de Jong LI, Fernández RA. (2008). Presence of Clostridium botulinum spores in Matricaria chamomilla (chamomile) and its relationship with infant botulismInt J Food Microbiol. 121(3):357-360. doi:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2007.11.008. Retrieved February 23, 2022
  3. U.S. Food & Drug Administration Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). CFR-Code of Federal Regulations Title 21: Chapter 1, Subchapter B, Part 182—Substances Generally Recognized As Safe.
  4. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-. Chamomile. (Updated 2019 Jul 20).
  5. Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Molecular medicine reports, 3(6), 895–901. DOI:10.3892/mmr.2010.377. Retrieved October 8, 2020
  6. U.S. Food & Drug Administration Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). CFR-Code of Federal Regulations Title 21: Chapter 1, Subchapter B, Part 182—Substances Generally Recognized As Safe.
  7. Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Molecular medicine reports, 3(6), 895–901. DOI:10.3892/mmr.2010.377. Retrieved October 8, 2020
  8. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2020, May) Chamomile.
  9. Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Molecular medicine reports, 3(6), 895–901. DOI:10.3892/mmr.2010.377. Retrieved October 8, 2020
  10. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006–. Chamomile. 2019 Jul 20. PMID: 30000867.
  11. Martinelli M, Ummarino D, Giugliano FP, et al. (2017). Efficacy of a standardized extract of Matricariae chamomilla L., Melissa officinalis L. and tyndallized Lactobacillus acidophilus (HA122) in infantile colic: An open randomized controlled trialNeurogastroenterol Motil. 29(12):10.1111/nmo.13145. doi:10.1111/nmo.13145. Retrieved February 23, 2022
  12. Savino F, Cresi F, Castagno E, Silvestro L, Oggero R. (2005). A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of a standardized extract of Matricariae recutita, Foeniculum vulgare and Melissa officinalis (ColiMil) in the treatment of breastfed colicky infantsPhytother Res. 19(4):335-340. doi:10.1002/ptr.1668. Retrieved February 23, 2022
  13. Becker B, Kuhn U, Hardewig-Budny B. (2006). Double-blind, randomized evaluation of clinical efficacy and tolerability of an apple pectin-chamomile extract in children with unspecific diarrheaArzneimittelforschung. 56(6):387-393. doi:10.1055/s-0031-1296739. Retrieved February 23, 2022