Chamomile is an annual herb native to Europe and western Asia and naturalized in North America. A member of the daisy family (Asteraceae), chamomile has a round, branched stem, which grows to approximately half a meter in height, and pale green, feathery leaves. The flowers very much resemble daisies, with deep yellow central disks surrounded by white rays. The flower heads, harvested when the flowers are mature and expanded, are dried and used for health purposes.
Chamomile contains volatile oils, flavonoids (including apigenin), coumarins, and mucilages.
Chamomile is most often consumed as a tea, which can be made by pouring a cup of boiling water over a heaping tablespoon of the herb and allowing it to steep for five to ten minutes. For gastrointestinal complaints a typical dosage recommendation is three or four cups per day between meals. Liquid extracts and capsules normally have dosage recommendations printed on the label. Chamomile has no known toxicity or negative side effects; however, it may cause allergic reactions in some individuals, particularly those with hay fever.