Chamomile or camomile (British) is the name of several plants that resemble daisy in the family Asteraceae. While many species use the name, the species commonly used in preparing herbal infusions and traditional medicine are:
Chamaemelum nobile (English, Roman, low, or garden chamomile, ground apple, mother’s daisy, Anthemis nobilis, or Whig plant) native to Argentina, North America, and Europe.
Besides its medicinal use, it has used in flavoring food, herbal teas, cosmetics, perfumes, aromatherapy, making blond hair rinse, making a fragrant lawn, among others
Matricaria chamomilla (Water of Youth, Hungarian, wild, blue, or German chamomile, or scented mayweed), which is the most popular herbal source of this herb. It is native to eastern and southern Europe.
Can rabbits eat chamomile?
Yes. Rabbits can eat chamomile leaves, stems, and flowers as an occasional treat. Both dry and fresh leaves, flowers, and stems of German and Roman species are safe to your rabbits. Also, plain chamomile tea (without any other ingredient) is safe.
This herb has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, or antimicrobial properties as well as an antispasmodic. Also, it will help relieve pain and calm your bunny (anxiolytic) if it happens to be nervous.
A study on “Chamomile essential oil and its experimental application in rabbits” showed it “could be a new alternative way of disease prevention of bacteriological and protozoological origin in rabbit breeding,” and an indication that the essential oil is also safe.
Similarly, Riseandshinerabbitry.com notes that using chamomile tea and honey is one of the best eye wash for bunnies with weepy eyes. These two have antifungal, antibiotic, and antimicrobial properties. To prepare it, make a slightly stronger camomile tea than the one you drink and add about two teaspoons of honey.
Use an old syringe to squirt the mixture into their eye. Alternatively, use it to compress or wipe their eyes. It works magic. And if your bunny has sore hocks, this solution is an excellent choice to reduce pain and speed healing.
In humans, this herb or its essential oil may help reduce menstrual pain, lower blood sugar and treat diabetes, prevent or slow the progression of osteoporosis, minimize inflammation, treat some cancer types, aid in sleeping and relaxing, treat some cold symptoms, as well as manage minor skin conditions.
Also, since it has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, it will reduce pain and swelling when applied directly on the skin, and some herbalists use it to treats a sore stomach, for skincare, treating irritable bowel syndrome, lower cholesterol,
Offering chamomile to your bunnies
Like any other herb, let your bunny have about two twigs, once or twice a week. Just chop it and sprinkle it over their food. However, first, offer them a small piece to see if they like it or some. Some bunnies may love chamomile, while others may ignore it.
Similarly, you can let them drink a small amount of pure chamomile herbal tea without any other additives. However, please don’t use it therapeutically unless your vet allows you to do so since you need to know the right dosages as too much will be harmful to your furry friend.
Whether dry or fresh, go for organically grown sources or those grown without any harmful pesticides or herbicides. They are a safer choice.
Always ensure you know how to introduce any new food to your bunny properly. Usually, you need to start with a tiny amount and gradually increase it as you see how their bellies respond.
Even if they love this herb so much, don’t replace it with typical rabbit foods or diet, which is mainly grassy hay with a limited amount of fresh foods, pellets, and treats.
Besides the two types we looked at, other plants have the name but not used in herbal teas. They include Morrocan (Cladanthus mixtus), stinking (Anthemis cotula), and Cape chamomile (Eriocephalus punctulatus).
Others are pineapple weed or wild chamomile (Matricaria discoidea), Dyer’s golden, oxeye, or yellow chamomile (Cota tinctoria), wild, scentless or false chamomile (Tripleurospermum inodorum), and corn, scentless or field chamomile (Anthemis arvensis).
Our focus wasn’t on their safety to your bunnies. Kindly talk to your vet before offering any of the above species.
This herb may cause some drug interaction, especially anticoagulants, and NSAIDs and Chamaemelum nobile may induce uterine contractions.