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Title: Chamomile  
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Subject: Matricaria chamomilla, List of Dacian plant names, Aromatherapy, Insomnia, Featured picture candidates/Chamomile@original size.jpg
Collection: Medicinal Plants, Plant Common Names
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German chamomile
Roman chamomile

Chamomile or camomile ( or )[1] is the common name for several daisy-like plants of the family Asteraceae that are commonly used to make herb infusions to serve various medicinal purposes. Popular uses of chamomile preparations include treating hay fever, inflammation, muscle spasm, menstrual disorders, insomnia, ulcers, gastrointestinal disorder, and hemorrhoids.[2]


  • Etymology 1
  • Species 2
  • Medical use 3
  • Pharmacology 4
  • Drug interactions 5
  • Adverse reactions 6
  • Pregnancy/Lactation 7
  • Cosmetic applications 8
  • Agriculture 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


The word "chamomile" derives, via French and Latin, from Greek χαμαίμηλον (khamaimēlon), i.e. "earth apple", from χαμαί (khamai) "on the ground" and μῆλον (mēlon) "apple".[3][4] The more common British spelling "camomile," is the older in English, while the spelling "chamomile" corresponds to the Latin and Greek source.[5] The spelling camomile more accurately corresponds to the more immediate derivation from French.[6]


Some commonly-used species include:

  • Matricaria chamomilla (also known as Matricaria recutita),[7] German chamomile[8] or wild chamomile, the most commonly-used species
  • Chamaemelum nobile, Roman, English or garden chamomile, also frequently used,[8] (C. nobile ‘Treneague’ is normally used to create a camomile lawn).[9]
Loose leaf chamomile tea

A number of other species' common names include the word "chamomile". This does not mean they are used in the same manner as the species used in the herbal tea known as "chamomile." Plants including the common name "chamomile," of the family Asteraceae, are:

Medical use

Chamomile has been used for inflammation associated with hemorrhoids when topically applied.[10] There is Level B evidence that chamomile possesses anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties and could be used to treat stress and insomnia.[7] In 2009, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania concluded the first controlled clinical trial of chamomile extract for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The results suggest chamomile may have modest anxiolytic activity in patients with mild to moderate GAD, although the results have not since been replicated.[11] Chemical components of chamomile extract have demonstrated anti-inflammatory,[2][12] antihyperglycemic,[2] antigenotoxic,[13] and anticancer properties[2] when examined in vitro and in animal studies.[14]


Major chemical compounds present within chamomile include apigenin and alpha-bisabolol.[2][7] Other compounds in chamomile include: sesquiterpenes, terpenoids, flavonoids, coumarins such as herniarin and umbelliferone, phenylpropanoids such as chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid, flavones such as apigenin and luteolin, flavanols such as quercetin and rutin, and polyacetylenes.[2][10] Apigenin has demonstrated chemopreventive effects against cancer cells in the laboratory,[15] and alpha-bisabolol has been shown to have antiseptic properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and reduces pepsin secretion without altering secretion of stomach acid.[10]

Anticancer effect – Studies have shown that chamomile extracts have in vitro growth inhibitory effects on cancer cells in skin, prostate, breast, ovarian, prostate cancer cell lines with minimal effects on normal cells.[2]

Anticoagulant effect – Coumarin compounds in chamomile such as herniarin and umbelliferone may have blood-thinning properties. However the mechanism is not well understood.[16]

Antiinflammatory effect – Several chemical constituents of chamomile such as bisabolol, chamazulene, apigenin, and loteolin possess anti-inflammatory properties although exact mechanism is not well characterized.[2]

Antimicrobial effects – Chamazulene, alpha-bisabolol, flavonoids, and umbelliferone have antifungal activities. A number of in vitro studies showed chamomile’s antimycobacteria activity, inhibition of the growth of poliovirus and herpes virus,[17] blockage of aggregation of Helicobacter pylori and numerous strains of Escherichia coli. Chamomile oil was demonstrated in studies to be effective against gram-positive bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus salivarius, and Bacillus species.[18]

Antispasmodic/antidiarrheal effects – Bisabolol and flavonoids have demonstrated antispasmodic effects in animal experiments. In human studies, chamomile tea in combination with other herbs (vervain, licorice, fennel, balm mint) was shown to be effective in treating colic in children. Flavonoids and coumarins are considered smooth muscle relaxants.[2][19]

CNS/sensory effects - Chemical compounds present within chamomile bind to GABA receptors, modulate monoamine neurotransmission, and have neuroendocrine effects.[7]

Drug interactions

Apigenin and other compounds may interact with medications causing drug-drug interactions. Some of the possible interactions include those with antiplatelet agents, anticoagulant agents, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents. Apigenin was found to interact with antiarrhythmic agents and antihypertensive agents in animal research. Other interactions include those against sedative agents, antibiotic agents, and antianxiety agents. Remarkable symptoms are exacerbation of effects of these agents that are used in combination with chamomile.

Adverse reactions

People who are allergic to ragweed (also in the daisy family) may also be allergic to chamomile, due to cross-reactivity.[12][20] However, there is still some debate as to whether people with reported allergies to chamomile were actually exposed to chamomile and not a plant of similar appearance.[2][8]


Because chamomile has been known to cause uterine contractions that can invoke miscarriage, the U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends that pregnant and nursing mothers not consume Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).[21]

Cosmetic applications

Chamomile is frequently added to skin cosmetics to serve as an emollient, and for its anti-inflammatory effects. Chamomile is also often used to enhance the color of blonde hair.[12]


The chamomile plant is known to be susceptible to many fungi, insects, and viruses. Fungi such as Albugo tragopogonis (white rust), Cylindrosporium matricariae, Erysiphe cichoracearum (powdery mildew), and Sphaerotheca macularis (powdery mildew) are known pathogens of the chamomile plant.[10] Aphids have been observed feeding on chamomile plants and the moth Autographa chryson causes defoliation.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "chamomile". Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Srivastava, JK; Shankar, E; Gupta, S (November 2010). "Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future". Molecular medicine reports 3 (6): 895–901.  
  3. ^ χαμαίμηλον. Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project
  4. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". 
  5. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, online edition, entry "camomile | chamomile"
  6. ^ "Chamomile - Define Chamomile at". 
  7. ^ a b c d Sarris, J; Panossian, A; Schweitzer, I; Stough, C; Scholey, A (December 2011). "Herbal medicine for depression, anxiety, and insomnia: a review of psychopharmacology and clinical evidence". European neuropsychopharmacology 21 (12): 841–860.  
  8. ^ a b c "Chamomile". NYU Langone Medical Center. 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "Camomile lawn". Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Singh, O; Khanam, Z; Misra, N; Srivastava, MK (January 2011). "Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.): An overview.". Pharmacognosy reviews 5 (9): 82–95.  
  11. ^ Amsterdam JD, Li Y, Soeller I, Rockwell K, Mao JJ, Shults J (2009-08-29). "A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder.". Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 29 (4): 378–82.  
  12. ^ a b c Baumann, LS (2007). "Less-known botanical cosmeceuticals". Dermatologic therapy 20 (5): 330–342.  
  13. ^ Hernández-Ceruelos, A; Madrigal-Bujaidar, E; De La Cruz, C (2002). "Inhibitory effect of chamomile essential oil on the sister chromatid exchanges induced by daunorubicin and methyl methanesulfonate in mouse bone marrow".  
  14. ^ "Chamomile (German) | Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center". 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  15. ^ Patel, Deendayal; Shukla, Sanjeev; Gupta, Sanjay (2007). "Apigenin and cancer chemoprevention: Progress, potential and promise (Review)". International Journal of Oncology 30 (1): 233–45.  
  16. ^ Miller, LG (1998). "Herbal medicinals: selected clinical considerations focusing on known or potential drug-herb interactions". Arch intern Med. 158 (20): 220–2211.  
  17. ^ Suganda, AG; Amoros, M; Girre, L; Fauconnier, B (October 1983). "Inhibitory effects of some crude and semi-purified extracts of indigenous French plants on the multiplication of human herpesvirus 1 and poliovirus 2 in cell culture". Journal of Natural Product 46 (5): 626–632.  
  18. ^ Aggag, ME; Yousef, RT (Sep 1972). "Study of antimicrobial activity of chamomile oil". Planta Med 22 (2): 140–144.  
  19. ^ Gardiner, P (2007). "Complementary, Holistic, and Integrative Medicine: Chamomile". Pediatric Review 28 (4): 16–18.  
  20. ^ National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2012). "Chamomile". National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  21. ^ "Roman chamomile: MedlinePlus". MedlinePlus. National Institutes of Health. 2012-02-16. Retrieved 2014-08-30. 

External links

  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita, Chamaemelum nobile) medical and therapeutic information on MedlinePlus
  • Chamomile fact sheet, NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
  • Roman chamomile, the National Cancer Institute
  • PLANTS Profile: Anthemis tinctoria L. (golden chamomile), USDA
  • Texts on Wikisource:
    • "Chamomile".  
    • "Chamomile".  
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