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Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiulcer, sedative

Important Chemical Components:

Flowers: flavonoids (i.e., apigenin, quercetin, patuletin, luteolin, and their glucosides; isohamnetin), coumarins (herniarin and umbelliferone), mucilages, mono- and oligosaccharides

Essential oil of the flower: the terpenoids (-)-α-bisabolol and its oxides (α-bisabolol A and B), sesquiterpene lactones (anthocotulide), cadinene, farnesene, furfural, spathulenol, spiroethers, the proazulenes matricarin and matricine (also spelled “matricin”), and chamazulene (a transformation product of matricine)1–4

Origin Classification:

This ingredient is natural. Organic forms exist.

Personal Care Category:


Recommended for the following Baumann Skin Types:



Topical herbal drugs, including chamomile, have been used for centuries to treat skin conditions.5 Native to western and southern Europe, western Asia, and India, chamomile (also spelled “camomile”) is a sweet-scented flower belonging to the Asteraceae (or Compositae) family, also commonly known as the aster, daisy, or sunflower family. The Compositae family refers to plants in which the flower heads are a composite of individual flowers. They are also given the name Asteraceae because the flower heads are star-shaped (aster is Greek for star). Chamomile has been used as a medicinal herb worldwide for thousands of years.6,7 It remains one of the most widely used medicinal herbs as well as one of the most frequently studied plants.8

The generic designation “chamomile” is rooted in the Greek expressions khamai or chamos (on the ground, or ground) and melon (apple).9,10 There are two primary types of chamomile: Chamaemelum nobile (Roman chamomile, sometimes referred to as English chamomile) and Matricaria recutita, also known as Chamomilla recutita or Matricaria chamomilla (German chamomile, sometimes referred to as Hungarian chamomile, mayweed, sweet false chamomile, true chamomile, or wild chamomile).1,3,11–13 Roman chamomile is a low-growing perennial that emits an apple-like aroma when trod upon. German chamomile is a robust, self-seeding annual plant.

Both plants have been used for medicinal purposes, with Roman chamomile considered therapeutic for burns, bruises, boils, as well as small cuts and reputed to foster the natural healing of acne, dermatitis, and athlete’s foot. Compared to Roman chamomile, German chamomile contains a higher concentration of key active ingredients that have shown anti-inflammatory activity in vivo, namely the terpenoids chamazulene and α-bisabolol (also known as levomenol)4,14; therefore, German chamomile is the focus of this chapter. In Germany, chamomile is referred to as alles zutraut (“capable of anything”).15 Its traditional medical uses include inflammatory conditions such as eczema, gout, neuralgia, and rheumatic discomfort.1,12,16 Despite a long history of traditional use (Table 70-1), chamomile has only been subjected to the rigors of the scientific method during the past 40 years.

TABLE 70-1Pros and Cons of Chamomile

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