Botanical name Tanacetum annum
Processing Method Steam Distillation
Color/Consistency A deep blue to bluish-green liquid with a medium viscosity.
Aromatic Summary / Note / Strength of Aroma A medium middle note, Chamomile Essential Oil has an herbaceous fragrance similar to that of freshly mown straw, only with a dry, almost bittersweet note.
Blends With Bergamot, Clary Sage, Lavender, Geranium, Jasmine, Neroli, Patchouli, Tea Tree, Rose, lemon and Ylang-Ylang.
Higher proportion of chamomile drug of Hungary originates from wild collection. The Hungaricum quality drug collected in the Great Plain region has outstanding properties due to the unique ecological conditions of the habitat and probably to the populations adapted to it, as well.
Chamomile is an annual native of Europe and Western Asia, growing to 90-125 cm high with very hairy leaves and tubular yellow flowers, surrounded by white ligulets. The word 'chamomile' comes from the Greek word chamomaela or ground apple, referring to the fact that the plant grows low to the ground, and the fresh blooms have a pleasing apple-scent. In use for centuries, chamomile was a symbol of the omnipotence of the Egyptian god, Ra; to the Saxons it was one of nine sacred herbs; and in Europe during the Middle Ages it was used as a strewing herb.
Roman chamomile is mainly grown in England, and there are some areas in continental Europe and the United States that also distill the oil. In 1785, Carlo Allioni, an Italian botanist, placed what we know as Chamomile in the genus Chamaemelum, naming Anthemis nobilis as Chamaemelum nobile, thus furthering the confusion about chamomiles.
Dilute before use; May cause skin irritation in some individuals, and should be avoided by those allergic to ragweed; a skin test is recommended prior to use. Contact with eyes should be avoided.
a-Bisabolol oxide A 44.7–53.6%
a-Bisabolol oxide B 9.5–13.5%
a-Bisabolone oxide 8.5–12.0%
(Z) & (E)-Spiroethers 5.9–7.0%
Quality Blue chamomile oil is prone to oxidation, and should be stored in light-tight, cold conditions. Blue chamomile oil may be adulterated with synthetic and natural mixtures containing bisabolol and azulenes.
Hazards Drug interaction.
Cautions (all routes) Drugs metabolized by CYP2D6 (Appendix B).
Cautions (oral) Drugs metabolized by CYP1A2, CYP2C9 or CYP3A4
Regulatory guidelines Has GRAS status.
Adverse skin reactions Undiluted blue chamomile oil was moderately irritating to rabbits, but was not irritating to mice; tested at 4% on 25 volunteers it was neither irritating nor sensitizing. It is non-phototoxic. In a study of 200 consecutive dermatitis patients, one was sensitive to 2% blue chamomile oil on patch testing.
Reproductive toxicity Since a-bisabolol was not teratogenic in rats at 1 mL/kg, adverse effects in pregnancy for chamomile oils high in a-bisabolol are unlikely.
Acute toxicity Blue chamomile oil acute oral LD50 in rats >5 g/kg; acute dermal LD50 in rabbits >5 g/kg. Mouse LD50 3.5 g/kg oral, 2.95 g/kg ip.
Antioxidant/pro-oxidant activity An Iranian blue chamomile oil, high in (E)-b-farnesene, chamazulene and guaiazulene, was an efficient inhibitor of lipid peroxidation.
Carcinogenic/anticarcinogenic potential Blue chamomile oil was cytotoxic to human prostate, lung and breast cancer cells with an IC50 of 0.07%. Blue chamomile oil is antimutagenic. It demonstrated a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on SCE formed by daunorubicin and methyl methanesulfonate with no toxic effects. Chamomile oil significantly induced glutathione S-transferase activity in mouse tissues. The oil contains no known carcinogens.
Drug interactions Since chamazulene, farnesene and abisabolol inhibit CYP2D6, there is a theoretical risk of interaction between all blue chamomile oil CTs and drugs metabolized by this enzyme. The a-bisabolol/(E)-b-farnesene CT may also inhibit CYP1A2, CYP2C9 or CYP3A4. Th a-bisabolol oxide A CT may inhibit CYP1A2.
Blue chamomile oils are produced in many parts of the world, and with greatly varying composition. The data above are given as six examples of this variation, which may represent chemotypes. The countries of origin are given for interest, but it should not be assumed that only one type of chamomile oil is available from each origin. They are ordered according to percentage of chamazulene. Chemotypes high in a-bisabolol are generally preferred for therapy.