Chamomile (American English) or camomile (British English; see spelling differences) (/ˈkæməˌmaɪl, -ˌmiːl/ KAM-ə-myl or KAM-ə-meel) is the common name for several daisy-like plants of the family Asteraceae. Two of the species are commonly used to make herbal infusions for medicinal uses, although there is no high-quality evidence for health benefits from consuming chamomile tea.
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". The spelling "chamomile" corresponds to the Latin and Greek source. The spelling "camomile" is a British derivation from the French.
Some commonly used species include:
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:
Chamomile tea is an herbal infusion made from dried chamomile flowers and hot water. Two types of chamomile used are German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).
The main constituents of chamomile flowers are polyphenol compounds, including apigenin, quercetin, patuletin, and luteolin. Essential oil components extracted from the flowers are terpenoids. Chamomile is under preliminary research for its potential anti-anxiety properties. Chemical compounds present within chamomile include numerous polyphenols which have unknown effects in humans.
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.
While chamomile exhibits some anti-inflammatory effects by itself, it is not recommended that it be taken concurrently with Aspirin or non-salicylate NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) as it is unknown if a clinically significant herb-drug interaction exists.
"Chamomile consists of several ingredients including coumarin, glycoside, herniarin, flavonoid, farnesol, nerolidol and germacranolide. Despite the presence of coumarin, as chamomiles effect on the coagulation system has not yet been studied, it is unknown if a clinically significant drug-herb interaction exists with antiplatelet/anticoagulant drugs. However, until more information is available, it is not recommended to use these substances concurrently."
People who are allergic to ragweed (also in the daisy family) may be allergic to chamomile due to cross-reactivity.
Because chamomile has been known to cause uterine contractions that can invoke miscarriage, pregnant and nursing mothers are advised to not consume Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).
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. Aphids have been observed feeding on chamomile plants and the moth Autographa chryson causes defoliation.
In The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (in 1902), the author refers to chamomile tea given to Peter after being chased by Mr. McGregor.