Matricaria chamomilla is an annual plant belonging to the Daisy family. It is the most popular source of the herbal product chamomile (American English) / camomile (British English), but this product can be made from other closely related species as well.

M. chamomilla grows in Europe and temperate Asia, and the species has also been introduced to other parts of the temperate world by man – including parts of North America, South America and Australia. It is often found in and near populated areas. Since the seeds need open soil to grow into plants, A. chamomilla is commonly seen where the soil has been disturbed, such as construction sites and along cultivated fields. It prefers to grow in full sun.

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Matricaria
Species: Matricaria chamomilla


Binomial name

Matricaria chamomilla


Chamomilla chamomilla (L.) Rydb.
Chamomilla recutita (L.) Rauschert
Matricaria recutita L.
Matricaria suaveolens L.


In English, M. chamomilla is known under several different names, including:

  • Wild chamomille
  • German chamomille
  • Hungarian chamomille
  • Italian chamomille
  • Scented mayweed

The plant

Height M. chamomilla grows to a height of 15 – 60 cm.
Stem Erect, smooth and branched
Leaves Long and narrow

Bipinnate or tripinnate

Flowers Flowers borne in paniculate flower heads (capitula)

Yellow disc florets + White ray florets

Hollow receptacle without scales

Strong aromatic scent

Blooming period Early summer to midsummer
Preferred soil type Sandy, well-draining soil with a pH of 7.0-7.5

Will tolerate many other soil types

The essential oil Chamazulene

Chamazulene can be derived from M. chamomilla using steam distillation. Chamazulene is a purified essential oil with a deep-blue colour. It is from the colour of this oil that the expression “chamomille blue” comes.

Chamazulene is an aromatic chemical compound with the chemical formula C14H16nbsp;. It is present in several different plants, including M. chamomilla, Artemisia absinthium (wormwood) and Achillea millefolium (yarrow).

In vivo, chamazulene has anti-inflammatory properties.

Chamazulene inhibits the CYP1A2 enzyme.

For more information, see:

Herbalism / traditional folk medicine

Matricaria chamomilla teaWithin the fields of herbalism and traditional folk medicine, M. chamomilla infusions are used to treat a variety of ailments, including:

  • Stomach upset
  • Iritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Non-severe cases of insomnia or trouble relaxing
  • Non-severe cases of constipation

M. chamomilla has mild laxative, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

When an infusion is made from M. chamomilla, dried flowers are typically left to steep for at least 10 minutes in tepid water. The cup is covered to avoid evaporation of the volatile oils.


Examples of compounds present in M. chamomilla:

  • Bisabolol (a terpene)
  • Farnesene
  • Chamazulene
  • Coumarin
  • Apigenin (a flavonoid)
  • Luteolin (a flavonoid)
  • Patuletin (a flavonoid)
  • Quercetin (a flavonoid)

For more information about the potential health benefits of chamomile, see: