Chamomile or camomile (// KAM-ə-meel or // KAM-ə-myl) is a common name for several daisy-like plants of the family Asteraceae. These plants are best known for their ability to be made into an infusion which is commonly used to help with sleep and is often served with honey or lemon, or both. Because chamomile can cause uterine contractions which can lead to miscarriage, the U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends that pregnant and nursing mothers should not consume chamomile. Individuals allergic to ragweed (also in the daisy family) may also be allergic to chamomile due to cross-reactivity. However, there is still some debate as to whether individuals with reported allergies to chamomile were truly exposed to chamomile or to a plant of similar appearance.
The word chamomile derives, via Latin, from Greek χαμαίμηλον, chamaimelon, i.e. "earth apple". The more common British spelling "camomile," is the older in English, while the spelling "chamomile" more accurately corresponds to the ultimate Latin and Greek source.
Some commonly used species include:
- Matricaria chamomilla (also known as Matricaria recutita), German chamomile or wild chamomile, the most commonly used species
- Chamaemelum nobile, Roman, English or garden chamomile, also frequently used
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:
- Anthemis arvensis, corn, scentless or field chamomile
- Anthemis cotula, stinking chamomile
- Cladanthus multicaulis, Moroccan chamomile
- Cota tinctoria, dyer's, golden, oxeye, or yellow chamomile
- Eriocephalus punctulatus, Cape chamomile
- Matricaria discoidea, wild chamomile or pineapple weed
- Tripleurospermum inodorum, wild, scentless or false chamomile
Medical use and pharmacology 
Chemical compounds present within chamomile have demonstrated the ability to bind GABA receptors, modulate monoamine neurotransmission, and have displayed neuroendocrine effects. Major chemical compounds present within chamomile include apigenin and alpha-bisabolol. There is Level B evidence to support the claim that chamomile possesses anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties and chamomile may have clinical applications in the treatment of stress and insomnia. Other classes of chemical compounds found within the chamomile plant 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. Alpha-bisabolol has been shown to have antiseptic properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and has also been demonstrated to reduce pepsin secretion without altering secretion of stomach acid. Umbelliferone has been shown to be fungistatic. Apigenin has demonstrated strong chemopreventive effects. Coumarin compounds present in chamomile such as herniarin and umbelliferone may have blood thinning properties and there is some evidence that chamomile may interact with other medications causing drug-drug interactions.
Chamomile has been used for inflammation associated with hemorrhoids when applied topically. Chemical components of chamomile extract have demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antihyperglycemic, antigenotoxic, and anticancer properties when examined in vitro and in animal studies.
Cosmetic applications 
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.
See also 
- chamomile reference.com
- 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. PMID 21132119.
- "Roman chamomile: MedlinePlus".
- Baumann, LS (2007). "Less-known botanical cosmeceuticals". Dermatologic therapy 20 (5): 330–342. PMID 18045358.
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2012). "Chamomile". National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- "Chamomile". NYU Langone Medical Center. 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
- χαμαίμηλον. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at Perseus Project
- camomile. Online Etymology Dictionary
- Oxford English Dictionary, online edition, entry "camomile | chamomile"
- 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. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2011.04.002. PMID 21601431.
- Singh, O; Khanam, Z; Misra, N; Srivastava, MK (January 2011). "Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.): An overview.". Pharmacognosy reviews 5 (9): 82–95. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.79103. PMID 22096322.
- Patel, Deendayal; Shukla, Sanjeev; Gupta, Sanjay (2007). "Apigenin and cancer chemoprevention: Progress, potential and promise (Review)". International Journal of Oncology 30 (1): 233–45. PMID 17143534.
- 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". Toxicology Letters 135 (1–2): 103–110. doi:10.1016/S0378-4274(02)00253-9. PMID 12243869.
- "Chamomile (German) | Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center". Mskcc.org. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- Chamomile (Matricaria recutita, Chamaemelum nobile) medical and therapeutic information on MedlinePlus
- Chamomile fact sheet, NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- Roman chamomile, the National Cancer Institute
- PLANTS Profile: Anthemis tinctoria L. (golden chamomile), USDA
- Texts on Wikisource: