Psychopharmacological profile of Chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.) essential oil in mice

Phytomedicine. 2012 Feb 15;19(3-4):306-10. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2011.10.001. Epub 2011 Nov 8.


In this study, the effect of Matricaria recutita L. essential oil (MEO) on the central nervous system (CNS) of mice was investigated using some behavioral methods. Chemical profiling both by GC and GC-MS analyses of the hydrodistilled essential oil of M. recutita revealed α-bisabolol oxide A (28%), α-bisabolol oxide B (17.1%), (Z)-β-Farnesene (15.9%) and α-bisabolol (6.8%) as the main components. Changes induced by MEO (25, 50 and 100 mg/kg) and reference drug caffeine (25 mg/kg) in spontaneous locomotor activities and motor coordinations of mice were investigated by activity cage measurements and Rota-Rod tests, respectively. Open field, social interaction and elevated plus-maze tests were applied to assess the emotional state of the animals. Further, tail-suspension test was performed for evaluating the effect of MEO on depression levels of mice. As a result, at 50 and 100 mg/kg, MEO significantly increased the numbers of spontaneous locomotor activities, exhibited anxiogenic effect in the open field, elevated plus-maze and social interaction tests and decreased the immobility times of animals in tail suspension tests. The falling latencies in Rota-Rod tests did not change. This activity profile of MEO was similar to the typical psychostimulant caffeine. The exact mechanism of action underlying this stimulant-like effect should be clarified with further detailed studies.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Exploratory Behavior / drug effects
  • Flowers / chemistry
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Male
  • Matricaria / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Monocyclic Sesquiterpenes
  • Motor Activity
  • Oils, Volatile / administration & dosage
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Psychotropic Drugs / chemistry
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacology*
  • Sesquiterpenes / chemistry
  • Sesquiterpenes / pharmacology


  • Monocyclic Sesquiterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • beta-farnesene
  • bisabolol