Summary: Chamazulene is a chemical constituent found in Blue Tansy essential oil. It may be highly useful in protecting cells from stress caused by byproducts of normal cellular processes and managing the activity of molecules involved in a normal immune response.
The chemical constituents contained in essential oils play an indispensable role in determining their characteristics. Attributes of essential oils such as their biological activity, color, aroma, viscosity, and volatility are all due to the constituents they contain. For example, the distinct lemony smell in Lemon essential oil is due to one of its main constituents, limonene. Menthol, the primary constituent of Peppermint essential oil, is the compound responsible for Peppermint’s signature cooling sensation.
The most distinctive characteristic of Blue Tansy essential oil is hinted at by its name. It has a vibrant blue color. This characteristic is due to one of the main chemical constituents of Blue Tansy essential oil: chamazulene. A close look at the etymology behind the name “chamazulene” is very telling about this constituent. “Cham” refers to chamomile, in which chamazulene was first discovered, and “azulene” is in reference to the indigo blue compound from which chamazulene is derived. Chamazulene is a sesquiterpene found in Blue Tansy essential oil, as well as Chamomile and Yarrow essential oils.
Uses and Benefits
Chamazulene interacts with the cells of the body in a few notable ways. Perhaps the most extensively researched property of chamazulene is its free radical scavenging activities.1–3 Free radical scavengers help maintain a safe cellular level of free radicals, which are small, ultra-reactive molecules. Free radical scavengers ensure that free radicals will not cause an unfavorable chemical reaction.
The free radical scavenging activity of chamazulene prevents free radicals from wreaking havoc on a variety of other healthy biological molecules. A March 2018 study showed that chamazulene helps reduce levels of dangerous oxygen-containing free radicals, known as reactive oxygen species (ROS).3 ROS are natural byproducts of the metabolism of oxygen, but they are highly reactive. If they occur in unmanageable levels, they can inflict cellular stress. Because chamazulene helps attenuate ROS levels, it may lend protection.
Chamazulene also has antioxidant activities, another measure that can keep free radicals at a manageable level.3–6 Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a process that may create even more free radicals. Because chamazulene has antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties, it may be useful in protecting cells from free radicals and promoting overall cellular health.*
Besides keeping free radicals at bay, chamazulene may help promote a healthy cellular response to stress. During the body’s response to physical stressors or a foreign substance, cells produce a particular protein at higher levels than usual. When chamazulene interacts with this protein, it causes the protein’s biological activity to change, rendering the protein inert.7 This suggests that chamazulene can play a role in keeping certain cellular responses healthy.
Chamazulene is a main constituent in Blue Tansy essential oil, and it is the compound responsible for Blue Tansy’s signature blue color. Chamazulene may offer protection to cells by managing the levels of reactive molecules produced by normal metabolism. It may also promote a healthy immune response.*