Azulene, named after the Spanish word for "blue," azul, is an organic compound derived from the steam distillation of chamomile; Tanacetum anuum, or blue tansy; Anthemis nobilis, or Roman chamomile; or Achillea millefolium, or yarrow. The oil obtained from this steam distillation is often found in products used topically, such as skincare products and some cosmetics. It is widely regarded as a useful ingredient for both its lustrous blue color and wide array of healing properties.
This compound dates to the 15th century, when it was derived from the steam distillation of German chamomile. It was later discovered to be present in several other plants, including yarrow and blue tansy, during the late 1800s. It was officially named in 1863 by English perfumer Septimus Piesse, and it has been used over the centuries in various herbal remedies.
As an additive to its use in salves and ointments, azulene is thought to assist in calming a wide variety of skin irritations and conditions because of its soothing properties, anti-inflammatory effects and antibacterial properties. Azulene can be found as an ingredient in bath salts, cosmetics, shaving creams and other topicals to help prevent or soothe minor skin irritations. It is believed to assist in cell regeneration, so the oil is often found in skin care products used to combat wrinkles and skin blemishes.
Azulene is an herbal ingredient used topically, and many of its properties are thought to be derived from the chamomile plant, through which it is distilled. Chamomile is a common name used to refer to several daisy-like plants that are most well known for their ability to be used in teas. Chamomile has long been thought to be useful as a sleep aid, though some people claim that it has other useful benefits that help in the healing of a variety of other ailments. Azulene is also derived from yarrow, a flowering plant believed to have natural astringent properties, and blue tansy, another flowering plant believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.
There is limited scientific data regarding the safe use of azulene or any of the related herbal plants in any product. Caution should be exercised when one uses any of the ingredients or products that contain those ingredients. Rare allergic reactions can and do occur, so a physician should be consulted before any of these products are used, especially by pregnant or nursing women or by anyone currently taking other medications.