In this study, we report the synthesis of copper oxide nanoparticles (CuO NPs) using a medicinal plant (Matricaria chamomilla) flower extract as both reducing and capping agent and investigate their antioxidant activity and interaction with plasmid DNA (pBR322). The CuO NPs were characterized using Uv-Vis spectroscopy, FT-IR (Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy), DLS (dynamic light scattering), XRD (X-ray diffraction), EDX (energy-dispersive X-ray) spectroscopy and SEM (scanning electron microscopy). The CuO NPs exhibited nearly mono-distributed and spherical shapes with diameters of 140 nm size. UV-Vis absorption spectrum of CuO NPs gave a broad peak around 285 and 320 nm. The existence of functional groups on the surface of CuO NPs was characterized with FT-IR analysis. XRD pattern showed that the NPs are in the form of a face-centered cubic crystal. Zeta potential value was measured as 20 mV due to the presence of negatively charged functional groups in plant extract. Additionally, we demonstrated concentration-dependent antioxidant activity of CuO NPs and their interaction with plasmid DNA. We assumed that the CuO NPs both cleave and break DNA double helix structure. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.