The present study assessed the chemical composition, antioxidant properties, and hepatoprotective effects of subacute pre-treatment with chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.) decoction extract (CDE) against ethanol (EtOH)-induced oxidative stress in rats. The colorimetric analysis demonstrated that the CDE is rich in total polyphenols, total flavonoids and condensed tannins, and exhibited an important in vitro antioxidant activity. The use of LC/MS technique allowed us to identify 10 phenolic compounds in CDE. We found that CDE pretreatment, in vivo, protected against EtOH-induced liver injury evident by plasma transaminases activity and preservation of the hepatic tissue structure. The CDE counteracted EtOH-induced liver lipoperoxidation, preserved thiol -SH groups and prevented the depletion of antioxidant enzyme activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx). We also showed that acute alcohol administration increased tissue and plasma hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), calcium and free iron levels. More importantly, CDE pre-treatment reversed all EtOH-induced disturbances in intracellular mediators. In conclusion, our data suggest that CDE exerted apotential hepatoprotective effect against EtOH-induced oxidative stress in rat, at least in part, by negatively regulating Fenton reaction components such as H2O2 and free iron, which are known to lead to cytotoxicity mediated by intracellular calcium deregulation.