Chamomilla recutita, Chamaemelum nobile
Behold the Old World, rich with herbal remedies, spices and goods couriered across the Silk Road and via daring shipping adventures. Traders stopped at villages along the way from Greece and Turkey to Pakistan, India and China, bartering their goods and bringing exciting new treasures home. Chamomile was part of this Old World life, a medicinal plant that is one of the oldest known and most well-documented herbal medicines known to man. Traditional healers in Europe, India and western Asia used the herb to dispel inflammation, treat wounds, chicken pox, poison ivy, eczema, neuralgia, hemorrhoids and a bevy of other complaints and illnesses.
Today, chamomile is just as prized as it was centuries ago, adding a soothing touch to tea, skin lotions, shampoos, massages and aromatherapy. If you haven’t experienced the calming pleasure of camomile tea, now’s a good time to try it. Camomile lotion is similarly delightful, a balm to just about any skin inflammation.
Today, we know that the Old World healers and traders were correct in thinking that chamomile is an excellent solution for health, emotional, cosmetic and spiritual uses. Most of the chamomile essential oil we use today, though, comes from German chamomile, Chamomilla recutita, or Roman Chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile (also known as Anthemis nobilis). There is a slight difference in the chemical makeup of the two chamomiles. German chamomile offers better anti-inflammatory properties while Roman chamomile is slightly more calming. Even so, both offer many of the same healing benefits, so it may just come down to a matter of personal preference as to which you choose to use. Be sure to avoid other chamomile species as they don’t provide the scent or benefits that Roman and German species do.
Discovering Chamomile’s Many Uses
- Allergies. Skin allergies and hay fever are disruptive, frustrating and sometimes painful. Chamomile topical applications calm mucus congestion associated with hay fever and allergies, and it’s similarly effective on skin inflammation caused by a skin sensitivity. It can also relieve some symptoms of the common cold.
- Anxiety, Depression. The mild sedative in chamomile aromatherapy helps to lighten anxiety and ease nerves.
- Insomnia. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, place a bit of Roman chamomile oil in a burner or diffuser about a half hour before you go to bed. The slight tranquilizing nature of the oil induces a mild drowsiness that encourages sleep. It is believed that this effect is due to the oil’s apigenin that hooks onto the brain’s benzodiazepine receptors.
- Upset Stomach. Chamomile has long been a herbal treatment for gas, upset stomach and ulcers. Today, it is added to several commercial products to control digestive gas and ulcers.
- Skin Wounds, Irritations. As we mentioned earlier, chamomile is an all-star when it comes to skin issues. It is used for gout, irritation, chicken pox, ear infections, diaper rash, poison ivy, bruises, ulcers, eczema and burns. Researchers believe it is beneficial to skin ailments because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits. Some of the oil’s use may come from its antiphlogistic properties that also reduces inflammation.
- Other benefits. Researchers are currently studying whether chamomile essential oil and other preparations may reduce cardiovascular problems, colic, diarrhea, osteoporosis, mucositis and diabetes.
- Calm. Some of the same properties that make chamomile terrific for physical and emotional health also make chamomile a natural aid for your spiritual work. The calming nature of the essential oil ensures that you can meditate more peacefully and seek your truth in a clear, focused manner.
- Contentedness. The cheerful feeling brought about by chamomile aromatherapy aids every aspect of your spiritual pursuits. It helps you to feel optimistic and ready to reach new levels of spiritual awakening and awareness.
- Chakras. Chamomile helps to balance both your solar plexus and throat chakras. The calming and uplifting nature of chamomile helps ease the fear and anxiety associated with an underactive solar plexus chakra, and it helps you fight the fatigue and overindulgence that comes with an overactive solar plexus chakra. It also quite literally clears your nasal and throat passages, leading to a balanced throat chakra that encourages you to speak your truth.
Some anti-inflammatory, blood pressure and other medications may interact negatively with chamomile, so check with your doctor before taking chamomile herbal supplements. If you are allergic to ragweed, you may also be sensitive to chamomile, so test it first. Pregnant and nursing women should avoid contact with Roman chamomile.
- Botanical Name: Chamomilla recutita, Chamaemelum nobile
- Common Method of Extraction: Steam distillation
- Plant Part Typically Used: Flowers and buds
- Color: Blue-ish
- Consistency: Thin
- Perfumery Note: Middle
- Strength of Initial Aroma: Medium
- Aromatic Description: Sweet, fruity and herbaceous