Introduction To Chamomile

Introduction To Chamomile

Chamomile

Chamomile is one of the most popular therapeutic herbs in use today, especially as a herbal tea. The essential oil is widely used by aromatherapists to treat a number of conditions including skin issues, menstrual problems and urinary tract inflammations.

There are several varieties of chamomile that can be used by aromatherapists and herbalists. These are:

  1. Anthemis nobilis - Roman chamomile
  2. Matricaria recutita - German Chamomile
  3. Ormensis Multicaulis Et Mixta - Moroccan Camomile (Chamomile Maroc)
  4. Tanacetum annum - Blue Moroccan Chamomile (Blue Tansy)

By far the most popular and the two we will be talking about today are Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile. The properties of these are largely interchangeable although there is one significant difference in the essential oil which is produced from German Chamomile.

 

Brief History of Chamomile

The chamomile plant is native to Europe and the mediteranian. German Chamomile grows more widely in northern and central Europe while Roman Chamomile grows more in western Europe and is now cultivated in England. 

The name ‘chamomile’ is derived from the Greek words kamai and melon, meaning ‘ground-apple’. The Spanish word for chamomile, manzanilla, also means ‘little apple’. The Chamomile flower has a strong, sweet, apple like scent. 

Roman Chamomile has been used for over 2000 years in Europe as a medicine and was an important plant in Ancient Egypt. Hippocrates used Chamomile to help reduce fevers, and it was one of the Saxons ‘nine sacred herbs’. It is also known as the ‘plant’s physician’ as it promotes the health of plants growing nearby. 


Chemical Composition and Properties of Chamomile

German Chamomile - Matricaria recutita

The essential oil is made up mainly of Bisabolol, farnesene and chamazulene. Chamazulene is not found in the plant but formed from the ‘matricarin’ present in the plant during the steam distillation process (making of the essential oil). The Chamazulene gives the essential oil it’s deep blue colour and is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent. It is also rich in monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.

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German Chamomile is anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, antiseptic (mild), analgesic, calmative, carminative, cholagogic, choleretic, digestive stimulant, stomachic, mild sedative.

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Roman Chamomile - Anthemis nobilis

The essential oil is composed mainly of esters. Angelic and tigilic ester account for over 80% of its composition with isobutyl angelate, pinocarvone, chamazulene and other minor constituents.  

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Roman Chamomile is anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, calmative, analgesic, anti-allergen, anti-convulsant, antiemetic, carminative, digestive stimulant, stomachic, anti-neuralgic, anti-rheumatic, anti-bacterial.

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Therapeutic Uses

Chamomile has been recognised in both folk medicine and official pharmacopoeia. Chamomile tea is one of the most widespread herbal remedies for stomach upsets, cystitis, children’s ailments or just as a refreshing and relaxing drink. Drinking chamomile can enhance the benefits of being treated with the essential oil.


Digestive and Urinary Problems

German Chamomile oil is especially beneficial for internal inflammatory conditions, particularly of the digestive and urinary tracts. For infections such as cystitis, colitis, gastritis, diarrhoea and dyspepsia it acts as a disinfectant. Lots of chamomile tea will help if you suffer with these as well as using a compress or massage applied to the area. Chamomile essential oil stimulates the liver and gallbladder and is recommended for poor appetite and slow painful digestion.


Skin Care

Chamomile is great for skin care especially where there is an issue with inflammation such as rosacea, eczema and dermatitis. Due to it’s high chamazulene content German chamomile essential oil has better anti-inflammatory properties although both are calming and soothing to the skin. Chamomile oil is active against staphylococcus aureus and candida albicans. 

The essential oil can be used in base oils or creams and balms and the hydrolat (floral water) can also be used in creams or as a facial toner for sensitive skin. Steaming the face with hot chamomile tea can also aid skin issues.

German chamomile acts as a local vasoconstrictor and can reduce redness of cheeks due to enlarged capillaries. Inflamed skin conditions can be a result of nervous system issues, therefore drinking chamomile tea is highly recommended whilst carrying out topical treatment. Bisbolol, one of the main constituents of chamomile essential oil is often extracted from the plant by large beauty companies as it can help the skin to absorb other active ingredients more effectively. 

Chamomile essential oil is a key ingredient in our Mañana Shave Oil due it's soothing, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

 

Mental & Emotional Benefits

Chamomile is soothing and calming to the emotions and mind as well as the rest of our body. Sipping Chamomile tea or the sweet, fruity scent of Roman chamomile essential oil drifting through the air can help to relieve stress and anxiety and induce relaxation. It is used to alleviate migraines, headaches and insomnia.

Chamomile has an energetic influence on the solar plexus - the major nerve located in the stomach area. The solar plexus is regarded as the vital centre of our psychological needs and wants, chamomile is especially effective at relieving nervous stress associated with a build up of tension in this area.


Menstrual and Menopausal Problems

Drinking chamomile tea, applying a compress, massage and baths with chamomile oil can help issues such as amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea and PMS. Chamomile's diuretic properties will reduce fluid retention while it’s gentle antidepressant action will help with the feelings of stress, depression and irritability that many women can suffer from at this time.


Chamomile For Infants & Babies

Chamomile hydrolat is excellent for treating inflamed skin conditions of babies and infants. Sometimes a hydrolat is all that is required but we can also use in conjunction with healing oils such as rosehip seed and calendula. Chamomile essential oil may be used to relieve pain in teething infants. Burning the oil and drinking the tea will also help to calm hyperactive children.


Hay Fever 

Chamomile tea acts as an antihistamine, so drinking a few cups a day will help during bouts of hayfever. It can also be used cold in a compress and placed on sore itchy eyes.


Calming & soothing chamomile will help ease inflammatory conditions whether on your body or in your body. After researching the herb it’s quite clear that most of us would benefit from sipping the tea from time to time, even if it’s just to help us unwind at the end of the day and get a good night’s sleep.

 

  

  

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