Chamomile, belonging to the Compositae family, is the name given to a species of herbs, which has daisy-like flowers, and fine, feathery leaves. German chamomile is similar in appearance to Roman chamomile although it is taller and its flowers have smaller heads and fewer petals. Roman Chamomile is cultivated in a number of countries including Belgium, England and France. German Chamomile was native to Europe and parts of Asia, however now it grows in Eastern Europe, Egypt, North America and in areas of the former Soviet Union. Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile formerly Anthemis nobilis) and German Chamomile (Marticaria chamomilla) have similar therapeutic and psychological properties although they are not identical.
Freshly distilled Roman Chamomile is a pale blue colour, which on prolonged standing and exposure to air and light gradually changes to green and then later to yellow-brown. It has a strong aromatic odour which is characteristic of the flowers. Steam distillation of the whole plant yields from 0.2 to 0.35 per cent of oil. Flowering heads alone give a higher yield of up to 1 per cent. It blends well with citrus oils, clary sage, lavender, geranium, jasmine, neroli, rose, ylang ylang, bergamot and oakmoss. Its major chemical components are isobutyl angelate and alpha-terpineol. Psychologically Roman chamomile is very relaxing, soothing and calming and it can be helpful with insomnia, anxiety, depression, anger and fear. On the physiological level it has strong anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties and its use could be considered for muscular aches and pains, digestive problems, acne, dermatitis and hypersensitive skin.
Contraindications: On skin non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing. Avoid in the first trimester of pregnancy. This is a gentle oil and excellent for children.
German chamomile is a very dark blue in colour and has a strong sweet and herby aroma. Steam distillation of the plant gives a yield of 0.3 to 0.7 per cent. It blends well with all the citrus, clary sage, lavender, marjoram, geranium, neroli, rose, patchouli, benzoin, lemon, ylang ylang and jasmine. Its major chemical components are chamazulene, alpha-bisabolol oxide and alpha-bisabolol. Psychologically German chamomile has analgesic and anti-spasmodic properties and could be considered for insomnia, migraine and stress. On the physiological level German chamomile has anti-inflammatory, calming and warming properties. It is exceptionally good for skin conditions and its use can be considered for digestive and menstrual problems.
Contraindications: Tested at low doses to be non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing.
Roman Chamomile covered in the Aromatherapy 101 Course
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