German chamomile has been described in medical writings since ancient times and it was an important plant used in ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman medicine. The name is derived from the Greek chamos meaning ground and melos meaning apple which refers to the fact that it grows low to the ground and its fresh blooms have an apple scent. Hippocrates, Dioscordies and Galen all describe the plant in their writings. Today it is officially recorded in many national pharmacopeias.
Chamazulene, a major component of German Chamomile, has pain-relieving, wound-healing, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. German chamomile is frequently used in antiseptic ointments, creams and gels to treat cracked nipples, sore gums, inflammations, irritations of the skin and mucosa, respiratory tract inflammation and for wound healing. The essential oil is also used a flavour component in most major food categories, including alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, frozen dairy desserts, candy, baked goods and gelatins and puddings. Average maximum use levels reported are usually less than 0.002% for the essential oil.
Psychologically, German Chamomile has calming and analgesic properties. It is useful for headaches, insomnia, nervous tension and stressful situations. It can help to promote feelings of peace.
On the physiological level German Chamomile has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antispasmodic properties and is a great choice for any skin inflammations or problems including acne, boils, cuts, burns, wounds and sunburn. It is very useful too for any digestive complaints. Personally I reach for German Chamomile for skin conditions and Roman Chamomile for digestive problems.
Contraindications:. Generally considered non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing. It is very strong smelling so it is best to use in small amounts.
Albert Y. Leung & Steven Foster , Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, John Wiley & Sons, 1996
Blumenthal, Goldberg, Brinckmann, Herbal Medicine, Expanded Commission E. Monographs, American Botanical Council, 2000
Ernest Guenther, The Essential Oils, Krieger Publishing Company, 1952, reprint 1976
Beverley Hawkins, Aromatherapy 201 Course 1999 revised 2000, 2001