Recently a client asked me whether I had any Ormenis essential oil. It turned out she had been reading Valerie Ann Worwood’s book “The Fragrant Heavens” also published as “Aromatherapy for the Soul” and really felt drawn to the description there. As it turns out I did have some and I was able to make up a dilution of this oil for her in coconut to work with. In any case this request caused me to relook at this oil and see if there is any new information available.
Ormenis multicaulus, also called Ormenis mixta, Anthemis mixta, Chamaemelum mixtum and Moroccan Chamomile is an annual herb belonging to the Asteraceae (Compositae) family. While this plant belongs to the same Botanical family as German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile, neither the plant, nor the essential oil extracted from it, should be mistaken for, or substituted for, either German Chamomile or Roman Chamomile. It is a distinctly different plant and essential oil. The plant is native to north-west Africa and southern Spain and probably evolved from the very common Ormenis species that grows all around the Mediterranean. It has hairy leaves and tubular yellow flowers, surrounded by white ligulets and a yellow to brownish essential oil is obtained through steam distillation of the flowering tops of the plant.
Chemically and aromatically, it is also very different from German or Roman Chamomile. Unfortunately there is still very little information to be found on this oil. What we do know is that a yellow essential oil is obtained through steam distillation of the flowering plant. Its major chemical components include 41% alcohols (santolian alcohol, vomogi alcohol, artemisia alcohol, trans-pinocarveol); 24% monoterpenes (alpha-pinene, myrcene); 9.7% sesquiterpenes (germacrene, beta-caryophyllene, bisabolene); 3.5% esters (benzyl acetate, bornyl acetate, bornyl butyrate). So if we compare this chemical profile with the chemical profile of Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile we might get some insight into the oil and its properties. It is considered to have antispasmodic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, hepatic and sedative properties and blend well with cypress, lavender, lavandin, vetiver, cedarwood and oakmoss.
Rosemary Caddy has a unique way of looking at the chemistry of essential oils in the form of a colour wheel. Here are her colour profiles for German Chamomile, Roman Chamomile and Moroccan Chamomile. As you can see they look quite different.
Sesquiterpenes 35% have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-allergenic and cooling properties.
Oxides 35% are expectorants and have immune stimulating properties.
Alcohols 20% have antiseptic, bactericidal, antiviral, diuretic and immune stimulating properties.
Esters 75% have spasmolytic, sedative, anti-fungal properties. They can be mildly anti-inflammatory.
Alcohols 41% have antiseptic, bactericidal, antiviral, diuretic and immune stimulating properties.
Monoterpens 24% have antiseptic properties and are possible skin irritants.
Sesquiterpenes 9.7% have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-allergenic and cooling properties.
Esters 3.5% have spasmolytic, sedative, anti-fungal properties. They can be mildly anti-inflammatory.
As you can see these are three quite different essential oils.