German Chamomile hydrosol, just like the essential oil, is something I love to have in my beauty kit. It is great for skin care and facial products. It is also great for dealing with any inflamed conditions when they occur on any level, physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. If you are interested in reading more about the essential oil I do have a mini article on German Chamomile essential oil.
Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Plant Description: This very aromatic annual herb is native to Europe and parts of Asia. Today it is grown in Eastern Europe, Egypt, North America and areas of the former Soviet Union. It grows to a height of around 60 cms. When compared to Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) we find that it is taller and does not spread out as much. Its stems are also less hairy, and it has a fine fern-like foliage. They both have white daisy-like flowers, however in German Chamomile the white petals droop down from hollow yellow cones.
History/Folklore: The use of German chamomile has been reported on in many medical books going back as far as ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman medicine. The name is said to be derived from the Greek chamos meaning ground and melos meaning apple. Apparently this is for two reasons. 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. The use of this plant is still relevant today and it is officially listed in many national pharmacopeias.
Aroma and Taste: Suzanne Catty describes this hydrosol as having ‘a slightly sharp, very green top note followed by a chamomile-teal middle aroma and a cool, wet bottom note. She also says that undiluted it has a green-tea, bittersweet taste with a very gently floral edge. Although most of the bitterness disappears in dilution leaving a wildflower honey aftertaste.
Stability and Shelf Life: Quite Stable
pH: 4.0 – 4.1
Uses (Heading 5)
Jeanne Rose says that this hydrosol is anti-inflammatory and good for soothing irritated skin. It is also emotionally calming.
According to Len and Shirley Price, the main components of this hydrosol are 14 – 16% alcohols and 57 – 59% esters, however I suspect that they are referring more to the essential oil component in the hydrosol and not the whole hydrosol. Ann Harman lists two different profiles on German Chamomile hydrosols and the major component of both are Oxides between 85 – 90% Oxides (a-bisabolol oxide a and b. She also lists the hydrosol as having anti-spasmodic, analgesic, nervine, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Suzanne Catty describes this hydrosol as being a major anti-inflammatory both internally and externally on all types of tissues. She suggests that it can be used alone, or with lavender for bad burns or if blisters have already formed on a burn. All skin conditions with redness will benefit from using this hydrosol. It can also be helpful when used in a compress on inflamed or swollen veins, hemorrhoids, varicosities, and thread and spider veins. She recommends using it alone or in a 50:50 combination with witch hazel or cistus (rock rose) hydrosol. She also recommends using this hydrosol for Jock Itch by spritzing the area and allowing it to air dry completely. Repeating several times a day.
Bettina Malle & Helge Schmickl say that while Roman chamomile flowers will produce more essential oil if they are dried before steam distillation, German chamomile will have a better yield if fresh flowers are used. They also suggest that the flowers should have just recently bloomed.
Most of my sources seem to agree that German chamomile hydrosol has a stronger action than Roman chamomile.
According to Dr. Berkowsky, one of the most significant folkloric signatures regarding the soul-nature of both German chamomile Roman chamomile is the fact that they were used as aromatic strewing herbs during the Middle ages. When trodden on they respond by strongly releasing their powerful apple fragrance. He also says that on an emotional level, German chamomile is useful for anger, anxiety, impatience and timidity, while on a psycho-spiritual level it can help one let go of anger and fear.
As I’ve mentioned before I find hydrosols are particularly helpful when used energetically. I like to include them in misters and sprays and find that they can make a subtle and effective difference. German chamomile hydrosol sprayed in an area where there has been a lot of anger and arguments, can be very effective.
Reference Steffen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin, 1960 Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils ©1998-2018 Joseph Ben Hil-Meyer Research, Inc. Suzanne Catty, Hydrosols, The Next Aromatherapy, Healing Arts Press, 2001 Ernst Guenther, The Essential Oil, Vol V, 1948 reprinted 1972 Ann Harman, Harvest to Hydrosol, IAG Botanics LLC dba botanicals, 2015 Beverley Hawkins, Essential Oils and Carriers, Aromatherapy 101, Aromatherapy 201, Aromatherapy 301, 1999-2018 Bettina Malle & Helge Schmickl, The Essential Oil Maker’s Handbook, Spikehorn Press, 2012, 2015 Len and Shirley Price, Understanding Hydrolats Churchill Livingstone, 2004 Jeanne Rose, 374 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, Frog Ltd, 1999