What is Chamomile Essential Oil?
Chamomile essential oil is that obtained by the process of steam distillation or hydro-distillation, in which the flowers are subjected to high pressure, temperature, and steam to separate out the essential oil from them.
The essential oil of chamomile is present in the whole plant. However, the content is higher in the flowers than in other parts of the plant and also, has higher levels of useful compounds. Therefore, the essential oil of the flowers is mostly used for medicinal and aromatic purposes.
At the time of distillation the oil is extremely concentrated, even so, the quality may differ from one variety of chamomile plant to another.
Roman Chamomile v/s German Chamomile
Both types of chamomile, German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) are equally suitable for making oil.
German chamomile is native to Europe and Asia, and is cultivated for commercial use in Hungary, Egypt, France, and Eastern Europe.
On the other hand, Roman chamomile native to Western Europe and North Africa. It is mostly grown commercially in Argentina, England, France, Belgium and the United States.
Both varieties are used for calming and soothing skin, inflammation, fevers, and the nervous and digestive systems, as well as inducing perspiration to flush out toxins, allergens and infections. Besides, both are pain relieving, antibiotic, anti-bacterial, and sedative.
German chamomile essential oil is dark blue in color, Roman chamomile oil, on the other hand, is mostly colorless or pale blue to pale green.
The two main varieties of chamomile are very similar, but it is in their chemical compounds that we begin to see some differences.
Active Principles of Chamomile Essential Oil
Active substances of Roman chamomile are terpenoids: chamazulene, bisabolol; flavonoids: quercetin, apigenin, luteolin; coumarins: scopoletin-7-glucoside and other components like angelic and tiglic acid esters, anthemic acid, fatty acids and choline.
Active principles of German chamomile are terpenoids: α-bisabolol, α-bisabolol oxide A and B, chamazulene, sesquiterpenes; coumarins: umbelliferone; flavonoids: luteolin, apigenin, quercetin; spiroethers: en-yn dicycloether and other components such as tannins, anthemic acid, choline, polysaccharides and phytoestrogens.
Chamomile Essential Oil in History
Chamomile history begins in ancient Egypt, where it is mentioned for the first time as a cure for fever, often called the “ague”. While also, the crushed flowers rubbed on the skin as a cosmetic treatment. The Egyptians used its essence as the main ingredient in embalming oil for preserving deceased pharaohs.
The word “chamomile” comes from ancient Greece, “Chamomaela”, and means “ground apple“. Pliny the Elder mentions the similarity of chamomile flower smell to the apple blossom and this may be why the ancients used the term.
The Romans used chamomile to flavor drinks and in incense, as well as a medicinal herb.
In Spain chamomile flower called “manzanilla” (“little apple”) was known for its use to flavor a light sherry called by the same name. The Norsemen put it in a kind of shampoo. It was thought to add luster to the braided locks.
In Medieval times the petals were strewn about at gatherings to create pleasant odors.
Chamomile also added flavor to beer before hops were put to that use. These plants had a milder taste.
Although the seeds were sterile, the harvest was done by cloning. Chamomile was widely used in tisanes and as a medicinal herb.
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What is today known as Roman Chamomile was not actually cultivated by the Romans. However, an English botanist discovered growing wild in the Coliseum.
He brought it back to England where it is one of the primary forms of chamomile now cultivated. Chamomile is not native to the Americas, but was brought over and planted by colonists. Eventually, the seeds made it into the wild. It can now be found in yard and field, as well as in the garden.
Properties of Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile has anti-inflammatory, deodorant, antibiotic, antimicrobial, carminative, sedative, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-allergic, anti-pruritic, healing, decongestive, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, antiemetic, antitoxic, antirheumatic, coagulant, cicatrizant, digestive, diuretic, emollient, stomach, stimulating, splenic, hepatic, febrifuge, litolitic, relaxing, sudorific, vermifuge, vulnerary, analgesic, tonic, bactericidal, calming, anticatarrhal and spasmolytic properties.
Uses and Benefits of Chamomile Essential Oil
The properties of chamomile essential oil are efficient in relieving or treating:
- Skin irritations: It can help soothe or treat acne, allergies, dry skin, cracked nipples, rashes, eczema, wounds, dermatitis as well as cuts.
- Infections: Especially those caused by bacteria and fungi.
- Muscle spasms and tension: Chamomile oil works great in case of extremities fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, spasms and muscle tension.
- Arthritis and rheumatism: It relieves symptoms caused by conditions such as arthritis, gout, neuralgia and rheumatic.
- Improves circulation: It can relieves circulatory system disorders by stimulating circulation, and helping to eliminate toxins such as uric acid from the blood.
- Insomnia: Inhale or diffuse the oil before going to bed to help sleep disorders. The relaxing properties of chamomile oil are not only used in adults, but also in babies and children. In those cases it will help them to sleep better and relieve discomfort when their teeth comes out or when they have colic or diarrhea problems.
- Stomach upset: For adults, it can be beneficial in stomach problems, dysentery and parasites. Also, it helps relieve abdominal pain and premenstrual syndrome.
- Flu and colds: Thanks to its anticatarrhal properties, chamomile oil is effective against fever, colds, flu and infection and sore throat.
- Other ailments: Also, it is useful to fight conditions such as asthma, headaches, migraines, ENT disorders, strengthens the immune and nervous systems, gynecological conditions, chicken pox, sciatica, ease symptoms and improve function in carpal tunnel syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome. Natural treatment for hemorrhoids, leg ulcers and gallstones and gallbladder problems.
Keep in mind that for use in children, you need to diluted the chamomile oil in a carrier oil.
How to apply Chamomile Essential Oil?
The essential oil of chamomile is extensively used in aromatherapy, massage, and baths. The oils are absorbed into the body on inhalation and through the skin. Thus, the compounds penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream and act as medicines.
Aromatherapy is a technique of healing where the patient is made to inhale the vapors of the essential oil.
A few drops of chamomile oil are applied on a piece of cloth or handkerchief or tissue and slowly inhaled.
Sometimes a few drops of oil are added to hot water and the steam is inhaled. Chamomile oil vapor is used extensively in aromatherapy to calm a person and reduce pain and anxiety.
A massage with oil enables the medicinal compounds to penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream.
The oil is gently rubbed or massaged on to the inflicted part.
In many disease conditions, a hot bath or a cold bath is given to a patient. In hot baths, warm to hot water is used and in cold baths, cold water or ice is used. A few drops of chamomile essential oil are added for healing purposes. Sometimes whole chamomile flowers are put in a small bag and kept in the bath.
A compress is made by steeping a cloth or a towel in a bowl of hot (hot compress) or cold (cold compress) water.
A few drops of chamomile oil are added in the water before steeping the cloth or towel. This compress is then applied to the affected part.
For an internal consumption there are two ways of consumption:
- For cooking, adding a drop to the water.
- As a dietary supplement. With a drop of chamomile oil in a tablespoon of honey or 100 milliliters of water.
Side effects of Chamomile Essential Oil
In general, chamomile essential oil is safe, since it is neither toxic or irritating.
Additionally, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have classified the oil and extract of German and Roman chamomiles as substances which named Generally Regarded As Safe. However, it may have side effects.
- A few case reports have documented atopic and contact dermatitis with the use of chamomile. Some individuals allergic to other members of the aster family (ragweed, asters, chrysanthemums) are allergic to chamomile.
- There are case reports of chamomile eyewashes causing allergic conjunctivitis.
- No long-term problems have been identified from taking chamomile.
- There have been rare cases of anaphylaxis to chamomile.
- Three cases of chamomile interacting with cyclosporine in patients who have had renal transplants have been reported.
- Potential interactions with warfarin have been reported.
- There is a theoretical additive effect with other sedative and anxiolytic medications.
Use in Pregnancy and Lactation
No studies have reported the safety of using chamomile for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, although chamomile is widely consumed during pregnancy as a beverage to treat morning sickness. However, avoid the use of Chamomile essential oil in large concentrations, because this plant can cause uterine contractions, and also, can affect the baby through milk.
- We also advise you to do a patch test on your skin with a small amount. Simply apply a few drops on the arm to see if any allergic reaction occurs.
- Avoid this oil in case of allergic to other plants in the same family Asteraceae or Compositae, such as Ambrosia, daisies, chrysanthemum, marigolds and marigolds.
- Keep in mind, immediately stop consumption if appears any type of allergy, hives, itching, redness of the skin, chest pain, shortness of breath.
- Regarding the internal use, it is better to avoid in case anticoagulant drugs consumption. Besides, consult with the doctor if you are take any other type of medication.
Where to buy Chamomile Essential Oil?
Generally, good quality oils, that is, 100% pure and not mixed with other substances, can be found in specialized natural herb stores.
If you can not reach a trusted naturist or a nearby herbalist shop, here are some recommendations:
Scent Characteristics: Bright, crisp, sweet, fruity, and herbaceous scent. Shop here.
Our 100% Pure Essential Oils are extracted from the root, bark, wood, seed, fruit, leaf, or flower of a freshly harvested plant.
We source only the finest quality essential oils from highly regarded suppliers and distillers from around the world, many with whom we’ve worked with for decades.
Scent Characteristics: Fruity, apple-like herbaceous aroma. Shop here.
Many of our oils are steam-distilled or cold-pressed, therefore retaining the essential odor, aroma, taste, medicinal, and therapeutic properties of the plant, resulting in a superior quality, and highly concentrated essence.
Tips for better durability and performance of your oils:
- Store them in a dark glass bottle, never plastic, not even when blended with a carrier oil.
- Keep them in cool, dark places, away from sources of heat and light.
- Maintain the container that holds it tightly closed, since they are very volatile and also, their properties would be lost or modified.