For thousands of years, cultures have recognized chamomile's potential as a natural, effective healing tool to treat cases of anxiety and upset stomach.
In the United States, most people know chamomile as a great ingredient to put into a tea, but it's so much more than that.
Because of it's numerous soothing properties and few side effects, chamomile is considered to be a safe plant to use at home when using traditional pharmaceuticals would be excessive.
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There have been several studies, some of which we'll detail later, that show the potential health benefits of chamomile, including:
There are even chamomile mixtures that seem to soothe babies suffering from colic. When Baby gets bloated, a small amount of chamomile could help soothe the digestive system and allow the gas to pass.
As we will introduce, there seem to be several health benefits involved with taking chamomile, and there are a few different application methods as well.
We'd recommend whichever fits your time schedule and preferences.
My Top 5 Best Chamomile Oil Brands In 2019
*The companies chosen above are based upon my personal opinion based upon me giving them a try and testing their quality.
- My Top 5 Best Chamomile Oil Brands In 2019
- Roman vs German Chamomile Oil
- Oils, Lotions, Teas, Oh My! Chamomile Oil Uses
- Essential Oil Recipes That Include Chamomile Oil
- The Power of Healing: Uncovering Chamomile's Secrets
- Careful! Chamomile Oil's Few Problems
- Roman Chamomile Side Effects
- Curious Chamomile: What We Know
- Final Thoughts About Chamomile Essential Oil
Roman vs German Chamomile Oil
Although most people just refer to the herb by its shortened name, "chamomile" can actually refer to one of several different strains.
The most popular two are Anthemis nobilis (Roman Chamomile) and Matricaria recutita (German Chamomile).
The two strains are actually quite similar to each other, but there are a few things that they do differently enough that it's important to pick the right kind depending on the ailment.
The wrong type may only be half-effective at best. With this in mind, let's define the two and learn which is appropriate for which application!
Roman vs German Chamomile at a Glance
Both types of chamomile have multiple homes throughout the world, making them a happily abundant resource.
Roman Chamomile is a perennial plant, meaning you'll see it growing throughout the year seemingly endlessly. It's a small, evergreen herb with hairy stems and big flowers.
The German variety, on the other hand, is an annual plant that couldn't look any more different thanks to its hairless stems and sparse flowers.
Give each of these herbs a sniff, and you'll note Roman's light apple scent. The German counterpart gives off more of a sweet straw type of smell.
Both strains of the herb contain properties that help with inflammation, smoothing skin, regulating the digestive and nervous systems, and helping to wash out allergens and infections.
Likewise, both of these plants have anti-bacterial, antibiotic, sedative, and pain relief properties. When we start to dig deeper, we start to see the stark differences between Roman and German Chamomile.
Properties of Roman Chamomile
Properties of German Chamomile
Similarities Between Roman and German Chamomile
As previously stated, these two strains have many similarities despite their differences.
For example, although German Chamomile is known for its deep blue chamazulene oil, both strains contain it; the German variety has much more, however.
Additionally, both types of chamomile can be used as an insect repellent, a natural antiseptic, for it's anti-inflammatory properties, as an anti-fungal, a sedative, and in other applications.
In most cases, both of these plants are considered to be safe for humans while serving as a deterrent against pests in the gardens.
Although they are both safe chamomile oils, there are some notes of caution to consider.
For example, it's always a good idea to test a new product before using it normally to ensure that you don't have an allergy to it; this is especially true for those who know they are allergic to ragweed, as they are more likely to experience an allergic reaction to chamomile.
Further, though there are no known cases of difficulties with pregnancy after using chamomile, there has been a study that shows pregnant mice who consume chamomile tend to give birth to undersized babies.
Though mice and humans have very different anatomies, it's a good idea to hold off consuming the oil while pregnant or nursing. External applications should be perfectly fine.
Oils, Lotions, Teas, Oh My! Chamomile Oil Uses
The following is just a handful of the many different ways you can take chamomile for its healing benefits.
Given how expensive these oils can be, we recommend using drops sparingly to help them last longer.
Be sure that you buy your chamomile from a trusted vendor that sells only high-grade, pure product!
Scrapes or Cuts:
If the scrape or cut is not too serious, then you'll just need a mild chamomile dose to get the healing underway.
For more serious wounds, more appropriate methods should be taken.
Bruises are inevitable, but their pain doesn't have to be!
Benign Spider Bites:
Lethal Spider Bite:
Drop everything and go to the hospital!
Be sure you know the signs of an allergic reaction. If you experience them after a bite or a sting, take an antihistamine and go directly to the nearest urgent care center:
Lavender is one of the most common natural remedies for healing a first-degree burn. However, chamomile is also an excellent choice, regardless of the type you have on hand.
If you're suffering from a second- or third-degree burn, you'll need to skip the oil and seek out a doctor.
These steps will also help with soothing the pain from sunburns as well. After all, a sunburn is just a first-degree burn!
Anxiety and Grief:
No matter the root cause of an anxiety episode or grief, a few drops of chamomile oil can help with relaxing the nerves enough to feel a little better, physically.
Of course, it is impossible for oils to wash away bereavement, but by reducing one of the immediate problems, you will hopefully have a little more strength to deal with the worst of the pain.
To get a little emotional support from a good blend, consider the following:
Essential Oil Recipes That Include Chamomile Oil
The Power of Healing: Uncovering Chamomile's Secrets
After thousands of years of usage, chamomile's healing properties have become quite evident at this point. For example, we know that it can relieve indigestion, colic, nausea, and similar digestion problems.
To put it simply, the chamomile interacts with the body and calms the intestines, which allows food to pass through without obstruction.
Women aren't the only ones who can benefit from the digestive relief chamomile has to offer; one particular study found that more than half of its infant group had recovered from colic less than a week after chamomile treatment.
Improve Skin Health
The same study also discovered that the same chamomile compounds that relax the intestines can also calm inflammation on the skin.
Chamomile's flavonoids can slip deeper into the skin than other types of oil, which allows it to reach the proteins in the inner skin layers that are inflamed.
In fact, chamomile oil may be at least 60 percent as effective at soothing eczema as harsh hydrocortisone cream.
A study concluded that chamomile had a minor superiority over cortisol cream over a two-week treatment period.
Both Roman and German Chamomile have acetonic extracts that serve as anti-fungal and anti-bacterial defense.
In a study with mice, German's extract could more effectively fight Staph infections compared to traditional topical medications.
On the other hand, the previously-mentioned Sanjay Gupta study concludes that chamomile might be equally effective at employing its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties when ingested.
When testing the participants' urine, the researchers noted higher levels of glycine and hippurate, both of which are known to increase when anti-bacterial activity occurs within the body.
The studies linked above also reveal that chamomile oil contains quite a number of strong anti-inflammatory components.
Chamomile has the following useful oils:
- Alpha-bisabolol oxide A
- Alpha-bisabolol oxide B
In other words, treating yourself with chamomile is a great way to help give yourself relief from conditions that irritate and irritate the body, such as with arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, or eczema.
Given that most American women like to take their chamomile in the form of tea, it's safe to say that most of us know about the calming effects the herb can have.
That's because it is made of several compounds that each have a sedative effect regardless of how the herb is consumed, making chamomile an effective drink to have right before bed.
In addition to this, chamomile is known to have an anti-spasmodic effect on the nerves, giving it a stronger case for relaxation use.
As can be found in the Sanja Gupta study, researchers contribute these anti-spasmodic effects on apigenin, a compound that works inside the brain to induce sleep.
A Dose of Anti-Oxidants
Regardless of whether you have the Roman or the German Chamomile, the essential oils that it contains are also anti-oxidants thanks to its flavonoids.
The free radical scavengers that protect your body thanks to chamomile are:
- Oxide azulene
"Free radicals" refers to compounds found in the body that cause DNA damage, which results in a weakened immune system and skin that appears older than it really is, along with other undesirables.
By increasing the amount of anti-oxidants in your day to day life, your body will become more capable of fighting back against this DNA damage, meaning your body will take less damage overall.
Careful! Chamomile Oil's Few Problems
Both Roman and German Chamomile plants are considered by experts to be mostly safe for internal and external use.
However, there are some exceptions depending on the strain, and these are important to keep in mind whenever you take chamomile oil.
Roman Chamomile Side Effects
Often, medicine-makers use the Roman Chamomile plant's large flowers as a base for their batch.
It is common to eat the herb to help sooth an upset stomach, loss of appetite, a case of intestinal gas, or for nausea and vomiting.
It can also be applied as a topical solution to the skin to reduce inflammation, pain, and the amount of germs in the area.
Additionally, Roman Chamomile can be used in gels, creams, or ointments to heal irritated skin, sore and painful gums, and cracked nipples, among other situations.
Finally, some women choose to put drops of the oil into a steam bath and inhale the aroma to treat sore throats, hay fever, or sinus infections.
In most of these cases, there are no problems with enjoying the extra benefits of Roman Chamomile, especially when sticking to how much you'd usually find in a dish.
In larger amounts, some women with sensitive stomachs may experience vomiting.
When applied directly to the skin, Roman Chamomile may cause the skin to become red and itchy.
To prevent this, it's recommended to heavily dilute the drops, to the tune of 10 drops per pint of water.
It is not recommended to take Roman Chamomile while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Although there is an insufficient amount of evidence to support either case, scientists believe exposure to Roman Chamomile during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage. To be safe, avoid!
Finally, if you have a known allergy to ragweed, you may experience an allergic reaction to Roman Chamomile as they are related to one another.
Beware of this connection if you have a known allergy to:
German Chamomile Side Effects
Native to Europe, German Chamomile is often used to treat conditions like:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Hay fever
- Travel sickness
- Stuffy nose
- Intestinal gas
- Menstrual cramps
- Stomach ulcers
- Inflammation of the stomach
- Inflammation of the intestines
In the United States, German Chamomile is officially listed as "Generally Recognized as Safe" when eaten in the amounts found in recipes.
It's considered to be safe when applied on the skin for short-term treatment periods, but little is known about the long-term effects.
Just like its Roman counterpart, German Chamomile can trigger an allergic reaction in those who have an allergy to daisies, marigolds, ragweed, chrysanthemums, and other herbs in the family.
Some women may experience allergic skin reactions when applying German Chamomile directly to the skin, or irritation if applied near the eyes.
In children, German Chamomile is considered "possibly safe" in the short-term. Preliminary research suggests that infants suffer no side effects when taking German Chamomile by mouth for up to seven days, and that teenagers suffer no side effects when taking the plant topically for up to six weeks.
Like with Roman Chamomile, there is little information to support either side of the safety debate when it comes to pregnancy and breastfeeding. As such, you might as well avoid using any chamomile while pregnant or nursing.
Women who suffer from hormone-sensitive conditions like uterine fibroids, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or breast cancer should speak with their doctor before adding German Chamomile to their regimen.
This is because chamomile can function similarly to estrogen, and exposure to additional estrogen can cause difficulty in women with these conditions.
Finally, we recommend avoiding German Chamomile for two weeks before any major surgery as it can interfere with anesthesia. If this is no longer possible, your anesthesiologist will know what to do.
Curious Chamomile: What We Know
Though some cultures have known about chamomile for thousands of years, its popularity didn't happen until around the medieval age.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, doctors prescribed the plant to treat patients who suffered from intermittent fevers, and it is during this time period where some of the earliest "research" can be found on the herb.
For example, chamomile flowers are, as early as 1593, described as a plant that could be used in all sorts of medicine, such as pouches, medicinal baths, plasters, and ointments.
In 1488, the first description of the deep blue chamomile oil is described, and shortly thereafter are records of experiments in distilling the oil.
In Michigan, Smitherman et al. conducted a chamomile study for an African-American community, discovering that existing folk remedies already incorporated the use of chamomile to great success.
One such example is that the caregivers in the community already used chamomile tea to treat colic.
According to Zucchi et al. as a part of an ethnobotanical chamomile survey in Brazil, the plant is one of the most widely used when it comes to treating wounds naturally.
In another ethnobotanical study in Serbia, the same results came to light: Chamomile is effective, and many use it in their home remedies.
Of course, there are also the studies we have linked to above, the most detailed of which is the Sanjay Gupta study.
In this study, researchers conclude that the dried flowers of chamomile are effective at treating ailments like:
- Hay fever
- Muscle spasms
- Menstrual disorders
- Digestive problems
- Rheumatic pain
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Final Thoughts About Chamomile Essential Oil
By now, we've learned that chamomile--both its Roman and German varieties--are well-documented medicinal herbs with a long, distinct history that can be traced back to the medieval ages and even beyond.
Even today, many women sing its praises, and for good reason: It's been proven useful in a wide variety of medicinal applications to treat all kinds of ailments.
However you choose to employ chamomile oil in your day to day life, be sure to take all the necessary precautions, such as if you're planning to become pregnant or breastfeed, if you have allergies to ragweed and its relatives, or if you have never used chamomile oil before and do not know how you'll react to it.
Be safe, and stay healthy, ladies!