There are several types of Chamomile oil. The most commonly used are German Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla) grown mainly in Egypt and
Morocco and Roman Chamomile (Anthemis Noblis) in England , France, Hungary. It's an aromatic herb with feathery leaves and small white flowers. The oil is extracted from the flower heads using the method of steam distillation, producing a strong oil with a very distinct odour.  Of the two varieties discussed, German Chamomile is the stronger and, therefore, the more expensive.

This is because it contains a higher concentrate of Azulene, which is not found in the plant itself but is formed in the oil. In clinical studies, Azulene has been shown to exhibit dramatic anti-inflammatory effects.  It is the high concentrate of of this compound which gives German Chamomile its beautiful deep dark blue colour.

The Chamomiles are very analgesic and are particularly effective for conditions such as rheumatism, inflamed joints, arthritis, Housemaids Knee, sprains, inflamed tendons, tired aching muscles etc. In the case of injury and/or swellings it is best used on a cold compress, not massage.  When being applied to non-injured, non-swollen (but simply over-worked and/or tired) muscles it can be added to a carrier oil and massaged into the affected area.

It can be used on hot compresses on boils, infected cuts, splinters etc. and to help ease the pain of toothache until the sufferer can get to the Dentist.  In the case of earache, blend with Lavender and massage gently around the ear or apply hot compresses. Recurrent or persistent earache should be treated by your GP.

All the Chamomiles are very soothing and calming which makes them the ideal choice for tension, irritability, 'nerves', insomnia etc and, because a high proportion of minor tummy upsets are anxiety-related they can be helpful here too. Chamomile tea is one of the most popular herbal remedies for stomach upsets...and the cooled teabags can be placed on the eyes to help conjunctivitis and/or tired eyes. Never put essential oil into the eyes. An aromatic Chamomile bath is an excellent way of calming the day's worries and anxieties, soothing those aching muscles and inducing a restful night's sleep all in one go!

It's invaluable in calming down young children before bedtime. I used to use it every evening for their bathtime when my children were young, to get us (me) through that awful period between teatime and bedtime - when they seemed to be at their most difficult because of tiredness. Chamomile baths followed by a drop of Lavender on their pillows saved my sanity on so many occasions. However, I would advise using Roman Chamomile for very young children as the German may be a little too strong.

Chamomile is a very beneficial oil for use in skin care. Eczema, dermatitis, dry/itchy skin, allergic reactions, mild sunburn etc. can be helped by its use. I prefer to use it in the bath for skin conditions as it's the simplest way of ensuring that all affected areas of the skin are treated at the same time. Again, in the case of young children - Roman Chamomile.

Chamomile's properties can sometimes overlap with those of Lavender, so as a rough guide in helping to decide which of the oils is appropriate to use it's helpful to remember that the analgesic properties of Chamomile are more suited to dull aches and pains, whereas Lavender is perhaps more useful for sharp or piercing pain.

Chamomile blends well with Bergamot, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Marjoram, Neroli, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Rose, Ylang Ylang.  When blending primarily for fragrance only, such as a burner, I'd suggest using the Roman variety and saving the more expensive German variety for other uses.

The Chamomiles are amongst the most gentlest oils but as with all essential oils they have contra-indications:



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