German ‘Blue’ Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
What Is German Chamomile Oil?
German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), which is often referred to as blue chamomile or true chamomile, comes from the Compositae sunflower family. It is one of the two chamomile species that can be used medicinally. The other one is the Roman or English chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).
This plant, which hails from Southern and Eastern parts of Europe, grows from 6 centimeters up to 60 centimeters (2.3 to 23.5 inches) tall with heavily branched and furrowed stems. Like Roman chamomile oil, German chamomile essential oil is extracted either through solvent extraction or steam distillation of its golden yellow flowers that have ray-like blossoms.
You can find German Chamomile essential oil in Mother Gaia’s Deep Sleep Lotion.
Major Constituents: Bisabolol, Farnesol, Azulene, Farnasene, Thujanol
Composition of German Chamomile Oil
Some of the most important chemical components of German chamomile oil are sesquiterpenes, 36 flavonoids, coumarins and polyacetylenes. Other constituents include chamazulene (which has antiseptic capabilities), as well as 28 terpenoids and 52 additional compounds with potential pharmacological activity that gives it antimicrobial and fungistatic capabilitiesfarnesene, sesquiterpenes, cadinene, furfural, spanthulenol, and proazulenes (matricarin and matricin).
Chamazulene (or azulen when isolated), which provides German chamomile oil its deep bluish color, is formed from matricin during steam distillation. Prolonged storage and light exposure destroys this effect. This often results in a lighter blue color, which can turn into a pale green, yellow or even brown shade.
When it’s still fresh, German chamomile oil has a viscous quality and has a sweet, herbaceous scent with fruity undertones. However, in its concentrated and dried-out form, German chamomile oil can sometimes be nauseating and unpleasant for some individuals. German chamomile oil blends well with rose oil, lavender oil, cedar oil, neroli oil and geranium oil.
Blending: Chamomile Oil forms very pleasant blends with Bergamot, Clary Sage, Lavender, Jasmine, Geranium, Grapefruit, Tea Tree, Rose, Lemon, Lime and Ylang-Ylang Oil.
Benefits of German Chamomile Oil
German chamomile oil has antispasmodic, antiseptic, antibiotic, antidepressant, antineuralgic, antiphlogistic, carminative, cholagogue, cicatrisant, emmenagogue, analgesic, febrifuge, hepatic, sedative, nervine, digestive, tonic, antispasmodic, bactericidal, sudorific, stomachic, anti-inflammatory, anti-infectious, vermifuge, and vulnerary properties. This beneficial essential oil penetrates deep into the layers of your skin where its potent anti-inflammatory action can restore and soothe irritated skin, mouth ulcers, burns, bruises and other skin conditions. Aside from possibly helping lift up your mood and letting go of your anxieties, German chamomile oil has other reported benefits when used in tandem with other essential oils in aromatherapy.
Uses of German Chamomile Oil
German chamomile oil is broadly used in the cosmetic industry, especially in formulations designed to improve dry, inflamed or irritated skin. It is also added in shampoos and conditioners. Other practical uses of German chamomile oil include:
- Allergic reactions — Apply topically on the affected area with balm for instant relief.
- Anogenital disorders — Add in baths and irrigation.
- Candida infection — Can help alleviate itching caused by yeast fungus in the vaginal area by having a warm sitz bath regularly until your condition improves. Add one drop of German chamomile oil and two drops of tea tree oil in a gallon of warm water.
- Hair moisturizer — Blend two drops of German chamomile oil, rosemary oil, and lavender oil with 4 tablespoons of sweet almond oil. Massage it onto your hair and scalp once a week. For best results, leave it on overnight.
- Inflammation and irritation of the respiratory tract — By inhalation.
- Improves Digestion – Being a stomachic, they tone up the stomach and ensure its proper function. They also promote the secretion of digestive juices into the stomach and facilitate digestion. Being Hepatic, which means being good for the liver, they ensure good health of the liver and the proper flow of bile from it. They are also considered Cholagogues, meaning that they increase the secretion of Hydrochloric Acid, bile, and enzymes in the stomach, thereby promoting digestion.
- Open leg sores, wounds, hemorrhoids, mastitis, eczemas, gingivitis and ingrown nails — Use topically as a poultice, salve or compress. To make a compress, take a damp cloth, add a few drops of German chamomile oil, and place it on top of the affected area with the essential oil facing away from the skin. This way, the oil’s healing properties will seep into the cloth without putting the skin at risk of any potential hypersensitivity.
- Menstrual cramps — Take a five-minute sitz bath (a warm, shallow bath that cleanses your perineum, the space between your rectum and the vulva or scrotum) in a gallon of warm water with two drops of German chamomile and lavender oil.
- May help relieve migraine — Moisten a towel with cool water and add a few drops of German chamomile oil. Place the damp cloth on your forehead, close your eyes and relax.
- May provide relief from joint pain or tense, stiff and cramping muscles —Blend 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil and two drops of German chamomile oil and rosemary oil. Massage this blend onto the affected areas to ease up the tensed muscles and increase circulation.
- Moisturizing skin mist — To make your own natural skin mist, blend two drops of German chamomile oil, two drops of lavender oil, one drop of rose otto oil and 4 ounces of purified water in a ready-to-spray bottle. This natural moisturizing mist will surely be handy for your sunbathing sessions.
- PMS Aide – The symptoms of PMS can be very debilitating for many women. German chamomile’s anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties help in relieving many of the symptoms commonly associated with PMS as well as with menopause. It can help to reduce cramping, pain and nausea commonly associated with PMS as well as menopause. It also helps to balance the hormones which can be very unbalanced during PMS and menopause; this helps a woman to be more calm and relaxed or less irritable and emotional during this time.
- Prevents Infections – Both varieties have very good antiseptic and antibiotic properties which do not let biotic infections develop, which arise due to biotic factors such as bacteria and fungi. They also eliminate infections that are already present. These are good vermifuge agents as well, which kill all sorts of intestinal worms. If applied to the hair, it kills lice and mites, keeping the hair and scalp free from infections and damage.
- Reduces Anger – While Roman Chamomile is found to be effective in calming down annoyance, anger, and irritation, particularly in small children. The German variety, on the other hand, is found to be more effective on adults for curing inflammation, particularly when it is located in the digestive or urinary system. They also reduce blood pressure and curb the swelling of blood vessels.
- Relieves Depression – Both varieties have been seen to be very effective in fighting depression and for raising spirits. They eliminate feelings of sadness, depression, disappointment, and sluggishness while inducing a sort of happy or charged feeling. Even smelling these oils can help a lot in overcoming depression and bringing about a good mood.
- Removes Toxic Agents – As a sudorific, both varieties of chamomile oil induce profuse perspiration, which helps to remove toxins and agents that cause infections while simultaneously cooling down the body and effectively providing relief from fever, thus serving as a Febrifuge.
- Sedative – German chamomile is well known for is sedative properties. It allows the body and the mind to relax and calm prior to bedtime allowing for a more restful and deeper sleep. This property is also important when it comes to relieving stress, depression and anxiety because it allows the body and the mind to calm and stop racing allowing a person to relax enough to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Getting a proper night’s sleep is also very important when having a cold or flu as sleep helps to heal the body from said infection.
- Shingles — Use topically as a poultice. Combine 10 drops of German chamomile oil, two drops of geranium oil, four drops of bergamot oil, six drops of balm, and five drops of lavender. Mix it in water to use as a compress or in 1 3/4 fluid ounces of almond oil.
- Skin toner — German chamomile oil has astringent properties, which makes it ideal for pore-cleansing treatment. Simply add the essential oil to your own homemade facial cleanser and apply using cotton balls.
- Treats Rheumatism – They cure dysfunctions of the circulatory system, stimulate circulation and detoxify the blood from toxins like uric acid, thereby helping to cure ailments like rheumatism and arthritis, which are caused due to improper circulation and accumulation of uric acid. These abilities classify them as good antiphlogistics, any agents which reduce swelling and edema.
Side Effects of German Chamomile Oil
Never use German chamomile oil during pregnancy as it may induce menstruation and/or premature labor due to its emmenagogue and uterotonic side effects. It also contains coumarin, so care should be taken to avoid potential drug interactions, e.g. with blood thinners. Although there are no existing cases of allergic reactions or hypersensitivity linked to the proper use of German chamomile oil, I still suggest avoiding this essential oil if you have a known allergy to any plant from the Asteraceae or Compositae family to prevent any untoward reactions. If you are not sure whether you’re allergic to it or not, a skin patch test is advised. Apply German chamomile oil on a small portion of your skin and wait for a few hours. If irritation occurs, discontinue use immediately.
If you take any of the following drugs, you should not use German chamomile without first talking to your health care provider:
- Blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants and antiplatelets): Chamomile may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with blood-thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), and aspirin.
- Sedatives: Use caution with sedatives since chamomile can make these drugs stronger, including:
- Anti-seizure medications, such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and valproic acid (Depakote)
- Benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium)
- Drugs to treat insomnia, such as zolpidem (Ambien), zaleplon (Sonata), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and ramelteon (Rozerem)
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil)
- The same is true of sedative herbs, such as valerian, kava, and catnip.
- Blood pressure medications: Chamomile may lower blood pressure slightly. Taking it with drugs for high blood pressure could cause blood pressure to drop too low.
- Diabetes medications: Chamomile may lower blood sugar. Taking it with diabetes drugs could raise the risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
- Hormonal therapies: Due to its similarity to estrogen, chamomile may potentially interfere with drugs such as nolvadex (Tamoxifen) among others.
- Other drugs: Because chamomile is broken down by the liver, it may interact with other drugs that are broken down the same way. Those drugs may include:
- Fexofenadine (Seldane)
- Statins (drugs that can lower cholesterol)
- Birth control pills
- Some antifungal drugs
German chamomile is available as dried flower heads, tea, essential oil, liquid extract, capsules, and topical ointment.
How to Take It
Pediatric – Ask your doctor before giving chamomile tea to a child. Children under 5 should not take more than half a cup of tea per day.
- To relieve colic: Some doctors suggest 1 to 2 oz. of tea per day. Your doctor may recommend other doses.
- Tea: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 to 3 heaping tsp. (2 to 4 g) of dried herb, steep 10 to 15 minutes. Drink 3 to 4 times per day between meals.
- Tincture (1:5, 45% alcohol): 30 to 60 drops of tincture, 3 times per day in hot water.
- Capsules: 300 to 400 mg taken 3 times per day.
- Gargle or mouthwash: Make a tea as above, then let it cool. Gargle as often as desired. You may also make an oral rinse with 10 to 15 drops of German chamomile liquid extract in 100 ml warm water, and use 3 times per day.
- Inhalation: Add a few drops of essential oil of chamomile to hot water (or use tea) and breathe in the steam to calm a cough.
- Bath: Use 1/4 lb. of dried flowers per bath, or add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil to a full tub of water to soothe hemorrhoids, cuts, eczema, or insect bites.
- Poultice: Make a paste by mixing powdered herb with water and apply to inflamed skin.
- Cream: Use a cream with a 3 to 10% chamomile content for psoriasis, eczema, or dry and flaky skin.
History of German Chamomile
The word chamomile comes from the Greek word chamomaela with means ground apple because of its pleasant scent like that of apples and because it grows along the ground. German chamomile also goes by the names Matricaria, Hungarian chamomile, Blue chamomile and True chamomile.
The medicinal uses of German chamomile have been documented throughout the ages. German chamomile has been used for over 2000 years in many cosmetics and perfumes as well as being commonly used medicinally for its many health benefits. Asclepius, Galen, Hippocrates and Culpepper have all written about the amazing soothing and calming properties that it possesses. Back in 78 AD German chamomile was listed in the European standard reference book Dioscorides De Materia Medica because of its many health benefits and uses.
The Egyptian god Ra was said to have used it at a symbol of his almighty power. While the Egyptian people used to use it as offerings to the gods ask for help with healing the body. The Egyptian people also worshipped the plant and had many festivals in honor of the plants many healing properties. They would often crush the flower and apply it to their skin to bring out the youthful glow in hopes to reduce the signs of aging.
The Anglo-Saxons considered German chamomile to be one of the nine scared herbs and not only wrote a poem about these herbs but gave instructions and recipes on how to use these herbs along or together to heal disease and poison.
During the Middle Ages, 476-1500 AD, German chamomile was used as a strewing herb. This means that the herb was scattered or strewn around on the floor and when walked on would release the fragrance within. This strewing was important during gatherings and festivals to help make the event not only smell nice but to give a sense of calm to those attending.
Today German chamomile is used not only as an essential oil because of its many health benefits, but it is also used in many perfumes, cosmetics, food and drinks because of its calming effect, taste, scent and of course it’s many health benefits.
½ cup baking soda, ½ cup vinegar, 5 drop German chamomile EO, 5 drops bergamot EO
Directions: Mix all of the above ingredients together in a glass jar. Massage the mixture into the skin focusing on sore muscles. Soak in a warm bath for at least 15 minutes to calm and relax the body and the mind. Use as needed, daily if desired.
Bedtime Face Lotion
15 drops German chamomile EO, 15 drops lavender EO, 15 drops peppermint EO
¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup coconut oil, ¼ cup beeswax, ¼ cup shea butter, 2 Tbsp. vitamin E
Directions: In a glass bowl added olive oil, beeswax, coconut oil and shea butter. Place the glass bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove and melt together. Mix well. Once the four ingredients are melted and mixed well together remove from heat and place in the refrigerator for at last an hour or until solid. Once the mixture is solid remove the bowl from the fridge. Taking a hand mixer beat the mixture in the bowl until it is fluffy in texture. Add in the essential oils and vitamin E and mix well. Place in a glass container and store in a cool dry place. Apply to the face focusing on the temples prior to bedtime to help promote rest and relaxation of the mind and body.
PMS Saver Blend
2 drops German chamomile EO, 2 drops sage EO, 2 drops basil EO, 2 drops rosemary EO
Directions: Combine all of the essential oils together in a bowl. Pour the essential oils onto a warm moist hand towel and place on the stomach for 5-10 minutes or longer as needed to help relieve the pain, inflammation and cramping of PMS
10 drops lavender EO, 6 drops German chamomile EO, 4 drops peppermint EO
4 oz. fractionated coconut oil
Directions: Melt the coconut oil over low heat on the stove. Once melted remove from heat and add in the essential oils. Mix well. Transfer into a 4 oz glass jar and allow to cool. Apply to affected area as needed at least twice a day.
German Chamomile Body Wash
1 cup water, ¼ cup raw honey, ⅔ cup liquid Castile soap, 30 drops German chamomile EO
1 tsp. vitamin E and 2 tsp. carrier oil of your choosing (argan, coconut, sesame, sweet almond, jojoba, grapeseed, macadamia)
Directions: Mix all of the above ingredients in a glass bottle and mix well. Shake prior to use.
Bonus ways you can experiment with when it comes to using German chamomile essential oil:
- To help relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression add a few drops of German chamomile and rose essential oil to a warm bath or mix and diffuse in a room.
- To help with motion sickness, inhale a combination of German chamomile, peppermint, lavender and ginger essential oils.
- Try having some German chamomile tea to help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It can also help to soothe and calm the stomach.
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