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German Chamomile Essential Oil (Blue Chamomile)
Although German Chamomile Essential Oil possesses numerous beneficial actions (see the section below), I first think of German Chamomile oil as a powerful anti-inflammatory for use in topical applications.
German Chamomile Essential Oil is a deep, dark blue hue due to the presence of the sesquiterpene chamazulene. During steam distillation of the essential oil, the natural matricin that is present in German Chamomile reacts to form the chamazulene that we find in the oil. As with Yarrow or Blue Tansy Essential Oil, the hue can sometimes be a deterrent when working with the oil. For example, I make and take my own blends when I travel. To minimize discoloration to clothing if it leaks in my luggage, I tend to leave out the German Chamomile Essential Oil from my anti-inflammatory travel blend and instead substitute Roman Chamomile Oil. For room sprays and body mists where essential oil color can again be a consideration, I use Roman Chamomile Oil. I prefer to use German Chamomile strictly for direct topical applications (i.e. wound care, inflamed skin, etc.).
German Chamomile Oil tends to be comprised of 60-70% Sesquiterpenes and 10-15% Oxides. Roman Chamomile Oil, on the other hand, is comprised of approximately 75% Esters and 10% Monoterpenols. Their natural chemistry is rather different, however, many of their general applications are similar.
Aromatically, most individuals prefer Roman Chamomile Essential Oil. However, German Chamomile does possess a beautiful and somewhat similar sweet, herbal-chamomile aroma that shouldn't be overlooked. For emotional applications, Roman Chamomile is often the one to choose. For skin care and occasions in which a strong anti-inflammatory oil is beneficial, the German Chamomile is the better choice.
Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria chamomilla
Common Method of Extraction
Plant Part Typically Used
Strength of Initial Aroma
Sweet, fruity, herbaceous.
German Chamomile Oil Actions and Uses
Analgesic, anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, antiphlogistic, antispasmodic, bactericidal, carminative, cicatrisant, cholagogue, emmenagogue, hepatic, sedative, stomachic, vulnerary. [Salvatore Battaglia, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy (Australia: The Perfect Potion, 2003), 180.]
Abscesses, allergies, arthritis, boils, colic, cuts, cystitis, dermatitis, dysmenorrhea, earache, flatulence, hair, headache, inflamed skin, insect bites, insomnia, nausea, neuralgia, PMS, rheumatism, sores, sprains, strains, stress, wounds. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 56-67.]
[Shirley Price, The Aromatherapy Workbook (Hammersmith, London: Thorsons, 1993), 54-5.]
Tisserand and Young caution that a drug interaction may occur if using drugs metabolized by CYP2D6. Reading Tisserand and Young's full profile is recommended. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 243.] According to Julia Lawless, German Chamomile Oil may cause dermatitis in some. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 168.]
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General Safety Information
Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children. It is safest to consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
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