German Chamomile Essential Oil (Blue Chamomile)
Matricaria recutita / Matricaria chamomilla
German Chamomile Essential Oil is steam distilled from the flowers and buds of the chamomile species Matricaria recutita or Matricaria chamomilla.
Although German Chamomile Essential Oil offers many beneficial uses (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 dark blue in color due to the presence of the sesquiterpene chamazulene. The oil is also known as Blue Chamomile Essential Oil because of how intensely blue the oil is.
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 Essential Oil or Blue Tansy Essential Oil, the dark blue 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. Roman Chamomile Oil is clear to very pale blue in color. 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 Oil strictly for topical applications with proper dilution (i.e. wound care, inflamed skin, etc.).
German Chamomile Essential 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 Essential Oil 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.
German Chamomile CO2 Supercritical Extract is also available. The CO2 extract contains approximately 1-3% matricin which is considered more effective as an anti-inflammatory than chamazulene. The CO2 extract features an aroma that many prefer to that of the steam distilled essential oil. However, this extract is thick to work with.
German Chamomile Essential Oil Benefits and Uses
- Ear Ache
- Inflamed Skin
- Insect Bites
Source: Julia Lawless, The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Updated Edition) (London: Harper Thorsons, 2014), 69-70.
Common Method of Extraction
Plant Part Typically Used
Strength of Initial Aroma
German Chamomile Essential Oil smells sweet, fruity and herbaceous.
Source: Shirley Price, The Aromatherapy Workbook (Hammersmith, London: Thorsons, 1993), 54-5.
German Chamomile Essential Oil Safety Information
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.]
German Chamomile CO2 Supercritical Select and Total Extracts
In addition to being available as an essential oil, this botanical is available from a small number of reputable sources as a CO2 extract. CO2 extracts offer many advantages. However, they can have differing safety precautions than essential oils because the natural chemistry of CO2 extracts can differ from their essential oil counterparts. Not much safety information is documented from trusted sources for CO2 extracts. Use CO2 extracts with great care and do not assume that every CO2 extract has the same safety precautions as its essential oil counterpart.
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. For general dilution information, read AromaWeb's Guide to Diluting Essential Oils. 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 and be sure to first read the recommended dilution ratios for children. Consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you have medical issues or are taking medications. Before using this or any essential oil, carefully read AromaWeb's Essential Oil Safety Information page. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
Important Information About the Profiles
The essential oil information provided on AromaWeb is intended for basic educational purposes only. The references to safety information, test results, constituents and percentages is generalized information. Essential oils can vary greatly in composition. The data is not necessary complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate. The essential oil photos are intended to represent the typical and approximate color of each essential oil. However, essential oil composition and color can vary based on harvesting, distillation, age of the essential oil and other factors. Profiles for several CO2 Extracts and absolutes are included within the directory, and are denoted as such.