Smorgasbord The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Aromatherapy – Chamomile Essential Oil

Twenty years ago I ran a health food shop and diet advisory centre here in Ireland and we sold essential oils for aromatherapy. I thought that I should learn more about it and took a course on the subject. It is not something that I have covered here on the blog, and I am looking forward to refreshing my memory from my course notes. and introducing you to this relaxing therapy at the same time.

What is Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy uses essential oils which have been extracted from specific sweet smelling plants for therapeutic massage. They are blended with specialised carrier oils to ensure that they are used in a diluted form and are easily absorbed by the skin. The oils can also be used to add these therapeutic aromas to our environment as well with the use of burners.

This is the fourth in the posts on the individual essential oils and how they can be included in our daily lives.

You can find the previous parts of this series in this directory:

Today I am looking at the versatile Chamomile that we find not just in skincare but also as a calming drink in times of stress or to enjoy a restful night’s sleep.

Chamomile is made from the flowers from UK, France and Egypt. There are two types Roman and German and they have slightly different properties and therapeutic benefits.

  • Scent: Herbaceus, light, fruit
  • Usage: Skin Care, Massage, Compresses, Tea.
  • Note: Middle
  • Mood: Consoling
  • Safety: Usually none needed.

For a very calming and floral sounding essential oil, chamomile is actually a very powerful extract. It is known for some very beneficial properties and is an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-biotic,anti-bacterial, pain reliever, anti-depressant and can help remove toxins from the body.

The botanical name for Roman Chamomile (Camomile) is Anthemis Nobilis and we are more familiar with it in tea form which is usually available on our supermarket shelves. The botanical name for German Chamomile is Matricaria recutita and they both have certain bioactive ingredients and uses in common there are some differences that determine which condition they are applied to.

For example Terpenoids such as chamazulene (azulene) which is in a higher concentration in the German Chamomile, not only gives it a bluer colouration, but makes it a more powerful anti-inflammatory than the Roman variety.

Chamomile has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy for a number of common ailments including fevers and joint pain and is also very calming for rashes and other skin inflammations.

The use of the herb goes back to ancient Egypt and its use filtered across the world over the next thousand years or so and by the time of the middle ages it was being used by herbalists in Europe. The flowers of the plant were soaked in white wine as a cure for water retention, then knows as dropsy and also for liver conditions such as jaundice. It was also found to have a calming effect on patients, relieved inflammation and could also relieve chest infections and asthma.

And if you were looking to avoid bleach in your hair dye… the women of the past would make a dye from the Roman chamomile flowers to lighten their hair naturally.

Research is extensive into this herb and there are a number of varieties that have both a different physical appearance and growth pattern as well as varying health benefits.

Here is just a brief list of the health issues that the oil, tea and lotion can be applied to.

  • If you drink chamomile tea (infusions) regularly then you may find that it ease muscle and rheumatic conditions, skin rashes and help you sleep better at night. It has anti-spasmodic action that helps digestion and is great to drink after a meal. It may also help alleviate morning sickness when drunk first thing.
  • For anyone who suffers gastrointestinal problems such as diverticulitis, IBS or ulcerative colitis, drinking the tea daily may help relieve the symptoms and heal the gut to prevent leaky gut syndrome. There is some research that indicates that it may relieve the inflammation associated with Crohn’s Disease, but I do advise that you talk to a herbalist before using. It is not usual to ingest essential oils as they are much stronger than the teas, but I use one drop of peppermint in hot water for stomach cramps and I have also used one drop of Roman Chamomile to make a calming drink. Do ask advice however of a qualified practitioner before using any oil for internal use.
  • It certainly appears to have a relaxing effect on both adults and young children and is one herb that can be used for babies. But, do always ask the advice of a qualified herbalists before you do so to make sure you are using correct dosages of infusions before using to help with teething problems and stomach upsets in babies.
  • Is an anti-spasmodic you can use to ease cramping during a period and to help relieve the symptoms of the menopause.
  • It may relieve hay fever and other allergies particularly when used as a lotion on skin rashes or inflammation. It can also stimulate healing of wounds or burns but again follow directions when used for this purpose. If you use some drops in your bath water it is soothing for a number of skin conditions such as eczema and also act as an anti-bacterial agent to prevent the spread of any infections.
  • German chamomile is a vasodilator and relaxes the walls of blood vessels therefore reducing blood pressure.
  • Use a drop of oil in some warm water for an effective mouthwash and to help heal soft tissue in the mouth including gum disease.
  • It can be inhaled to relieve the symptoms of hay fever which is particularly useful at this time of year.
  • In studies it is believed that Roman chamomile can be beneficial for heart disease as it contains high levels of flavonoids and it might also lower blood pressure.
  • The slight diuretic effect can help detoxify the body by stimulating the kidneys and urine output. It can also relieve the symptoms of cystitis and help remove parasites.
  • Both varieties of the oil are indicated to lift mild depression (again do not come off any prescribed medication without the knowledge of your doctor). They also have a relaxing effect on the nervous system as a whole, particular when related to spasms or other nerve related issues.

Blending Chamomile with other essential oils.

Chamomile blends well in skin preparations and in infusers with quite a few other essential oils and here are just some that I prefer to combine with it.

Bergamot citrus fruit originates from Italy and a yellow to green colour depending on ripeness and uses the rind.

Image wikipedia.

  • Scent: citrus
  • Usage: Massage, bath, inhaled
  • Note:  Middle
  • Mood: Uplifting
  • Safety: avoid sunlight.

Clary Sage from France and Russia uses the whole plant.

  • Scent: Herbaceous, earthy
  • Usage: Inhalation, Bath, Skin Care, Massage.
  • Note: Middle
  • Mood: Calming
  • Safety: Avoid with alcohol and in pregnancy (may result in early contractions, but is used for this purpose at time of delivery)

Frankincense from Somalia and Oman is extracted from the resin.

  • Scent: Incense, warm
  • Usage: Inhalation, Bath, Skin Care, Massage
  • Note: Middle, Base
  • Mood: Calming
  • Safety: None indicated.

Geranium from Egypt, Madagascar, China is made from the whole plant.

  • Scent: Floral
  • Usage: Skin Care, Massage, Baths
  • Note: Middle
  • Mood: Harmonising
  • Safety: None Indicated.

Neroli is made from the flowers and comes from Morocco, Tunisia and France.

  • Scent: Floral
  • Usage: Skin care, massage, baths
  • Note: Top
  • Mood: Calming
  • Safety: None indicated

Ylang Ylang is made from the flowers and comes from Madagascar.

  • Scent: Floral
  • Usage: massage, baths, skin care
  • Note: Middle
  • Mood: Seductive
  • Safety: None indicated.

I buy my skincare made with essential oils from a local supplier and also have made mine  using a sensitive aroma free lotion, usually baby lotion, and then adding two drops of my preferred essential oils at a time until I find the blend that suits me best.

I like this site for both ideas and recipes and also to buy products ready made when I cannot source locally. I recommend that you head over and explore.

Contraindications for the use of Chamomile oils and infusions.

  • Because of the anti-spasmodic effect of chamomile and because it could cause contractions, pregnant women should not use the essential oil.
  • Essential oils should not be used on children under the age of five.
  • Both the tea and essential oil can increase the effect of certain prescribed sedatives or anti-depressants.
  • Both the tea and essential oil must not be taken with anti-coagulants such as Warfarin.

I hope you have found interesting you can find the previous posts of this series in this directory:

Thanks for dropping Sally








20 thoughts on “Smorgasbord The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Aromatherapy – Chamomile Essential Oil

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  2. Pingback: Essential Oils: Are They Essential To Your Recovery? – Life on the Sober Side

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