Chamomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind. Many different preparations of chamomile have been developed over the years, and the most popular is in the form of herbal tea, with more than 1 million cups consumed per day. (1) But many people don’t know that Roman chamomile essential oil is even more effective than tea and just as easy to use. Considered to be one of the most ancient and versatile essential oils, Roman chamomile essential oil has been used to treat a variety of conditions because of its anti-spasmodic effects due to its high esters content. Today, it’s commonly used in the natural treatment of nervous system problems, eczema, fever, heartburn, gout, anxiety and insomnia. (17)
Roman chamomile essential oil is steam-distilled from the plant’s flowers and has a sweet, fresh, apple-like and fruity aroma. After distillation, the oil ranges in color from brilliant blue to deep green when fresh but turns to dark yellow after storage. Despite the color fading, the oil does not lose its potency. Approximately 120 secondary metabolites have been identified in chamomile, including 28 terpenoids and 36 flavonoids. Roman chamomile essential oil is mainly constituted from esters of angelic acid and tiglic acid, plus farnesene and a-pinene, which have anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. (16)
Chamomile is one of the most popular herbs in the Western world. There are two plants known as chamomile: the more popular German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman, or English, chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Although they belong to different species, they are used to treat the same health problems. Both are used to calm frayed nerves, to treat stomach problems, to relieve muscle spasms, and to treat skin conditions and mild infections.
Traditionally, Roman chamomile has been used to treat nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and gas. It is often used today to relieve anxiety. Used on the skin, it may also reduce inflammation from cuts or hemorrhoids. It is sometimes used to ease the discomfort from eczema and gingivitis (swollen gums).
Although chamomile is popular, there are not many studies about it. Test tube studies have shown that chamomile can kill bacteria, fungus, and viruses. It also helps relax muscle contractions, particularly in the smooth muscles that make up the intestines.
You can get all of the chamomile benefits from its essential oil by diffusing it at home or applying it topically to the skin, including its ability to calm the mind, relieve digestive issues, treat skin conditions, reduce inflammation and more.
Roman chamomile oil is known for its ability to soothe skin problems and is often added to body care products. It is also beneficial in relieving muscle discomfort after exercise, making it a beneficial addition to massage oils.
Botanical Name: Anthemis nobilis aka Chamamaelum nobile
Method of Extraction: steam distilled
Parts Used: flower
Country of Origin: Hungary
Cultivation Method: Certified Organic
Chamomile essential oils are anti-allergenic, and they help cure acne by removing toxins and cleaning sebaceous and eccrine glands through sweating. As a diuretic, they clean up the urinary system and the kidneys by stimulating increased urination, they detoxify the blood and even increase strength. They can help cure viral infections like mumps or measles and can be used in mouth washes as well, in order to keep away bad breath and eliminate oral infections. German Chamomile oil is a vasoconstrictor, so it reduces blood pressure by relaxing the constriction of vessels, thereby protecting heart health and reducing the chances of developing conditions like atherosclerosis.
A Few Words of Caution
There are no specific risks of using either of the oils that has been widely displayed, except that it should be avoided if someone has a direct allergy to chamomile or to any other members of the Ragweed family, to which Chamomile belongs.
Proven Benefits of Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
Fights Anxiety and Depression
Roman chamomile essential oil has been used as a mild sedative to calm nerves and reduce anxiety by promoting relaxation. Inhaling Roman chamomile is one of the best ways to utilize essential oils for anxiety. The fragrance is carried directly to the brain and serves as an emotional trigger. Research shows that Roman chamomile has been used for relief of depressive and anxiety symptoms all over the world, including a number of regions in southern Italy, Sardinia, Morocco and Brazil. (2)
A 2013 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that an aromatherapy essential oil blend including lavender, Roman chamomile and neroli reduced anxiety levels in patients in an intensive care unit. The aromatherapy treatment effectively reduced the anxiety levels and improved the sleep quality of patients in ICU compared to conventional nursing intervention. (3)
Serves as a Natural Allergy Reliever
Roman chamomile possesses antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, and it’s commonly used for hay fever. It has the power to relieve mucus congestion, irritations, swelling and skin conditions that are associated with seasonal allergy symptoms. When applied topically, Roman chamomile oil helps relieve skin irritations that may be due to food allergies or sensitivities.
Helps Alleviate PMS Symptoms
Roman chamomile essential oil serves as a natural mood booster that helps reduce feelings of depression — plus its antispasmodic properties allow it to soothe menstrual cramps and body aches that are commonly associated with PMS, such as headaches and back pain. (4) Its relaxant properties make it a valuable remedy for PMS symptoms, and it can even help clear up acne that may appear as a result of hormone fluctuations. (5)
Reduces Symptoms of Insomnia
The relaxing properties of Roman chamomile promote healthy sleep and fight insomnia. A 2006 case study explored the inhalation effects of Roman chamomile essential oil on mood and sleep. The results found the volunteers experienced more drowsiness and calmness, demonstrating its potential to improve sleep and help enter a restful state. Inhalation of chamomile reduces a stress-induced increase in plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone levels. (6)
According to a 2005 study published in Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, chamomile extracts exhibit benzodiazepine-like hypnotic activity. A significant decrease in the time it took to fall asleep was observed in rats who received chamomile extract at a dose of 300 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. (7)
Boosts Skin Health
Roman chamomile promotes smooth, healthy skin and relieves irritations because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It has been used as a natural remedy for eczema, wounds, ulcers, gout, skin irritations, bruises, burns, canker cores, and even skin conditions like cracked nipples, chicken pox, ear and eye infections, poison ivy, and diaper rash. (8)
Supports Digestive Health
Chamomile is used traditionally for numerous gastrointestinal conditions, including digestive disorders. Roman chamomile essential oil contains anodyne compounds that are antispasmodic and can be used to treat or relieve digestive issues, such as gas, leaky gut, acid reflux, indigestion, diarrhea and vomiting. It’s especially helpful in dispelling gas, soothing the stomach and relaxing the muscles so food can move through the intestines with ease. (9) Because of its relaxing properties, Roman chamomile can also be used internally and topically to get rid of nausea.
Promotes Heart Health
Roman chamomile provides cardiovascular protection because of its high levels of flavonoids, which have been shown to significantly reduce mortality from coronary heart disease when taken internally. (10) Because of the flavonoids present in Roman chamomile essential oil, it may lower blood pressure and have a relaxing effect on the heart.
May Relieve Arthritic Pain
A study in human volunteers demonstrated that chamomile flavonoids and essential oils penetrate below the surface into deeper skin layers. This is important for their use as topical anti-inflammatory agents that can effectively treat arthritic pain. When applied topically or added to a warm water bath, Roman chamomile oil helps reduce pain in the lower back, knees, wrists, fingers and other problematic areas. (11)
Gentle Enough for Children
For centuries, mothers have used chamomile to calm crying children, reduce fevers, eliminate earaches and soothe upset stomachs. It’s often called the “kid calmer” because of its ability to help children with ADD/ADHD, and it’s one of the gentlest essential oils on the planet, making it great for infants and children.
A 1997 study examined the effects of a chamomile extract and apple pectin preparation in 79 children with acute, non-complicated diarrhea. Researchers found that diarrhea ended sooner in children treated with chamomile and pectin for three days than in the placebo group. These results provide evidence that chamomile can be used safely on children as a colic natural remedy and to treat upset stomachs. (12)
Displays Anticancer Activity
Studies evaluating chamomile on preclinical models of skin, prostate, breast and ovarian cancer have shown promising growth inhibitory effects. In a 2007 study conducted at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, chamomile extracts were shown to cause minimal growth inhibitory effects on normal cells but significant reductions in cell viability in various human cancer cell lines. Chamomile exposure induced apoptosis in cancer cells but not in normal cells at similar doses. The study represents the first reported demonstration of the anticancer effects of chamomile. (13)
A 2009 study evaluated the effects of a newly developed botanical agent containing seven standardized extracts, including Panax ginseng, cranberry, green tea, grape skin, reishi mushroom and chamomile on prostate cancer cells in mice. The treatment of prostate cancer cells with the botanical mixture resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of cell growth; all three groups of mice bearing moderate or large tumors showed significant inhibition of tumor growth and lymph node metastasis. The botanical agent also had a good safety profile and exerted no toxicity when used in high doses. (14)
In addition to these Roman chamomile essential oil benefits, preliminary research suggests that chamomile may also help treat hemorrhoids, have a protective effect on pancreatic beta cells in diminishing hyperglycemia-related oxidative stress, relieve symptoms of vaginitis (vaginal inflammation – recommended to douche with chamomile tea), treat the common cold, and relieve sore throat and hoarseness.
There are two plants known as chamomile: the more popular German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman, or English, chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Although they belong to different species, they are used to treat the same health problems.
How to Use Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
Roman chamomile essential oil is available in health stores and online. It can be diffused, applied to the skin topically and taken internally. Here are some easy ways to use Roman chamomile oil:
To fight anxiety and depression, diffuse 5 drops essential oil, or inhale it directly from the bottle.
Add 1–2 drops essential oil to your favorite moisturizer, shampoo, or conditioner for youthful-looking skin and hair.
To improve digestion and leaky gut, apply 2–4 drops essential oil topically to the abdomen. When diluted with a carrier oil like coconut oil, it can even be used in low doses for children with colic and diarrhea.
For a restful sleep, diffuse chamomile oil next to bed, rub 1–2 drops essential oil onto the temples or inhale it directly from the bottle.
To help calm children, diffuse Roman chamomile oil at home or dilute 1–2 drops essential oil with carrier oil and apply the mixture topically to the area in need (such as the temples, stomach, wrists, back of neck or bottoms of the feet).
To use as a home remedy for acne, treat various skin conditions and combat the signs of aging, add 2–3 drops essential oil to a clean cotton ball and apply chamomile oil to the area of concern, or add 5 drops essential oil to a face wash. If you have very sensitive skin, dilute chamomile with a carrier oil before applying it topically. (15)
To promote heart health, apply 2–4 drops essential oil topically over the heart or take internally by placing it under the tongue.
To ease nausea, inhale Roman chamomile essential oil directly from the bottle, or combine it with ginger, peppermint and lavender oil and diffuse. It can also be used topically on temples to help with nausea.
Precautions & Interactions
Because Roman chamomile essential oil is an emmenagogue, which means that it stimulates blood flow in the pelvic area, it should not be used during pregnancy. When you use chamomile essential oil internally, do it for up to two weeks at a time and use only the highest quality essential oil.
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.
Do not give it to children under 18 years of age. Always using under care of a doctor or license Herbalist.
Avoid using on pets if you are not experienced. NEVER USE ON CATS!
Do not take internally! Experiences are my own and not medically proven or accepted.
Repeated use or overuse can cause sensitization.
Can cause extreme skin irritation, especially if used without dilution. It is strongly recommended to use a carrier oil and not directly on skin.
Roman chamomile is considered generally safe.
Chamomile may make asthma worse, so people with asthma should not take it.
Pregnant women should avoid chamomile because of the risk of miscarriage. Avoid potential risks during breast feeding.
If you are allergic to asters, daisies, chrysanthemums, or ragweed, you may also be allergic to chamomile.
Drinking a lot of highly concentrated chamomile tea may cause vomiting.
Chamomile may cause drowsiness, so DO NOT take it and drive.
Stop taking chamomile at least 2 weeks before surgery or dental work, because of the risk of bleeding.
If you currently take any of the following drugs, you should not use 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: Chamomile can make these drugs stronger, including:
- Anti-seizure drugs, 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.
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 lower cholesterol)
- Birth control pills
- Some antifungal drugs
- May cause skin irritation.
As with all essential oils, never use them undiluted, in eyes or mucus membranes. Do not take internally unless working with a qualified and expert practitioner. Keep away from children. If applying an essential oil to your skin always perform a small patch test to an insensitive part of the body (after you have properly diluted the oil in an appropriate carrier.