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romatherapy Materia Medica

Chamomile (Roman)
(Chamaemelum nobile, formerly Anthemis nobilis)

© Kathi Keville, Mindy Green
 (Excerpted from Aromatherapy)

This short-growing perennial produces very little chamazulene, so the resulting oil is pale yellow, not blue. It is a digestive stimulant and antispasmodic used for constipation and insomnia. Its applelike fragrance gives chamomile the Spanish name manzanita ("little apple"). Medieval monks planted this species on the raised "healing beds" they made in their gardens for invalids to lie upon to relieve depression.

Associated Oils:
The various types of chamomile are all antidepressants and anti-inflammatory; all treat burns, eczema and skin irritation.

Ormenis (Chamaemelum mixtum, formerly Anthemis mixta and sometimes Ormenis mixta or O. multicaulis) --Native to west Africa and Spain, ormenis is distilled in Morocco where it is also sold as "blue chamomile," although the oil is yellow, not blue. (The blue oil is probably Tanacetum annuum, also sold as blue chamomile.) There is some confusion about the genus and species of these oils, but hopefully importers will someday clarify their botanical origins. Less expensive than the first two chamomiles, both "blue" oils are anti-inflammatory. The related Tansy (Tanacetum Vulgare) oil is toxic and should not be used.
Artemisia Arborescens (Artemisia arborescens) --Commonly called "great mugwort," this oil is related to wormwood and mugwort. It has a sweet fragrance like the tanacetum annuum, and treats inflammation, bruising and pain. It contains potentially toxic ketones like those found in wormwood, so use it very carefully. A blue oil, it is also sometimes sold as "blue chamomile."

About The Author
Kathi Keville has studied herbs since 1969. Her attraction to fragrant plants led to an involvement in aromatherapy. Her other books include Herbs for Health and Healing;......more
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