When I say “chamomile,” what does it make you think or feel?
For a lot of us it inspires ideas of comfort, relaxation, and aromatic sweetness. Some people imagine a warm cup of tea in their hands. Those are qualities that would be perfect in many Aromatherapy blends.
But before you go getting recipe ideas and reaching for a bottle of chamomile essential oil, it’s important to know which kind you’re using.
It is Roman Chamomile or German Chamomile?
We call them both “chamomile,” but they have a different genus and species.
Roman Chamomile's Latin name is Chamaemelum nobile.
German Chamomile's Latin name is Matricaria recutita.
When might you use Roman Chamomile or German Chamomile in your blend?
Roman Chamomile — I love Chamaemelum nobile in blends for easing anxiety, and in blends for calming the belly. If my stomach is tight and uncomfortable for any reason, this is my go-to oil! It’s such a gentle, nurturing oil, and just as capable of easing physical tension as emotional or mental tension. I use this essential oil often in children’s Aromatherapy recipes.
German Chamomile — Matricaria recutita has effective anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties that I like to combine with Helichrysum and Lavender. It’s right at home in body butters for sore joints or injuries, especially injuries to tendons or ligaments.
Both Roman and German Chamomile are very emotionally and mentally calming. They’re also both skin-friendly. If you’re going to use one after a long day, decide whether you want to focus on easing tension and relaxing, or if you need to really heal some physical pain.
The dramatic differences are due to the different chemical components in each oil. When you understand a little bit of Aromatherapy chemistry, you can get ideas for all kinds of healing blends. I have so much fun teaching this in Aromahead’s online Aromatherapy Certification Program.
Common names for essential oils can change from place to place. So checking the Latin names is the only way to be sure you’ve got the right oil for your blending.