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Comparing Roman vs. German Chamomile: Deciding Which To Use

Chamomile is used around the world for a wide variety of health benefits. And while its popularity and reputation has grown throughout the years, what is less commonly known are the differences between its two main varieties. German (matricaria recutita) and Roman (anthemis nobilis) Chamomile are actually two different species and are distinguished by their […]

Chamomile is used around the world for a wide variety of health benefits. And while its popularity and reputation has grown throughout the years, what is less commonly known are the differences between its two main varieties.

German (matricaria recutita) and Roman (anthemis nobilis) Chamomile are actually two different species and are distinguished by their differentiating properties.

Chamomile, like all essential oils, is identified through its specific chemical composition. The differences between German and Roman Chamomile can be clearly seen in its chemical makeup listed below:

  • German Chamomile: α-bisabolol, chamazulene, a coumarin: umbelliferone, flavonoids: luteolin, apigenin, quercetin, tannins, anthemic acid, choline, polysaccharides and phytoestrogens [1,3],
  • Roman Chamomile: chamazulene, bisabolol, flavonoids: quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, a coumarin: scopoletin-7-glucoside, angelic and tiglic acid esters, anthemic acid, fatty acids and choline [1,2].

Based on chemical composition, we’re able to draw a few conclusions:

  • Roman Chamomile contains esters: isobutyl angelate or isobutyl isobutanoate, which are absent in the German variety. The esters found in Roman Chamomile give the oil a characteristic aroma adding a brighter smell and sweeter top notes. These compounds have also shown to exhibit antimicrobial properties against a whole range of microorganisms such as: Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria and even Candida albicans [4].
  • German Chamomile’s is known for its abundance in α-bisabolol which is its main chemical constituent. It exhibits potent anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory and anti -microbial properties [1]; many find the oil to be  helpful in skin inflammatory conditions like eczema, acne or rashes. It also exhibits a wonderful aroma characterized by a rich, warm and sweet earthy tone coupled with a slightly tobacco-like tailend.
  • Both oils are filled with flavonoids and antioxidants which have been shown to alleviate inflammation. In addition, they also protect the skin from bacterial and fungal infections. Moreover, the apigenin found in Chamomile binds to GABA receptors in our nervous system, inducing a calming and anti-anxiety effect [1].
  • Chamazulene is another chemical constituent found in both species and has been found to add to and augment the anti-inflammatory properties of the oil. Of the two oils, German Chamomile tends to richer in this component [1].
  • Most of the listed substances with the addition of tannins found in the plants have spasmolytic effects on smooth muscle cells. Historically, these effects have been used worldwide in the form of a tea or brew to help bring relief to overreactive bowels.

Popular uses of these oils vary. Most prefer to diffuse Roman Chamomile to take advantage of its antibacterial effects, while German Chamomile is usually applied topically to reduce inflammation. Many studies also suggest both working wonderfully on the skin for bacterial irritations. Roman Chamomile has also been used historically by rubbing the oil on the skin to relieve belly aches in a very short amount of time.

 

References:

  • Shahram Sharafzadeh, Omid Alizadeh; German and Roman Chamomile
  • Andrea Antonem, Cristiano Fabbri; Study on Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile L. All.) Oil
  • J. Fejer, I. Salamon; Breeding of German chamomile, Matricaria recutita L. with a high content of α-bisabolol
  • Stefanie Bail, Gerhard Buchbauer, Leopold Jirovetz, Zapriana Denkova, Alexander Slavchev, Albena Stoyanova, Erich Schmidt, Margit Geissler; Antimicrobial Activities of Roman Chamomile Oil From France and Its Main Compounds
German Chamomile Vs. Roman Chamomile 
From Salvatore Battaglia’s The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy

German Chamomile*

– Relieves muscular aches and pains
– Relaxing to the nerves
– Relieves spasms
– Analgesic, Anti-allergenic, Anti-inflammatory,
– Bacteriacidal
– Emmenagogue

Roman Chamomile*
– Comforting to “the head and brain”
– Sedative
– Considered one of the gentlest essential oils
– Recommended for use with children
– “Full of sunshine and joy…harmonizing,
peaceful, and soothing to the spirit”

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. 

German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
Now our German Chamomile CO2 Extract comes in a lovely Miron Violet glass container! It works as a natural light filter, keeping the integrity of the product intact for a long time!  It blocks the complete spectral range light, of course, except violet. Now in a jar, it is easier to scoop out your desired amount when making blends.Note: a CO2 extract is a much thicker oil, as you can see in photo above. It contains all the oil soluble parts of the plant.  Due to the larger molecules of a CO2 extract, it lends  a stronger anti-inflammatory quality than a steam distilled oil. It’s aroma is much more subtle too.  Use: Suggested for experienced users; must be warmed to thin and blend. Dilution (10%) is recommended when using this product. Read Why Are CO2 extracts are so Awesome!
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