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German vs Roman Chamomile: The Differences and When to Use Each

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The difference between German vs Roman Chamomile is a question I’m often asked.

These little daisy-like flowers are so different. Though they share a name, the plants and essential oils of each have their own unique Latin names and chemistries with varying aromas, colors, and therapeutic activities!


Let’s take a look at German vs Roman Chamomile; how they are different and similar and when to use each. We’ve also shared some fabulous DIY home recipes for you to use with each of these essential oils.

Both German chamomile and Roman Chamomile are varieties of Anthemis nobilis, a perennial flowering plant native to Europe, North Africa, and parts of Asia. Each flower has thin ray petals surrounding a yellow center disk that appear as the distinguishing characteristics of both German and Roman Chamomile.

The two most critical chemistries in German vs Roman chamomile are esters/lactones and azulenes/bisabolol oxides . Esters are molecules that release carbon-carbon bonds when hydrolized (broken), making the essential oil less viscous which is why it can be used topically without being diluted. Azulenes are a group of six naturally occurring sesquiterpene molecules that give German Chamomile its blue color and bitter scent. Bisabolol oxides are anti-inflammatory molecules that add sedative qualities to both oils.

Both German and Roman Chamomile are said to have pain relieving properties. However german is best known for treating inflammations affecting the skin such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, shingles and other skin issues.

image of bottles of essential oil with bowl of roman and german chamomile flowers with the text German vs Roman Chamomile: The Differences and When to Use Each

German vs Roman Chamomile: The Similarities and Differences

German Chamomile essential oil is very dark blue or green, filled with sesquiterpenes and oxides. it’s a great anti-inflammatory and skin-healing oil. Its aroma is earthy and somewhat bitter.

The Latin name for Roman Chamomile is Chamaemelum nobile. It is light green or blue and filled with esters. It’s a strong antispasmodic, and its aroma is fruity and light.

Essential oils have vastly different properties depending on the Latin name. For example, German Chamomile essential oil is very calming and can be used for anxiety or insomnia whereas Roman chamomile has a more potent smell that stimulates senses as opposed to relaxing them.

In many ways both varieties are very similar, and in some ways they are very different. These differences become important when we are treating conditions of the body, emotions and mind with our home essential oil kits.

Let’s take a look at the difference between German vs Roman Chamomile essential oils; two amazing and useful oils.

Both German and Roman Chamomile plants grow wild in various parts of the world.

German Chamomile Essential Oil

When comparing two oils, it is important to look at the Latin name for each.  Similar sounding oil names may be very different plants or contain different chemical components.

The Latin name for German Chamomile is Matricaria recutita.

It originated from England, Europe, and Northern Asia.

German Chamomile is rich in several chemical Families including sesquiterpenes, sesquiterpenols and oxides

German Chamomile is steam distilled using the flowers of the plant.

It is known as a middle-base note for its fragrance.

German Chamomile is a perennial, which usually propagates by seed planting. However, the stems are hairless and branching with few flowers at the tops of each stem.

What's the difference between German vs Roman Chamomile? Read on to take a look at German vs Roman Chamomile and when to use each.(plus DIY recipes for each oil. Click To Tweet

Contains chamazulene, giving the oil its deep blue color, and anti-inflammatory and infection fighting properties.

The Matricaria Chamomilla is a self-seeding annual plant with hairless stems that grows anywhere from 8 – 12 inches tall during peak season.

Its aroma is strong, bitter, herbal, and slightly fruity. German Chamomile has a dominant aroma, and a small amount can go a long way.

The flowers are steam distilled for a powerful aroma reminiscent of chamomile tea when harvested at the height of summer’s heat. Their essential oil is an indescribably deep blue color thanks to its high concentration in azulene content – so be careful not spill any as it will leave a lasting stain on carpets and other surfaces.

Chamomile German has a soothing scent and contains compounds that calm the liver, support digestion, reduce inflammation in intestines.

Chamomile German is rich with sesquiterpene derivatives- especially its chemical components of alpha-bisabolol and azulene. These two substances are known to stimulate enzymes within the liver which aid in detoxification by relieving intestinal cramping.

The plant known as Chamomile German has been shown to reduce the perception of pain, ease tired muscles and aching joints, assist with nasal allergies or minor cuts. Furthermore, it is emotionally calming helping settle frayed nerves after an exhausting day.

The high farnesene content of German Chamomile oil makes it effective in fighting infection. Oils with this chemical are also good at preventing oxidation, which is a process that can lead to cell death and aging skin. Matricaria recutita is produced in many areas of the world, some have more chemicals than others, but all contain various levels of antioxidants including matricin, chamazulene or guaiazuline ingredients for protection against free radicals.

A bottle of dark blue German chamomile essential oil and fresh flowers on a bright background for the post German vs Roman Chamomile: The Differences and When to Use Each

Chamazulene is not classified as a sesquiterpene because it does not have the 15 carbon backbone – its molecular formula is C14H16. However, it is derived from matricine, which is a sesquiterpene.

Medicinally, it is used for:

  • calming and soothing skin (calms dry, irritated, or flaky skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis and promotes healing and regeneration of damaged skin tissue)
  • reducing inflammation
  • eliminating fevers
  • nervous system support
  • digestive system support (stimulates liver, kidneys, and gall bladder to improve digestion)
  • inducing perspiration to flush out toxins, allergens, and infections
  • pain relief
  • antibiotic
  • anti-bacterial use
  • sedation
  • calming mind and body for menstrual and menopausal problems, including PMS

Scientists are rapidly learning that chamomile extract may inhibit cancer growth and induce cell death in human cells. A study published last year found that a compound called apigenin, present both in German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman Camomiles (Chamaemelum nobilis), is responsible for the anti-cancer properties of this herb. This indicates exciting new possibilities for treatment options to help people with different types of cancers!

Safety Information on German Chamomile

German Chamomile is a potent anti-inflammatory that stimulates blood flow and soothes inflammation. It has the potential to inhibit some metabolizing enzymes in your body, which could lead to an increased intensity of effects for certain medications such as antidepressants like fluoxetine or paroxetine. German Chamomile can have drug interactions with codeine, tamoxifen, and other drugs because it inhibits CYP2D6 enzyme production; however, these are usually minor when taken orally at doses less than 250 mg daily.

German Chamomile is not suggested for pregnant and nursing moms as it stimulate blood flow when used in high concentrations.

German Chamomile Recipes

Fresh medicinal roman chamomile flowers in bowl on rustic wooden background, square format for the post German vs Roman Chamomile: The Differences and When to Use Each

Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

Roman Chamomile is a perennial. The flowers on the stems of this tiny evergreen perennials measure at least 1 inch diameter with hairy leaves. The flowers have five petals which vary in color from light yellow or white to deep pink depending upon where they were grown.

Roman chamomile has been used as both food flavoring and medicine since ancient times, but it was not until medieval Europe when it began being cultivated commercially due its popularity by European nobility who placed them around their castle gardens because they believed these plants promoted good fortune.

The Latin name for Roman Chamomile is Chamamelum nobile and it originated in France, Italy, and England.

Essence of flowers on a table in a beautiful glass jar; roman chamomile for the post German vs Roman Chamomile: The Differences and When to Use Each

Steam distilled from the flowers of the plant; it is considered a middle-top note fragrance.

Its aroma is sweet, warm, and intense. It has a fruity, apple-like, herbal aroma.

The main chemical families found in Roman Chamomile include monoterpenes, monoterpenols, ketones and esters.

The high ester content of this oil provides a balancing and antispasmodic effect.

With a yellow-pale blue color and is anti-spasmodic, anti-fungal. Contains high level of esters that are known to provide restful sleep for people who suffer from sore muscles or arthritis by providing relief as well as calming agitation in mood swings while also reducing the effects of teething pain on children when taken at nighttime before they go to bed.

Roman Chamomile oil is a great way to relax your stomach muscles and help relieve menstrual cramps, body aches, and back pain. This potent antispasmodic has been proven effective in many ways: by relaxing tense abdominal muscles; relieving common digestive issues like gas or bloating; calming the uterus during menstruation which can reduce severe period pains due to uterine contractions.

Roman Chamomile is a calming herb that can help soothe the nervous system, reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality. This botanical essential oil has also been found to be helpful for those suffering from depression.

The gorgeous oil is a powerhouse that will provide soothing relief to irritated skin. It has been used as a natural remedy for dry skin, superficial wounds, and minor burns or rashes.

Chamomile has been used for centuries as a calming remedy, with the flowers of Roman Chamomile being thought to be more effective than German Chamomile. Studies conducted on chamomiles show that these herbs act as mild tranquilizers.

Roman Chamomile has been a popular herb for centuries. Recently researchers have discovered some of the secrets hidden behind this friendly plant, including its high antioxidant and antimicrobial properties which are rivaled by none!

Roman chamomile is one of those herbs that’s always been around, but recent studies reveal more about it than we ever knew before. For instance, new research suggests it possesses the highest antioxidant activity when compared to other essential oils in plants like eucalyptus or peppermint. And with these amazing qualities comes an even bigger surprise – Roman Chamomile ranks as low on toxicity scale so you can use without worry if your skin reacts poorly to other ingredients!

In a recent study published in the Journal of Natural Products, Roman Chamomile was found to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties which could be used for treating hypoglycemia and reducing oxidative stress.

Medicinally, it is used for:

Safety Information on Roman Chamomile

Non-toxic, non-irritating. Not suggested for pregnant and nursing moms as they stimulate blood flow when used in high concentrations.

Roman Chamomile Recipes

Cramp Cure

1 oz unscented cream or lotion (you can also use a carrier oil)
6 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
1 drop Rose essential oil
3 drops Lavender essential oil
2 drops Bergamot essential oil
3 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil

Blend oils into cream or carrier oil. Massage into the cramped area several times daily.

Learn all about carrier oils in this post and find unscented lotion on Amazon at a great price.

Anxiety & Stress Inhaler

Aromatherapy Inhaler
5 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
5 drops Lavender essential oil
5 drops Vetiver essential oil
5 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil

Mix your essential oil blend in a glass bowl or jar. Place the cotton wick from inhaler in your glass bowl to adsorb your essential oils. Use tweezers to remove wick and insert into your inhaler tube. Place top section onto inhaler tube. Use during a panic attack, stressful moments or when anxiety settles in.

We love creating DIY inhalers for various wellness concerns such as allergies and stress!

You can use essential oils to help your family’s physical, emotional and mental health. One way is by choosing the right one for you! Knowing the difference between German vs Roman Chamomile will help you to select the right one for any situation.  Both chamomiles will be an asset in any home because of their many benefits that are perfect for a variety of situations.

Sources:

Study shows chamomile capsules ease anxiety symptoms. (2015).  National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved from https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/040310.htm

Amsterdam, J. D., Shults, J., Soeller, I., Mao, J. J., Rockwell, K., & Newberg, A. B. (2012). Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may provide antidepressant activity in anxious, depressed humans: an exploratory study. Alternative therapies in health and medicine18(5), 44-9.

Guimarães, R., Barros L., Dueñas, M., Calhelha, R., Carvalho, A., Santos-Buelga, C., Queiroz, M., Ferreira, I. (2013). Nutrients, phytochemicals, and bioactivity of wild Roman chamomile: a comparison between the herb and its preparations. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23122119

Srivastava, J.K., Shankar, E., & Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with a bright future (Review). Molecular Medicine Reports, 3, 895-901. 

Butje, A. (2016). Should You Use Roman Chamomile or German Chamomile? Retrieved from https://blog.aromahead.com/2016/05/16/use-roman-chamomile-german-chamomile

Amsterdam, J., Shults, J., Soeller, I., Mao J., Rockwell, K., Newberg, A. (2012). Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may provide antidepressant activity in anxious, depressed humans: an exploratory study. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22894890

Chamomile. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/chamomile/ataglance.htm

Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., & Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Molecular medicine reports3(6), 895-901. 

Chamomile. (2018). Michigan Medicine University of Michigan. Healthnotes, Inc. Retrieved from https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2066005

Ford-Martin, P. and Odle, T. G. 2005. Aromatherapy. In J.L. Longe, ed. Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Second Edition, Volume I (A–C). Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, p. 123.

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