Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), often wrongly spelled as Camomile, is a flowering plant belonging to the daisy family. It is also known as Hungarian chamomile and true chamomile. The plant is indigenous to Asia and Europe and is used for several therapeutic purposes. The Saxons considered this plant as a sacred herb. The essential oil extracted from chamomile has been in use for more than 2000 years for treating conditions, such as nervous anxiety and insomnia. Chamomile essential oil is obtained from the freshly dried out white flowers of this herb. Chamomile essential oil possesses a sweet and fruit scent, something resembling the smell of apples. This essential oil is mild and has been traditionally used by herbalists for its aptitude to unwind the tense nerves - particularly in the case of children who are overactive or always excited. Chamomile is also effective for treating skin conditions, especially for comforting irritated skin. It is very useful when used in cold compresses or steam facials. The essential oil extracted from dried out chamomile flowers is also useful to provide relief from headaches. In addition, it is very comforting bath oil and a relaxing and subtle refreshing room freshener.
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This herb as well as the essential oil obtained from its flowers is an important ingredient in many natural beauty products, manufacture of herbal soaps and aromatherapy. Chamomile essential oil is not only very strong, but, in general, also offers several benefits for beauty and health.
As mentioned earlier, chamomile is indigenous to Asia and Europe. The herb produces small white blooms that are used to produce the powerful essential oil by a process known as steam distillation. The essential oil extracted from the dried out flowers of the herb is available in two different selections - German and Roman.
Although these two varieties of chamomile essential oil are somewhat dissimilar, they may be used in turn since both these selections may be used to cure same conditions. Chamomile essential oil is most commonly used to treat problems of the digestive tract, including flatulence, bloating, bowel disorders, cramping and diarrhea. In addition, this essential oil is also used widely as an anti-inflammatory remedy. This property of chamomile oil facilitates in treating digestive problems by helping to pacify as well as relieve the digestive tract.
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As aforesaid, chamomile essential oils are available in two varieties - Roman chamomile oil and German chamomile oil. The German chamomile is extracted from Matricaria recutita and is also denoted as the blue chamomile. On the other hand, owing to its sweet fragrance, the Roman chamomile is also called the sweet chamomile or garden chamomile. Roman chamomile is acquired from Anthemis nobilis. Both these herbs - Matricaria recutita and Anthemis nobilis - are found growing naturally in the temperate climatic regions of Asia, where the plants are said to have their origin. Presently, the herb has been naturalized in the temperate regions of North America, Europe, Egypt and Australia and is grown extensively in these places. Chamomile bears attractive small white colored flowers and is found growing in the open fields or meadows. It may be mentioned here that the herb has derived its name from the Greek term chamaimelon, as it has an aroma similar to apple. In Greek, Chamai literally denotes 'on the ground', while the word 'melon' means apple. Since days immemorial, the Egyptians have been using the chamomile essential oil for its rich therapeutic properties. The rich fragrance as well as the curative properties of chamomile influenced the ancient Egyptian so much that they used the herb as an oblation to the Sun God.
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The essential oil extracted from dried out chamomile flowers possesses tranquilizing properties. The sweet fragrance of this oil not only refreshes the mood, but also makes one calm and tranquil. This oil is very effective for treating too much anxiety and edginess. Since chamomile essential oil also possesses pain killing properties, it is widely used to heal headaches and toothaches. In addition, in ancient times, Egyptians also used this essential oil to treat common cold and fever. Chamomile also possesses a number of other remedial properties. For instance, the oil extracted from chamomile is useful for treating stomach conditions, such as gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea, gallbladder stones as well as constipation. Chamomile essential oil is useful for the digestive process and is effective in providing relief from gas and flatulence from the digestive tract. This oil also possesses antiseptic properties and, hence, checks the growth of bacteria and other microbes in the body. Herbal medicine practitioners often recommend chamomile essential oil as a mouth wash to treat infections in the throat or dental problems. This oil is also antispasmodic and helps to lessen contraction or spasms of the muscles. Owing to this particular property, chamomile oil is extensively used in massage therapy. Especially, sportspersons are recommended to use this oil to keep their muscles in shape.
The hair care industry also holds this herb in high regard for it forms an important ingredient in several shampoos and hair conditioners. Chamomile essential oil helps in protecting hair from the adverse environmental conditions. This oil is effective for treating oily hair which is responsible for dandruff. In fact, compared to chemical bleaching agents, chamomile oil is more useful for lightening hair. However, using this herb for hair lightening takes considerable time to yield the desired results. Apart from invigorating hair growth, chamomile also strengthens the hair roots. It is advisable that you should use chamomile essential oil for hair care instead of chemical products, which have a toxic effect in the long run. In addition to taking care of the hair, applying chamomile oil to hair also induces sound sleep in people enduring insomnia.
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It is common knowledge that soaps containing harmful chemicals not only damage the skin, but are also detrimental for our overall health. On the contrary, chamomile is a natural skin toner and is used extensively in several sunscreen lotions and products used as make-up removers. The essential oil extracted from the dried out chamomile flowers not only help to get rid of wrinkles, but also cures several skin disorders. Chamomile works by balancing the oil produced by the skin and thereby, facilitates in getting rid of acne. At the same time, this essential oil helps to restore the lustre of the skin. That chamomile essential oil holds numerous benefits for the skin is established by the fact that using this oil not only mends the skin tissues and aids in renewal of cells, thereby combating skin allergies and redness of the skin. Chamomile also has a soothing effect on the skin. When applied topically on boils, burns, rashes, ulcers and wounds, it works as a cooling agent. In addition, use of chamomile essential oil strengthens the skin tissues by tightening the skin.
Apart from benefitting the skin, chamomile essential oil is also effective in boosting the mental, emotional and physical health of an individual. In effect, this is said to be the primary use of this essential oil in aromatherapy. As the chamomile essential oil possesses a sweet and fruit-like fragrance that revitalizes, refreshes as well as unwinds the mind, it is extensively used in aromatherapy. This essential oil is also beneficial for people suffering from arthritis as it possesses the properties to heal joint aches. In fact, chamomile essential oil is considered to be among the few natural oils that have the aptitude to heal an individual externally and internally too. Add a few drops of chamomile essential to your bath water and you will be surprised to notice that it has helped to alleviate your muscle aches. Chamomile essential oil possesses other therapeutic properties too. This oil has the aptitude to heal bowel problems, depression as well as migraines.
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It is advisable that you should always use products containing chamomile essential oil for infants. Using products that contain harmful chemicals may harm your baby as they have toxic effects. Most infants suffer from sleeplessness and the use of chamomile oil can help to cure this problem. In addition, when you add a few drops of chamomile essential oil with some amount of jasmine or rose oil to the bath water for your baby, you will notice that it helps to quieten his/ her senses and thereby, enable the baby to have a peaceful sleep. As mentioned earlier, the extracted oil from chamomile flowers helps to check allergies and growth of bacteria in babies. Also, massaging chamomile essential oil regularly on the scalp of babies helps to diminish edginess and hyper anxiety among them. Moreover, massaging chamomile oil also helps babies to avoid skin contagions owing to diaper use, boils and burns. This oil also has the aptitude to moisturize the sensitive skin of the infants. Use of chamomile essential oil for babies also aids in alleviating the teething problems confronted by them. Above all, almost all babies have a liking for chamomile essential oil owing to its sweet and fruity aroma.
Use of chamomile essential oil is considered to be safe as it seldom has any adverse side effect. Nevertheless, it is advisable that pregnant women should avoid the use of this natural oil since it is known to stimulate the tightening of the uterus. In addition, chamomile essential oil should never be used in excessive amounts. People who have allergic reactions to plants, such as daises and ragweed, too should not use this oil as chamomile belongs to the family of these two plants. Moreover, people using anti-clotting medications should also consult their physician before using the chamomile essential oil.
In today's world, most of us use products that contain chemical substances, many of them harmful for our health. In such a situation, it is amazing to find out that the natural oil extracted from chamomile flowers can perform wonders for our health. Therefore, it is advisable to change one's lifestyle and use more of the natural substances. For instance, you may use the essential oil of chamomile and fill your sensations with the fascinating fragrance of this natural oil. It has the ability to offer you the much required moments of calmness and harmony in the fast-paced and demanding life that you lead today.
Apart from using the chamomile essential oil for therapeutic benefits, people have been traditionally using a herbal tea prepared from the herb to attain similar health benefits. Chamomile tea is said to calm down the body as well as the mind. This, in turn, helps to alleviate nervousness and pressure that are a part of one's life in the present-day world.
Besides using chamomile essential oil and chamomile tea, one may also use the herb externally for treating several disorders. Chamomile forms an important active ingredient of several lotions, salves and balms commercially available in the market. This is primarily owing to the herb's analgesic and muscle relaxing characteristics. This herb or medications prepared from it is extremely effective when used as a massage on aching or throbbing muscles, aches and pains. As mentioned before, the herb may also be applied topically on trivial burns and rashes since it produces a cooling effect on the skin and provides relief from pain.
While chamomile essential oil possesses a number of therapeutic properties, it needs to be used with care. In case there is a genuine risk of miscarriage, women should not use this essential oil during the initial period of pregnancy. In fact, it needs to be specifically mentioned that this herb or its essential oil should not be used by pregnant women.
Precisely speaking, the essential oil obtained from chamomile flowers is more potent compared to the herbal tea prepared from them and, therefore, it should be used with extreme caution. Although consumption of the herbal tea prepared from dried out chamomile flowers in moderation is said to be useful for the body, it is advisable to consult with a qualified herbal medicine practitioner before one uses the herbal tea. It is important to note that since chamomile belongs to the ragweed family, people having allergies to ragweed may have problems using any product that encloses chamomile or the essential oils obtained from it.