Roman Chamomile Oil: Ancient Soldiers’ Secret Weapon

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roman chamomile oil

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  • To the Egyptians, Roman chamomile was an herb closely dedicated to the sun and moon, and was believed to cure fevers with its cooling ability
  • It was also said to help soothe nervous complaints. Both the plant and its essential oil were mixed or added to ancient shampoos, cosmetics and perfumes

Before venturing out into war, Ancient Roman soldiers were said to rely on Roman chamomile oil to give them the courage and mental clarity they need in the battlefield. Today, this calming essential oil is still known to provide a wealth of benefits to people. In this article, let's discuss the many uses of Roman chamomile oil.

What Is Roman Chamomile Oil?

A popular herb in the Western world, there are actually two varieties of chamomile: German chamomile (Matricaria chamomile) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Also known as English chamomile, Roman chamomile, the plant used to produce this essential oil, hails from northwestern Europe and Northern Ireland.

Roman chamomile is a perennial herb plant that grows close to the ground, with a hairy stem, feathery gray-green leaves and flowers that appear like miniature daisies, with yellow centers surrounded by white petals.1 The fragrant, apple-like scented flowers are used to produce the essential oil.

Roman chamomile oil is described to have a warm, sweet and herbaceous but slightly fruity scent. It can be grayish or a clear light blue color with a watery viscosity.

Uses of Roman Chamomile Oil

To the Egyptians, Roman chamomile was an herb closely dedicated to the sun and moon and was believed to cure fevers with its cooling ability. It was also said to help soothe nervous complaints. Both the plant and its essential oil were mixed or added to ancient shampoos, cosmetics and perfumes.

Roman chamomile plant has also been used to treat vomiting, nausea, gas and heartburn. It can also help relieve anxiety.

Today, Roman chamomile oil is known for its ability to soothe skin problems and is often added to body care products. It is also beneficial in relieving muscle discomfort after exercise, making it a beneficial addition to massage oils. Other uses of Roman chamomile oil include:2

Relief for migraines, headaches and nervous complaints when used in vapor therapy. Simply mix with a carrier oil and put in a burner or diffuser.

Alleviating allergies, colic, insomnia, addiction and muscle pain when blended in a massage oil or diluted in your bathwater.

Soothing diaper rash, burns and sunburn when added to creams and lotions.

Helping treat dental abscesses and tonsillitis when mixed in water and gargled as a mouthwash.

Composition of Roman Chamomile Oil

Roman chamomile oil's main components include a-pinene, b-pinene, camphene, sabinene, 1,8-cineole, myrcene, caryophyllene, y-terpinene, propyl angelate and butyl angelate.

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Benefits of Roman Chamomile Oil

Roman chamomile oil is widely celebrated for its anti-inflammatory properties. It also has anti-spasmodic, anti-septic, antidepressant, antibiotic, carminative, analgesic, tonic, bactericidal and anti-infectious effects. These beneficial properties make it useful in helping relieve or treat conditions such as:3,4

AllergiesDiffuse a diluted mix through your home before the start of (and even throughout) allergy season. You can also apply it on the bottom of your feet or inhale it directly when allergies flare up.

Skin irritations — It can help calm or treat acne, rashes, eczema, wounds, dermatitis and dry and itchy skin.

Infections caused by bacteria and fungi — When digested, it can help kill all sorts of intestinal worms. However, I advise consulting a healthcare practitioner before ingesting this (or any type of) essential oil. You can also apply it to your hair to kill mites and lice, keeping your hair and scalp free from infections.

Muscle spasms, crams and tension — Just massage onto the affected area with a mild carrier oil, like coconut oil.

Arthritis and rheumatismIt can relieve circulatory system disorders by stimulating your circulation and helping remove toxins like uric acid from the blood.

Insomnia — Inhale or diffuse it before bedtime to help you get a good night's sleep.

Roman chamomile oil is also said to work well for helping relieve abdominal pain, throat infections and gallbladder problems.

How to Make Roman Chamomile Oil

Roman chamomile oil is traditionally steam distilled. In the U.K., harvesting the flowers usually takes place during late June or July. It is important for the crop to be harvested at the right time so that it will contain the highest yield of essential oil. To determine this, a small test distillation is performed every few days, and the resulting oil is analyzed through gas chromatography. If the oil meets the necessary therapeutic quality and the important constituents are present, the flowers are harvested.

Harvesting usually takes up to two weeks, and afterward the crop is allowed to sun-dry for a short time prior to steam distilling. The flowers typically produce between 0.4 and 1.0 percent essential oil.5

How Does Roman Chamomile Oil Work?

Roman chamomile oil works well whether applied topically or inhaled. It may also be ingested, but I do not advise doing this without your doctor's permission. One of the most versatile oils in aromatherapy, it is powerfully soothing and calming, and has a significant effect on both physical and emotional conditions. It is believed to work best with emotions, the nervous system and your skin.      

Ideally, you should dilute Roman chamomile oil with a mild carrier oil instead of using it at full strength. It also blends well with other herbal oils like clary sage, bergamot, lavender, jasmine, geranium, tea tree, rose, grapefruit, ylang-ylang and lemon oils.6  

Is Roman Chamomile Oil Safe?

Roman chamomile oil is considered non-toxic and non-irritant, and can be safely used topically, inhaled or diffused. However, I do recommend blending it with a safe carrier oil prior to use. I also advise doing a skin patch test before using this oil liberally. Simply apply a small amount on your arm and see if any allergic reaction occurs.

Roman chamomile oil is said to have emmenagogue properties which stimulate blood flow, especially when used in high concentrations, which is why pregnant women and nursing moms should refrain from using it.

Side Effects of Roman Chamomile Oil

Using Roman chamomile plant or oil may lead to allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to plants from the Asteraceae or Compositae family, such as ragweed, chrysanthemum, daisies and marigolds. If you have any sensitivity to these plants, I recommend completely avoiding Roman chamomile oil.7