Why we Love Chamomile Essential Oil
Posted by Adam Meads
You might be more familiar with a soothing chamomile tea than its essential oil, but this delicate flower packs a powerful punch.
Chamomile essential oil: A (very) short history
Stumble across a chamomile flower and you could be forgiven for thinking you were looking at a regular daisy. Luckily, enterprising ancient Egyptians noticed its many qualities, passing their knowledge on to the Romans and beyond. Uses for the flower are said to have ranged from embalming (that’s those Egyptians again) to a hair treatment (Vikings, would you believe) and as a room fragrance or incense by the Romans. Its triple-threat status as a healer of body, calmer of mind and beautifying balm has ensured its enduring appeal throughout the ages.
There are a few varieties of this plucky little flower, but these days, the most commonly-used in tea and essential oil are Roman chamomile and German chamomile. Here’s why we can’t get enough…
Benefits of chamomile essential oil
It helps heal the body
Don’t take our word for it, this plant has been a staple in the medicine bag of healers for thousands of years. The oil is known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, pain-relieving, fever-breaking, stomach-settling properties. And that’s not even the full list.
Chamomile’s versatility as a medicine is explained by its incredible number of uses, in many forms. Chamomile contains a brilliantly potent active ingredient, apigenin, which is a hero of Chinese medicine for all the calming, anti-inflammatory properties mentioned above, and it’s possible to extract this incredibly effectively.
Apigenin is a powerful antioxidant too, and incredibly it’s a major part of studies into improving heart health, levelling blood sugar and even preventing certain types of cancer.
It helps lift the mind
Chamomile isn’t just medicinal for the body. It’s a well-documented mood-booster, even helping to relieve anxiety in some cases, and it should be one of your first ports of call when looking for a calming influence.
A 2016 study by Phytomedicine (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27912875) showed positive results for chamomile vs anxiety, but this is another avenue that’s just waiting to be explored. Current advice says chamomile is a safe, natural supplement in relieving the symptoms of anxiety and even post-partum depression.
It’s great on skin
There’s a reason chamomile essential oil features in the ingredients list of so many beauty products. Firstly, it’s very gentle so unlikely to cause an irritated reaction, in fact, quite the opposite. Chamomile is often recommended for sufferers of acne as its antiseptic properties can help clear up a breakout. It’s an antioxidant too, which is great for anti-ageing, and can even have a positive effect on eczema.
We’re all too familiar with the feeling of being lured in by an ingredient in a beauty product, only to be sorely disappointed when it comes to, well, results you can SEE. So this is why chamomile really is a beauty hero – the same anti-inflammatory qualities that make it a healing force from within also apply to skin woes like rosacea or simple everyday irritation.
It helps you sleep
If you’ve ever enjoyed a cup of chamomile tea, you’ll be familiar with the sense of relief and relaxation you feel when the fragrant steam starts to work its magic. The plant is actually a natural sedative, so a few diluted drops on your pillow can work wonders for sufferers of insomnia, or those who just want to slow down a busy mind before bed.
If we can be scientific for another moment, that amazing bio-active apigenin is a flavonoid (plant chemical) that’s commonly found in a lot of fruits and vegetables, but it pops up again when we’re looking at chamomile thanks to its unique potency. Apigenin actually targets specific parts of our brains and this is where the sleep-inducing qualities come from.
One of the reasons chamomile has played such a big part in our history of medicine is that it’s very unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. However, like all essential oils it is a powerful concentrate, so should always be diluted before use if you have it in its pure oil form.
Oh and it smells great
The Romans were on to something here – the crisp, light scent of chamomile has earned it the nickname “manzanilla” or “little apple” in Spanish. It goes without saying that a calming scent is an important part of its enduring appeal – when blended and balanced there is nothing better in your diffuser to create a tranquil environment.
Chamomile’s enticing scent and calming properties made it a no-brainer as the hero ingredient in our Bedtime Hero sleep range. Much more than simply a lavender alternative, the range blends chamomile with ylang ylang and soothing cedarwood to sweet, fresh effect, without the floweriness. An essential part of any kick-ass sleep routine.