The botanical name of Chamomile ‘matricaria’ contains the latin word ‘matrix’ in its botanical name – meaning ‘caring for the womb’. This finds its echo in folk medicine which has always emphasized Chamomile’s emmenagogue properties and its connection with the female system. The word ‘Chamomile’ is derived from Greek χαμαί (chamaí) ‘on the ground’ and μηλον (mēlon) ‘apple’ hinting at a connection of the fragrance of the Chamomile flower similiar to some kinds of apples.
The surprising blue colour of the essential oil is due to a specific oxygenation process of compounds which happens during distillation. The matricine compound changes into chamazulene, a sesquiterpene. This is also the reason why the essential oil of German Chamomile is often called ‘blue Chamomile’ oil. With low temperature distillation however German Chamomile produces a rather dark green oil. This oil is rich in matricine and presents some other of the herb’s original compounds to a greater extend than the high-temperature blue oil.
Some interesting effects
German or ‘blue’ Chamomile is of good help in cases of headaches caused by gall bladder deficiency and general digestive problems and nausea. Similiar to Helichrysum oil it dissolves congestions of the blood (blood-clotting). It has excellent ability to ease neuralgic pain and inflammatory processes, especially of the eyes and the stomach (ulcer), it also helps in case of cystitis, arthritis and inflamed joints and rheumatism.
In Ayurveda Chamomile is known for its Pitta reducing quality and considered good for all doshas or body types. It has purely ‘sattvic’ energy and harmonizes unbalanced emotions due to excess of the element of fire in the system.
Chamomile is also great for various skin problems. The list is extensive:
Skin inflammation, acne, allergies, boils, burns, cuts, eczema, dermatitis, problems of the scalp, rashes, insect bites, infected wounds, skin impurities.
This is not surprising. The blue colour is an indicator: Blue against the red of the fire element. Indeed, in Ayurveda the skin, as the largest ‘organ’ of the human body, is linked to the fire-element and with this to the ‘Pitta dosha’.
Here is a photo of a 16-year-old boy who had hives for 6 months, but found no improvement after seeing the doctor, once he got the rash. He used our Aloe Vera Gel with German Chamomile oil, and the rash disappeared in 10 minutes.
The sesquiterpenes (chamazulene…) and sesquiterpenols (alpha-bisabolol…) of blue Chamomile excel in a wide range of healing properties which are hard to find in comparable strength in other oils. The cooling, harmonizing effects of the oil make it also a first choice against nervous tension, anxiety, migraine and all kinds of stress-related disturbances. If we are overpowered by mental irritation or overheated emotions or if we have begun to repress certain ‘undigested’ feelings into the ‘basement’ of our sub-consciousness, we better think of blue Chamomile before they turn bad and create toxins, ‘somatizing’ in form of headaches or other tension trouble in our system.
Recent studies on cancer have shown that medicinal extracts of Chamomile have a significant effect on many human cancer cell lines. If we consider cancer as a major problem of our energy body we can rightly suppose that a plant and its oil with a high ‘astral’ potential (see below) like German Chamomile can intervene with great promise in a number of cancer cases.
“This effect has been found in skin, prostate, breast and ovarian cancer. The 2010 Switzerland cancer study (…) found that chamomile essential oil killed 93 percent of breast cancer cells. Another study found that chamomile essential oil is able to inhibit cell mutation by 60–75 percent. Therefore Chamomile has been shown to be highly effective against cancer while providing a safe solution that doesn’t harm the healthy parts of the body.“http://www.thealternativedaily.com/herbal-essential-oils-cancer-cells/
Let’s look a bit into the signature of Chamomile
According to anthroposophic understanding the plant with its delicate shape of very aerial leaves, its tender flower and fine fragrance represents some kind of a ‘meeting place’ between the heavy, mineral world which the alchemists describe as ‘sal’ and the world of light, warmth, colour and fragrance described by them as ‘sulphur’.
Wilhelm Pelikan, disciple of Rudolf Steiner, founder of Anthroposophy, speaks of the German Chamomile as an “appeased and soft flame”.W. Pelikan, Heilpflanzenkunde
And it is this character of softness, tending to subdue everything which is overheated and aggressive, which makes the essential oil of German Chamomile so interesting for the treatment of inflammatory processes, especially on the skin and within the digestive tract.
But not only this. If we go further, we can speak of Chamomile (as member of the Asteraceae family) as carrying with it a special power for ‘astralization’ – meaning: a special healing tendency for certain disturbed flows of energy and thereby for creating balance in a system which – for whatever reason – has closed itself up to the ‘akashic-pranic’ force in us. German Chamomile has this connection, it is ‘aerial’ by nature and therefore an amazing helper also for symptoms like cramping, convulsions spasms etc. That is why the oil is so efficient against digestive colics, menstrual problems, pregnancy, problems associated with childbirth, neuralgia problems etc. With its highly anti-inflammatory properties, Chamomile oil may also help to reduce pain caused by cysts or fibroids and thereby improving the chance of conception in case of infertility.
But also what a wonderful means to heal wounds and appease the skin (fire element)! As Wilhelm Pelikan says:
“The whole plant is nothing but a controled inflammation (…) a ‘sulphur’ (heat element) held in bridles by ‘sal’ (cool earth element) (…) so that what is condensed here in matter liberates itself in the dynamics of healing.”W. Pelikan, Heilpflanzenkunde
Chamomile oil, the essence of a plant of light and of air, is something which we need in order to appease our body of emotions, our hectic daily life-cycles, our ‘rushes and rashes’ accumulating in the system as nervous tension, particularly at the area of the skin, the stomach and the solar plexus. This is also a reason why German Chamomile is so good before sleep, be it as an infusion (very traditional in Germany), or be it as a few drops of essential oil on the solar plexus and behind the neck. Also the hydrolate has beautiful effects and can easily be taken internally diluted into a cup of warm water in the evening or as a spray right into the face to calm down overheated eyes, another ‘pitta-organ’ according to Ayurveda.
Blue Chamomile has that ‘deep water’ cooling and enveloping influence which soothes and relieves the ‘actor’ of life helping him discover moments of rest and joy.
Really a caring and protective hand of the Great Mother.