Also known as true chamomile and the “star among medicinal species,” German Chamomile, or Matricaria chamomilla L., is a member of the Asteraceae family, just like Helichrysum, the focus of our first Companion Botanical Closeup. The essential oils of these two botanicals figure prominently in our base salve recipe which is used for both our Hemp Infused Salve and our dispensary's 1:1 Salve. On the label of these products, the chamomile oil is listed as blue chamomile…what’s the rub? German Chamomile essential oil is rich in the sesquiterpene, chamazulene, which as its name suggests, is blue in color (azul is the Spanish word for blue). Interestingly, chamazulene does not exist in the live flower, which is white and yellow. Rather, it is created when heat is applied during the steam distillation process to extract the essential oil from the flowers. If you have never experienced blue chamomile essential oil on it’s own, we highly recommend it. The blue-violet color is beautiful and one drop rubbed between the palms of your hands, then inhaled deeply through your nose, can provide almost immediate relaxation. We also like to use steam inhalations of blue chamomile during cold and flu season as both a preventative measure as well as a treatment. Its antiseptic qualities can help keep germs at bay or possibly clear up congestion that is setting in, and its calming, cooling and gentle nature has made it a “go to ingredient” in skin care products. It is generally safe to use by those with sensitive skin, including children and the elderly. We chose this essential oil for our salves because of its well documented anti-inflammatory effects when applied topically. Research also suggests that blue chamomile essential oil can help support healthy joint function and reduce muscle spasms.
Fun Fact: German Chamomile is also rich in the sesquiterpene, α-bisabolol, which is commonly found in cannabis cultivars. To read more about the possible therapeutic benefits of this terpene, check out this previous blog post from Champlain Valley Dispensary and Southern Vermont Wellness.