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natalie

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Hi, I have a question about Wild Chamomile. I have the book "The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy" by Valerie Ann Worwood. In it she states that one should beware of Ormenis multicaulis which is not a true chamomile and shouldn't be used as such. The book was written in 1991 and I want to make sure this is still true because I picked up chamomile eo today and that was the one they sold me at the health food store. If it isn't the true one, what do you do with it?? I'm confused . If someone can help, please, please, help11 Thanks Natalie E.

Carolyn

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Hi Natalie - sorry it's taken me so long to reply I've been away on business for the past month. The chamomiles can be confusing - mainly because the taxonomic nomenclature has got confused along the way. There are really 2 types of true chamomiles - although they're of different genus and species. The Sweet, Roman, English or tea chamomile can be called Anthemis nobilis or Chamaemelum nobile - and the German chamomile which can be listed as Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria recutita (which is considered the correct form). However historically there's been confusion between the two because they often look alike and the herbal uses have been interchanged in various refs and often extrapolated to the eo use - which of course you can't do since there are components present in the herbal preparation and not in the volatile oil extraction. So there's been confusion in determining exact species of chamomile plants and the Chamaemelum mixta - aka Ormenis mixta which is the Moroccan chamomile looks very similar to the Matricaria recutita (German chamomile) - and according to Rose, you'll also find an Ormenis multicaulis being confused in origin with the Ormenis mixtum which is actually correctly identified as Chamaemelum mixtum. Just to throw a spanner in the works, Kurt Schnaubelt uses Tanacetum anuum too - p.63 Advanced Aromatherapy - but he does say they're not really chamomile oils and the confusion is probably due to the fact that and particularly in Germany, "the word chamomile is connected to so many healing effects that clever business people found the potential for cashing in on these misleading associations quite attractive." Anyway - the German chamomile is definintely identifiable by virtue of its deep blue color as a result of the chamazulenes produced during distillation, and characteristic odor. Prize samples are sought for the (-) - alpha bisabolol content which according to K Schnaubelt is mainly responsible for the notable antiinflammatory effects - and so M. recutita is selectively used for external (and internal) inflammations in the main. Threre are a number of chemotypes of M. recutita - some more sought after than others and you'll pay higher for the prized active ingredients. Anthemis nobilis or Chamaemelum nobile is the plant used for lawns and making tea and is really the plant of commerce. It's also colored blue on distillation but turns to straw-yellow soon afterwards - significantly 'apple-like' in fragrance - hence the derivative chamaemelon which means ground apple in Greek. Used to flavor Manzanilla sherry. Gently antispasmodic and stabilizing 'cos of its high ester content - around the 80% + mark by most accounts. Now the Moroccan chamomile - Ormenis mixta or O. mixtum - is mainly composed of terpene alcohols, limonene, some sequiterpenes and azulenes - so it should also be a blue oil on distillation at least - and so is also really quite antiinflammatory, especially on the skin (ref K.S. p. 80). Kurt Schnaubelt also suggests its use as an anti-allergenic and anti-asthmatic agent and states no known contraindications for general use. He recommends its use for sunburn and other skin irritations and says it's a must for ameliorating allergic reactions. Franchomme calls the Moroccan chamomile O. mixta and O multicola of mixed origin and says it contains mainly terpenes with alpha-pinene being major, around a third of santolina and yomogi alcohols, some camphor and 1,8 cineole - so one might expect its use as a mucolytic, antimicrobial agent, general tonic and to be well tolerated on the skin. So as you see - there are many reasons for buying eo's with the complete Latin nomenclature and not just the common English name - and that O. mixtum has some wonderful properties and indications in its own right - even though some authorities don't recognize it as a 'true' chamomile. Hope this helps Best Carolyn

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