(Chamaemelum nobile)

Roman Chamomile

There are three different types of chamomile that are used in aromatherapy – German (Matricaria recutita), Maroc (Ormenis multicaulis) and Roman (Chamaemelum mobile), which is featured here. Commonly known as English or garden chamomile, Roman chamomile is a native of Western Europe and is widely cultivated in England, Hungary, France and Belgium. A mat-forming perennial, the plant grows upto 25cm in height, with feathery leaves and daisy like flowers that produce a sweet, apple aroma.

The essential oil is steam distilled from the flower heads, typically pale yellow in colour, with a fruity, tea-leaf aroma and middle note. Renowned for being a gentle, soothing essential oil, Roman chamomile is a popular choice when treating children and is frequently called upon for its sedative, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Caddy (1997) and Rhind (2016) both make reference to Roman chamomile’s horticultural nickname of ‘plant’s physician’. owing to its traditional use as a companion plant to help stave off infection in neighborouing plants.

Botanical Family


Chemical Composition

  • Esters (up to 80%) – angelates, butyrates
  • Oxides – 1.8-cineole
  • Hydrocarbonsa pinene, sabinene, caryophyllene, chamazulene
  • Acolhols – trans-pinocarveol NB: The chemical composition of any essential oil can vary greatly, according to the plant species; climate, altitude and soil where the plant is grown; and when it is harvested. Refer to the manufacturer’s safety data sheet for a breakdown of an oil’s chemical profile.

Body Systems

Digestive, immune, musculoskeletal, nervous, reproductive, skin, urinary.

Therapeutic Properties

Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, calming, carminative, emmenagogic, sedative, culnerary.


Amenorrhea, anxiety, appetit (stimulant), boils, flatulece, headaches, gout, indigestion, intestinal colic, irritability, menopause, nervous asthma, neuralgia, psoriasis, rheumatic pain, shock, sleep problems, skin (inflamed, irritated, senstive), stress, wounds.

Blends With

Bergamot, clary sage, lavender, neroli, rose, sandalwood, sweet orange, ylang-ylang.

Safety Data

No known hazards or contraindications and ‘on the basis of current knowledge, unlikely to present any hazard in aromatherapy’ (Tisserand and Young, 2014), Holmes (2016) indicates that, very rarely, Roman chamomile may cause an allergic rash in individuals who are hypersensitive to plants in the daisy family.


Anxiety and Sleep

A study (Cho et al, 2013) showed that the inhalation of an aromatherapy blend containing lavender, Roman chamomile and neroli (with a 6:2:0.5 ratio) was more effective than conventional care alone at helping to reduce anxiety levels and improve sleep quality in percutaneous coronary intervention patients in an intensive care unit.

Muscle Relaxant

Frontiers in Pharmacology recently published a paper entitled ‘Evidence supports tradition: The in vitro effects of Roman chamomile on smooth muscle’, outlining how a study identified that various extracts from Chamaemelum nobile had a positive impact on smooth muscle, including the essential oil, which ‘had a remarkable smooth muscle relaxant effect in this setting’ (Sandor et al, 2018)

Wound Healing

A study published in Infectious Disorders Drug Targets (Kazemian et al, 2018) indicated that an ointment containing Roman chamomile had superior wound-healing activities compared with a topical antibiotic. The authors concluded that the ‘results indicated that extract of C. nobile had effective antibacterial activity and accelerated the progression of wound healing’ and ‘revealed the value of plant extracts to control antibiotic-resistant bacteria in wound infections’.

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