Types Of Plants : The Truly Soothing Herbs And Essential Oils

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Amazing Chamomiles - A Look at These Truly Soothing Herbs and Essential Oils Distinguishing the Chamomiles

There is a special place that I go in my mind. It is the field in front of my grandmother 's house full of chamomile flowers - white petals with yellow centers and an unmistakable fragrance that permeates the air in the afternoon sun. I used to walk through this thick field and pick the flowers to feed the obliging horses in the next pasture. What I did not know then but know now is that these chamomile flowers were botanically known as German chamomile. There are only two-types of plants that are considered true chamomile - German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis). Both plants are in the Asteraceae family. Although described as similar, their differences are evident morphologically as well as in their essential oil appearance (more so than in their alcohol extracts or teas). German chamomile is a low growing (up to 0.6 meters) annual herb with daisy-like flowers on a single stem and native to Europe. Roman chamomile however is a perennial plant growing up to 3 feet tall with daisy-like flowers on branched stems and also native to Europe (Western Europe).

The chemical profiles of German and Roman chamomile used in aromatherapy are rather different. Matricaria has active ingredients of (-) alpha-bisabolol, chamazulene and sesquiterpenes (a 15 carbon atom molecule). Within Matricaria itself there are four chemotypes (specific

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