Chamomile is native to Europe and Northwest Asia. It is mostly cultivated in the tropical regions of Nepal (below 1000m). It is an annual aromatic herb, reaching up to 60 to 90 cm. The stem is much branched, hairless and fistular. Leaves alternate, finely dissected. Flowers are small, aromatic, size ranged from 1.3 to 2.0 cm across; flower heads have white peripheral ray florets and yellow tubular disc florets.
Chamomile oil is extracted by steam distillation of the flowering heads (inflorescence) of Matricaria chamomilla.
This plant has been used to treat various complaints regarding nervous dyspepsia, nervous bowel, tension, headache, sleeplessness, especially for children.
The oil is widely used in antiseptic ointments and in carminative, antispasmodic and tonic preparation. Similarly, it is used in manufacturing cosmetics and perfumery (such as high valued perfume, hair care products, soaps etc). It is also used in flavouring food and beverages and used in manufacturing chocolates, ice cream etc.
The Chamomile oil has wide range of therapeutic uses such as analgesic, anti allergic, anti inflammatory, anti spasmodic, bactericidal, carminative, cicatrizant, cholagogue, digestive, emmenagogue, febrifuge, fungicidal, hepatic, nervous sedative, stomachic, vermifuge, stimulant of leucocyte production etc.
Similarly its aromatherapeutic uses are:
Skin Care: allergies, boils, cut and wounds, dermatitis, eczema, hair care, inflammation Digestive System: Dyspepsia, colic, indigestion, nausea Nervous System: Insomnia, nervous tension, migraine.
- Appearance:A viscous fluid
- Colour:A dark greenish blue
- Aroma:Intensely sweet, herbaceous with fresh-fruity undertone
- Specific gravity:0.880 to 0.930 at 25° C
- Optical rotation:[-] [-] 15° to 0° at 20° C
- Refractive index:1.470 to 1.510 at 25° C
- Acid number:4 to 15.7
- Ester number:5 to 15
- Ester number after acetylation:65 to 1 10
- Solubility:Soluble in 90% alcohol with separation of paraffins
The Chamomile oil contains 1-15% azulene, matrichin, terpen hydrocarbon, ketonic alcohol, methoxycoumarin, furfural, chamazulene, α- bisabolol, (E)-β-farnesene, bisabolol oxide-A, bisabolol oxide-B, α-farnesene, geracrene D, trans-β-ocimene, 1,5-heptadien-4- one, berkheyaradulen, β-elemene, β-caryophyllene, aromadendrene, β-selinene, bicyclogermacrene,α-amorphene,β-cadinene, sesquirosefuran, cyclohexane, bisabolone oxide, etc.