Roman Chamomile is certainly one of the most popular natural remedies for psycho-physical relaxation and well-being of our body. We know that there are different types of Chamomile, and in addition to the flowers of the common Chamomile and we propose the characteristics of Roman Chamomile. They possess very similar properties, although Roman chamomile has a very high yield in terms of essential oils.
Roman chamomile: properties and benefits
Roman Chamomile in its floral part (the flower heads) is very rich in essential oil, consisting mainly of beneficial substances such as terpenes and sesquiterpenes, which reinforce the relaxing and anti-spasmodic properties of this plant.
In the flowers of Roman chamomile there are antioxidant substances such as polyphenols, flavonoids and coumarins . These are active ingredients that make this plant an excellent natural remedy for digestive and intestinal disorders, as a bitter-tonic.
Chamomile has been used for millennia, in fact, as a plant with soothing and antispasmodic characteristics, which promotes proper digestion. An infusion of Roman chamomile flowers is useful for calming intestinal cramps and pains, against bloating and abdominal tension.
It is useful to exploit its protective properties of the gastric mucosa, and to soothe the pains of colic resulting from aerophagia, as a carminative plant that helps the expulsion of intestinal gas.
The dried Roman Chamomile flowers are used to make an excellent infusion to combat painful states during menstruation.
This medicinal plant, moreover, is an emmenagogue, that is a herbal remedy that facilitates the appearance or increases the menstrual flow.
It has been used for many centuries for women's well-being as a stimulant of menstrual regularity.
In the herbal tradition, this chamomile represents a nerve plant, that is, it acts on the central nervous system. The infusion of flowers,
in fact, it is considered a natural calming of the nerves, which counteracts states of anxiety and stress, facilitating sleep.
It acts as a natural tranquilizer, with sedative effects due to the substance of apigenin, which according to some studies could bind to some receptors in our brain.
The effectiveness of Roman Chamomile herbal teas is greater in terms of bitter-tonic effects for digestion, and for a correct emmenagogue treatment, compared to common Chamomile.
In addition, this variety of chamomile also combines antiemetic benefits, to counteract nausea due to indigestion.
Origins and History of cultivation
Roman Chamomile has been known for centuries, so defined because it was present as a field herb in the Roman countryside, in the wild. In reality, the plant is native to North Africa, different from the common chamomile which has European and oriental origins.
However, its name derives from the Greek khamai which means on earth, and melon, with the meaning of apple - derives from its perfume, and in fact Roman chamomile is more aromatic .
Roman Chamomile was used by the Egyptians to treat malaria, dedicating it to the sun god, Ra. It has been used in Europe since the Middle Ages, but especially from the sixteenth century onwards, it spread as a recognized herbal remedy.
Her infusion and herbal extracts, prepared from dried Roman chamomile flowers, were an excellent natural remedy for treating various ailments. In the tradition of popular herbal medicine, chamomile was a panacea to promote digestion, soothing and healing.
Widely used by women to soothe the pains of the menstrual cycle and promote regular flow, it was also used externally to calm the skin from irritation. It was also popular for treating cold and flu symptoms.
In ancient times they used to prepare bags of chamomile flowers to induce sleep.
Given its intense aroma, it was used in the Middle Ages to perfume floors and homes, as well as to discourage insects from entering. For its scent, the Spaniards called it manzanilla grass (small apple). The aroma of the essential oil of Roman Chamomile has always been considered very refined, which is why it is successfully used in perfumery and liquor.
The medicinal ingredients were extracted from the dried flowers of Roman Chamomile using water and alcohol, while the flower powder was often mixed with other medicinal herbs.
Chamomile in popular tradition was also a vulnerable plant, harvested for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties for the skin. The flowers of Roman Chamomile contain, in fact, volatile oils, and substances useful for lotions and ointments for the skin in case of eczema or irritation.
Plant and flowers
Chamaemelum nobile or Anthemis nobilis, known as Roman Chamomile, is part of the Asteraceae, the botanical family of daisies.
It is similar but not equal to the variety of the so-called German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita, or Chamomilla recutita). The Roman one was so named as it was first identified as wild in the Lazio countryside , but in reality this plant is not native to these areas but to the North African regions. It is a low-growing perennial plant, about 40 cm in height, with voluminous and capitoline flowers with many rays of white ligulate petals. The central part of the Roman chamomile, in fact, is barely visible while the white part of the flower stands out.The flowers are very fragrant, bloom from May to September, are collected and dried for the Roman Chamomile herbal tea. Due to its creeping roots, it is called meadow chamomile.
Nutritional values of Roman Chamomile
In this plant there are several beneficial elements such as terpenoids, flavonoids, phytosterols.
The main components are sesquiterpene lactones (to a lesser extent the chamazulene), farnesene, hydroxycoumarins. Among the coumarins, there are elements of herniarin and umbelliferone.
Other important constituents of chamomile flowers include phenolic compounds, mainly flavonoids such as apigenin and quercetin. In lower concentrations, there are mineral salts, vitamins (A, B), fatty acids and organic acids.
How to use Roman Chamomile in flowers as a herbal tea and in the kitchen
For a good infusion, it is advisable to use Roman Chamomile flowers for one cup (250 ml), about 3-5 grams with water at 100 ° C. Leave to infuse for 5 to 7 minutes, before drinking the herbal tea. Add honey or sugar if you wish.
Roman chamomile provides a slightly more bitter and intensely flavored infusion than common chamomile. For external use, the infusion can be used to soothe inflamed skin , or to rinse your hair after shampooing and lighten it.
Roman chamomile: side effects and contraindications
Despite being a food safe plant, it is possible that a low percentage of people are sensitive to Roman Chamomile; especially if you have already had allergic or skin reactions with ragweed, chrysanthemums or other members of the Compositae family.
It is important to take Roman Chamomile in moderate doses, to avoid interactions with other drugs.