Roman Chamomile, whose botanical name is Anthemis nobilis or Chamaemelum nobilis, is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Asteraceae family, native to Western Europe, which then spread as a cultivation in northern and central Europe.
The Roman Chamomile plant reaches a height of 30-40 centimeters, has an ascending stem, or at the beginning creeping and then becomes erect and very branched, the leaves are thin and pointed, the flowers have the typical shape of heads, with white outside and yellow in the center, and they are very odorous.
In fact the name "camomilla", which derives from the Latin "chamomilla", seems to derive from the Greek, "khamaimelon", which literally means small apple, this because the perfume that emanates recalls some varieties of apples.
The name "Roman", on the other hand, does not depend on whether it comes from Rome, but it seems to have been attributed to it due to its superior quality compared to vulgar chamomile.
Roman Chamomile grows well on sandy and very drained soils, while it does not tolerate soils that are too dry and compact. It also prefers sunny places with mild and wet winters, although excessive nighttime humidity could be harmful, as too strong winds can harm it.
It needs regular irrigation to keep the soil moist but without water stagnation. When watering the seedlings, you have to be very careful not to wet the flower heads, so it is not advisable to sprinkle irrigation and prefer the sliding one, which makes the water reach the ground by infiltration
Another thing to know about cultivation is that it does not want too fertile soils, so it is not necessary to use fertilizers, especially if it is an annual crop.
Flowering starts in May and throughout the summer, while the seeds ripen from August to September.
Dried flowers, in the past, were used as pipe tobacco, now Roman Chamomile is widely used in herbal medicine, in pharmacies, in the confectionery and liquor industry.
The main components of Roman Chamomile are: the essential oil (angelic acid, tiglic, methacrylic, isobutyric esters, aliphatic alcohols; caryophyllene pinene, camazulene, cineol); polyphenols (caffeic acid and derivatives); coumarins, flavonoids (luteolin and apigenin); sesquiterpene lactones (germacranolides).
Property and use
Roman Chamomile has many beneficial properties, partly similar to those of common chamomile, but above all it is able to perform an antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and carminative, antalgic, antiseptic and sedative activity on the organism.
It is widely used therapeutically due to its pharmaco-dynamic properties and mainly as a spasmolytic in the treatment of dysmenorrhoea.
Roman Chamomile can be used in treatments against meteorism and dyspepsia and, thanks to the high content of flavonoids, it is an excellent ally against the spastic states of the gastrointestinal system.
Its properties also perform a flaming and antibacterial action, therefore it can be used to disinfect wounds and as a mouthwash, furthermore the distilled water extracted from the plant is particularly indicated against conjunctivitis and eye irritation.
Roman Chamomile oil, which is prepared by soaking in water by heating the flower heads in the oil for several hours, due to the presence of components such as germacranolides and flavonoids, in addition to the low content of azulene and the absence of bisabolol, It is used as an anti-inflammatory and for external use it can be used effectively in case of joint pain and neuralgia, as well as to quell skin inflammation.
With the flowers of Roman Chamomile, on the other hand, infusions can be prepared, very useful in the onset of colic and in the treatment of chronic gastritis, taking a cup half an hour before meals. It is also effective in case of colds.
To prepare the infusion, just leave 2 or 3 grams of Chamomile flowers in a cup of hot water for about 10 minutes, after which it must be filtered and is ready to drink.
The decoction of Roman Chamomile can be added to the bath water for its relaxing and decongestant effect on the skin.
Among the various products on the market made with this plant, in herbal medicine we can find the drops of Roman Chamomile that, taken two or three times a day sweetened with sugar or honey, are particularly effective for fighting intestinal parasites, as well as for treating some nervous disorders.
The drops of Roman chamomile they are however useful in cases of insomnia or simply in times of stress, due to their calming properties.
Roman Chamomile is also widely used in cosmetics, for the preparation of soaps and hair products, creams, ointments and sunscreens. It is used as a food supplement and we find it in many jams, candies, chewing gums, ice creams and in the confectionery industry in general due to its flavoring effect, which can also be found in some liqueurs.
Roman chamomile: Contraindications
No harmful consequences were found regarding the therapeutic doses of Roman Chamomile, except in cases of particular individual hypersensitivity to the plant, however it is not recommended for subjects suffering from diarrhea and pregnant women.
It is best to avoid the use of Roman Chamomile even in cases of peptic ulcer or acute gastritis.