Anthemis nobilis is a fragrant, perennial herb cultivated for its culinary and medicinal value. Known commonly as Roman chamomile, anthemis nobilis has been extensively utilized medicinally as a treatment for indigestion. Though there are no known side effects associated with the use of this herb, there is a risk of allergic reaction for certain individuals.
Indigenous to Western Europe, Roman chamomile is cultivated in temperate climates worldwide. The downy leaves and daisy-like flowers of the anthemis nobilis make it one of the most recognizable varieties of chamomile. Growing to a height of 20 inches (50.8 cm), this variety of chamomile thrives in open, sunny locations with moderate temperatures and modest rainfall.
As a culinary ingredient, fresh Roman chamomile flowers may be used as a garnish for some dishes and to accentuate the taste of salad greens. As a seasoning ingredient, anthemis nobilis may be added to various sauces and spreads, including sour cream. Commercially, Roman chamomile is utilized as a flavoring medium for a variety of products, from candies to alcoholic beverages.
Roman chamomile is frequently employed as an ingredient in numerous herbal remedies. The flowers are used medicinally to treat a variety of disorders from indigestion to insect bites. Common preparations of Roman chamomile flowers include infusions, tinctures, and ointments.
Historically, Roman chamomile has been used to treat numerous conditions associated with the digestive system. The infusions and tinctures of this herb may be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome and persistent upset stomach. The herb's anti-inflammatory properties make it a beneficial topical remedy for easing the itching and irritation of insect bites and various skin conditions. When prepared as an ointment, Roman chamomile may be employed as a treatment for promoting the healing of wounds and abrasions.
Due to its sedative effects, Roman chamomile tea is beneficial for easing insomnia and promoting a restful sleep. Traditionally, the herb's antispasmodic properties have made it a valuable remedy for relieving cramps associated with menstruation, indigestion, and muscle spasms. The ingestion of Roman chamomile tea also aids with relieving headaches, migraines, and nausea.
When combined with witch hazel, Roman chamomile essential oil may be used as a lotion to alleviate the itching and irritation associated with various skin disorders, including eczema. When added to warm water, the vapors from the essential oil act as an inhalation treatment. Adding two to three drops of Roman chamomile essential oil to a cup of warm water works to alleviate bronchial irritation and asthmatic symptoms. The ingestion of Roman chamomile essential oil is not recommended, unless conducted under qualified medical supervision.
The flowers of the anthemis nobilis are harvested and dried as soon as they mature. Flowers intended for use must be collected before they start to turn dark and lose potency. The heads of the flowers harvested should be rinsed prior to drying. The dried flowers may be stored in dark colored jars and stored in a dry environment away from direct sunlight.
Side effects associated with the use of anthemis nobilis are very uncommon, although some allergic reactions have been documented. Individuals who develop an allergic reaction to Roman chamomile may experience symptoms that include skin irritation and breathing difficulty. Those who have an existing allergy to chrysanthemum and ragweed should avoid using Roman chamomile and products which contain it.