What is the Difference Between Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

There are two plants which fall under the name chamomile, Roman and German chamomile. Roman chamomile, or Chamaemelum nobile, is the less popular of the two. German chamomile, or Matricaria recutita, is much more commonly used, but it is not impossible to find Chamaemelum nobile plants and products.

Roman and German chamomile flowers are similar in appearance to daisies.
Roman and German chamomile flowers are similar in appearance to daisies.

As indicated by their Latin names, these flowers come from different species. Despite this fact, they are very similar in appearance. Both flowers have a yellow center and white petals, similar to daisies. They are also used to treat similar conditions. In fact, some herbalists use them interchangeably.

Both Roman and German chamomile flowers may be used to treat gas.
Both Roman and German chamomile flowers may be used to treat gas.

Both kinds of chamomile are used for their soothing properties. In order to experience the calming qualities of this plant, the flowers are steeped in hot water, and the liquid is drunk as a hot herbal tea. Chamomile tea can also be enjoyed as a cold beverage. Chamomile is often an ingredient in tea blends. It is commonly combined with mint leaves and rose hips.

Both Roman and German chamomile flowers may be used to reduce muscle spasms.
Both Roman and German chamomile flowers may be used to reduce muscle spasms.

Both Roman and German chamomile flowers are also used to treat digestive disorders such as vomiting, nausea, gas, and heartburn. In some cases, chamomile can be used to stop or reduce muscle spasms or used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and hemorrhoids. The plant has anti-inflammatory properties that help to ease the symptoms of these ailments.

Chamomile is commonly used as an ingredient in hair treatments for blond hair.
Chamomile is commonly used as an ingredient in hair treatments for blond hair.

Chamomile is believed to offer a number of benefits to the skin and is used in many cosmetics and hair products. In fact, it is commonly used as an ingredient in hair treatments for blond hair. It can also be found in skin creams, toners, and face masks.

Chamomile may be found in face masks.
Chamomile may be found in face masks.

When chamomile is used to treat digestive disorders it is usually consumed as an herbal tea. The regularity with which it is drunk and the length of its use will depend on the severity of the disorder. When chamomile is used as a topical treatment for the skin, it is usually first reduced to an essential oil. It is possible to purchase essential oils of Roman and German chamomile.

Chamomile may be featured in skin creams.
Chamomile may be featured in skin creams.

While it is difficult to differentiate between Roman and German chamomile, it is not impossible. One of the key differences in their appearance is the round yellow center of the flower. German chamomile has a high, domed center. The Roman type, on the other hand, has a domed center that is lower and more rounded. Furthermore, Roman chamomile is a perennial while the German type is an annual.

Both Roman and German chamomile flowers may be used to treat vomiting.
Both Roman and German chamomile flowers may be used to treat vomiting.
Chamomile can sometimes be used to treat eczema.
Chamomile can sometimes be used to treat eczema.
German chamomile is more commonly used in tea than Roman chamomile.
German chamomile is more commonly used in tea than Roman chamomile.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments

stefaine

German chamomile is much more famous and easy to find out. Chamomile is a very good herb to be consumed.

bagley79

I enjoy trying essential oils for different problems I might be having, and tried some Roman chamomile essential oil that has been known to help with PMS symptoms. I faithfully used this oil everyday and did notice some results. I did not feel as irritated and grouchy.

I felt the results were noticeable enough, that it is worth continuing to use. It also has a light, sweet smell to it that reminds me of apples. I am always fascinated by the many healing properties that herbs have for our bodies.

julies

While the flowers of both Roman and German chamomile are used in herbal teas, Roman chamomile is a ground cover plant. This is a perennial that grows about 6 inches high and its flowers are very strong and aromatic.

I was able to grow this in my gardening zone, and loved the small white and yellow flowers it produces every summer. I know there are many other things you can do with this plant, but I haven't done anything other than enjoy its fragrance and bright green color.

serenesurface

When I was in England, I saw Roman chamomile sold in many stores. It turns out that it is cultivated in England and that's why it's so plentiful there.

I had to look up what German chamomile was because I am not familiar with the name. It's actually the same as blue chamomile or Hungarian chamomile. I have seen these two names used more than German chamomile. They are cultivated in Germany and Hungary mostly.

There is also a third kind called Moroccan chamomile. But all three are basically the same- they look almost the same and have the same benefits.

I think the only important difference is the fact the blue chamomile or German chamomile has been studied more. We know more about this type of chamomile and its uses and I think more people prefer it for that reason.

burcidi

I use both kinds of chamomile oil for massage. I play a lot of sports and get sprains often. Chamomile oil helps relieve the pain and relax the muscles.

I think I prefer Roman Chamomile for massage because it has a stronger scent and I like that. But like the article said, it's harder to find Roman Chamomile. I had gotten mine from an organics store but they stopped carrying it soona fter. I might have to switch to German Chamomile for that reason. But it's really not a big deal. I think both oils are the same in terms of relieving muscle pains.

fify

My mom bought me some German chamomile from the pharmacy for my hair. She had heard from somewhere that if you steam German chamomile in water, wait for it too cool and wash your hair with it, it will make your hair color lighter.

I was really excited about it and tried it but it didn't seem to do anything. I just found out from this article that this is for blonde hair! I am a brunette and I didn't realize that it doesn't work for all hair colors.

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