Blue chamomile is an essential oil that is steam distilled from the Matricaria recutita plant, also known as German chamomile. It is commonly used in aromatherapy for its anti-inflammatory and calming effects. Traditionally, it has been used to treat a variety of female reproductive disorders, digestive complaints, and skin problems. Modern medical studies suggest that blue chamomile may have anti-spasmotic, antibacterial, and anti-viral effects, and it shows some promise in helping people to relax and sleep, as well as a treatment for mouth sores and eczema.
While the German chamomile flower is yellow and white, it produces a blue organic compound, azulene, during steam distillation. The resulting essential oil is typically blue-green in color and of a somewhat thick consistency. Users of the oil are sometimes instructed to warm it a bit to make it easier to pour. The essential oil is typically blended with other oils or creams so that it can be used topically to soothe burned or irritated skin. Blue chamomile is sometimes used as a topical treatment for muscle cramps as well.
Chamomile in all its forms is particularly known as a treatment for anxiety and nervousness, as well as stress-related symptoms, such as headaches. Another traditional use for blue chamomile is the treatment of menstrual problems, and it is sometimes used to start delayed menstruation. For this reason, pregnant women should avoid the use of blue chamomile, as it may trigger a miscarriage.
Claims about German chamomile's traditional medicinal properties have been the subject of modern scientific scrutiny. In Europe, it is often used in skin creams designed to soothe skin, and some studies indicate that it may be effective in treating eczema. Researchers have investigated the use of a German chamomile mouthwash in preventing chemotherapy-related mouth sores. As an anti-spasmotic, it has been used as a treatment for coughs. Users are instructed to add a few drops of blue chamomile aromatherapy oil to hot water in a steamer, pot, or kettle and then inhale the steam.
Chamomile is part of the ragweed family and is known to trigger allergic reactions in some people. Individuals who are allergic to ragweed or who suffer from hay fever may want to be cautious in their use of blue chamomile. Since many natural skin and hair care products include blue chamomile as an ingredient, it is wise to read ingredient labels before buying and using such products.