How to Make Chamomile Liniment
German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is a member of the sunflower family that is native to Eastern Europe and commercially cultivated in Egypt. The herb contains an aromatic compound known as chamazulene, a blue-violet derivative of azulene that is synthesized from another compound present in the herb called matricin. As a group, azulenes are commonly found in the essential oils of plants in the Asteraceae family (yarrow, wormwood, etc.) and are responsible for the blue-green to red-violet color range of their essential oils. They, and in particular, chamazulene, is responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity of chamomile preparations. Studies show that chamazulene inhibits the formation of inflammatory leukotrienes by blocking the oxidation of arachidonic acid (a “bad” omega-6 fatty acid found in red meat). Compared to many other plants, chamomile is considerably high in chamazulene.
Chamomile is abundant is another constituent called apigenin. Several studies and reviews in recent publication show that this polysaccharide is not only anti-inflammatory, but demonstrated antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties as well.
In Europe, the German Commission E has approved of the topical use of chamomile preparations to treat inflammatory skin conditions. In traditional herbalism, chamomile is also used to address mild anxiety and gastrointestinal disorders ranging from stomach upset to duodenal ulcers. Chamomile is also used in holistic gynecological, pediatric and veterinary medicine.
This liniment is easy to make, but it does take time to “infuse” the properties of the herb into the oil. Note that if fresh chamomile flowers are used, it will be necessary to let them wilt before infusing them in the oil to reduce contamination with water. This recipe calls for dried chamomile flowers.
Place a handful of dried, organic chamomile flowers in a mason jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid. Add enough sweet almond oil to the jar to completely cover the flowers and leave an inch of oil at the top. (If the dried material expands too much at any point, add more oil as necessary.) Cover the jar and place on a sunny windowsill for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the infused oil through cheesecloth, reserving the oil and pressing out every drop of oil from the flowers. Add a few drops (15-20 for each cup of oil) of chamomile essential oil and stir to blend. Transfer the finished oil into your choice of misters or dropper bottles, label and store in a cool, dark place.
To use, massage a small amount of the oil into affected areas. This liniment can be used for joint pain, neuralgias, back pain and sore muscles. It’s also great to use for diaper rash!