I try to grow the herbs and flowers that I use as essences in my natural botanical perfumes and apothecary blends. Growing the herbs allows me to taste the plant parts, smell them as a I rub them between my fingers, and tincture them. I feel a greater connection and understanding of the complex aroma of plants. Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) flowers make an essential that has a challenging aroma. It grows in many climates and is a gentle plant with little delicate white and yellow flowers. As unassuming as this flower appears, it has a strong odor profile like the skin of apples. Many clients will express a strong dislike of its aroma. But dosed properly it can add “lift” and “brightness” to a perfume. It is made up of mostly esters which accounts for the diffusive nature of the aroma, but alas esters are unstable.
To me it smells best when it is fresh and produced in a copper still. Many herbs distilled in steel stills have to mature for several months for the aroma to develop, which makes the oil older when it comes to market. Knowing the distillation date helps determine the expiration of your oil. You can also examine the hue of the oil, and you will notice that younger oils are slightly bluish (although not as blue as German Chamomile or Blue Tansy). This blue color diminishes with age as the essential oil degrades.
Regardless of the smell, it is a definite ally for stress, pain, and nervous exhaustion. The dendritic leaves are reminiscent of the nervous system branching out from the spine to the outer reaches of our fingers and toes. It is a satisfying coincidence that the essential oil from this flower is deeply calming to the nervous system and helpful for muscle spasms.
I take the tincture daily in bitters for digestion. I use the essential oil for external applications (i.e. as a salve for the belly) in my essential oil Red Moon Tent salve to enhance the antispasmodic properties of the blend. I use it very sparingly in natural perfumes. If you have some on hand, you might try diluting it in fractionated coconut oil (1 ml of Roman Chamomile to 10 ml of fractionate coconut oil). Then try adding this dilution to a blend of your choice. If you haven’t cared for the aroma before, I think you might change your mind.