Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile have a lot in common, but they’re also very different.
In fact . . . they’re not even the same genus or species! Roman Chamomile’s Latin name is Chamaemelum nobile, and German Chamomile’s is Matricaria recutita.
They are both beautifully relaxing—they can calm everything from emotions to inflammation. Both are gentle on skin and help soothe skin irritation. They both also ease tension in muscles and pain in joints. They are simply a great team!
I tend to use Roman Chamomile a little more often for relaxation and soothing an upset stomach, while I reach for German Chamomile for topical blends meant to relieve pain and inflammation. In this pain cream, I’m using them both. This blend is especially nice for chronic pain, since it’s persistently effective, and also very gentle on the skin over time.
Double Chamomile Chronic Pain Cream
- 1 oz (28 g) natural unscented cream
- 7 drops Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
- 10 drops of German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
Make this blend in a 1 oz (30 ml) glass jar. Put the natural cream into the jar, then stir in the essential oils with a glass stirring rod or the handle of a stainless steel spoon.
Massage the cream into muscles and joints that feel painful—tense, cramped, strained, or swollen. Apply as needed every few hours.
I suggest making this blend fresh every few weeks since most natural cream is not made with a preservative. Also, be aware that German Chamomile is a blue oil, and can stain light-colored clothes or linens.
If you don’t have German Chamomile essential oil, you can use Juniper essential oil (Juniperus communis) instead. It’s also very good at soothing muscle and joint pain.
And if you prefer a rich, luxurious butter for pain relief, you can try:
“Kpangnan” is pronounced “pan-ya”—though it’s often just called “golden shea butter!” It’s deeply moisturizing and has nourishing components that help reduce inflammation.
At room temperature, kpangnan butter’s texture is firm like cocoa butter, and it has a beautiful powdery silkiness. It’s usually a yellow butter, and has a rich scent that’s somewhere between shea and cocoa butter—softly nutty and warm. Once the butter is smoothed onto your skin, the aroma only lingers for a few minutes.
If you’re looking for a super-moisturizer, kpangnan butter is fun to blend with. Its moisturizing properties are as impressive as shea butter’s (and that’s saying something!). In West Africa, where most kpangnan comes from, it’s often called “golden shea butter” or “yellow shea butter,” and is used for skin moisturizing, making soap, and even for cooking meals. (Don’t you just love using natural butters on your skin that are so healthy you could actually eat them?)
I like using kpangnan butter in therapeutic blends where I want a slight warming effect and some pain relief.
Some of kpangnan’s healing effects are due to the high level of stigmasterol in it. Stigmasterol is a natural plant sterol with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
Here’s a massage body butter blend with kpangnan butter that you can make to relieve joint pain (especially pain that sets in when the weather turns cold). You’ll need a 4 oz (120 ml) glass jar.
Kpangnan Juniper Joint Butter
- 1.5 oz (42 gm) Kpangnan butter (Pentadesma butyracea)
- 1.5 oz (45 ml) Trauma Oil
- ½ oz (14 gm) Beeswax (Cera Alba)
- 10 drops Juniper (Juniperus communis)
- 17 drops of Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
- 13 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
This recipe calls for Trauma Oil, which is actually an infusion of three different herbs in a single carrier oil. The carrier is usually olive oil, and the three herbs are arnica, St. John’s wort, and calendula. It’s so relieving pain.
- Melt your beeswax in a Pyrex measuring cup over the stove. Use the “double boiler method”—put the Pyrex in a soup pot that’s about ¼ of the way full with water. Bring the water to a gentle boil. I like to leave the handle of the Pyrex hanging over the side of the soup pot, so it’s not too hot when I go to grasp it.
- Add the kpangnan butter to the melted beeswax in the Pyrex.
- Add the Trauma oil to the Pyrex and mix.
- Remove the fully melted blend from heat. Add you’re essential oils and stir gently.
- Pour the blend into your 4 oz (120 ml) glass Rest the lid on top of the cooling butter so the essential oils won’t evaporate. Allow the butter to cool for a few hours.
The butter itself would be so soothing for joints even without the essential oils, but we’ve added oils with strong anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. Use your butter as often throughout the day as you like.
Aromatherapy Education and Resources