United States Dispensatory 1926
Compiled by Ivor Hughes

ANTHEMIDIS FLORES.Br. CHAMOMILE FLOWERS [Chamomile, English Chamomile, Roman Chamomile]
Chamomile Flowers are the expanded flower-heads of Anthemis nobilis, Linn., collected from cultivated plants, and dried." Br.

Anthemia, U.S. VIII; Flores Chamomillae Romanae, Roman, Low, Garden, White or English Chamomile, Chamomile Flowers, Camil. Camovyne, Whig-plant; Camomille Romaine, Fr.; Flos Chamomillae, P. G.; R�mische Kamille, G.; Camomilla Romana, Camomilla Ingleses, It., Manzanilla (Flor de), Manzanilla Romana, Sp.

The term " Chamomile " has been applied to several aromatic plants and it is therefore important always to distinguish by adjectives which variety of chamomile is desired or, better yet, avoid the use of the English name altogether. In this country the only chamomile at present officially recognized is the so-called German chamomile (see Matricaria); in Europe the Roman chamomile seems to be more popular. Several species of anthemis have been employed in medicine. (See below.)

Anthemis nobilis is an herbaceous plant with a perennial root. This plant is a native of Europe, and grows wild in all the temperate parts of that continent. It is also largely cultivated for medicinal purposes. In France, Germany, and Italy, it is generally known by the name of Roman chamomile. The stems are from six inches to a foot long, round, slender, downy, trailing, and divided into branches, which turn upward at their extremities. The leaves are bipinnate, the leaflets small, thread-like, somewhat pubescent, acute, and generally divided into three segments. The flowers are solitary, with a yellow convex disk, and white rays. The involucre is of a hemispherical form, and composed of several small imbricated hairy scales. The receptacle is convex, prominent, and furnished with rigid bristle-like paleae. The ray florets are numerous, narrow and terminated with three small teeth. The whole herb has a peculiar fragrant odor, and a bitter aromatic taste.

By cultivation the yellow disk florets are often converted into the white ray florets. Thus altered, the flowers are said to be double, while those which remain unchanged are called single; but, as the conversion may be more or less complete, it generally happens that with each of the varieties there are intermingled some flowers of. the other kind, or in different stages of the change. The double flowers are generally preferred; though, as the sensible properties are found in the greatest degree in the disc florets, the single flower heads are the more powerful. It is rather, however, in aromatic flavor than in bitterness that the radical florets are surpassed by those of the disk. If not well and quickly dried, the flowers lose their beautiful white color, and are less efficient. The flowers which are largest, most double, and whitest should be preferred.

They are officially described as: " Flower-heads hemispherical, from about twelve to twenty millimetres in diameter, white or pale buff in color. Involucre composed of several rows of oblong bracts with membranous margins; receptacle solid, conical, and densely covered with concave, blunt, narrow, scaly bracts; florets mostly ligulate and white, the ligula possessing four veins and terminating in three teeth. Strong aromatic odor; taste bitter." Br.

C. W. Ballard states that this drug is offered as " chamomile " and " Spanish chamomile," and that the U. S. P. IX gives " chamomile " and " wild chamomile " as synonyms of matricaria. He tabulates the chief differences and similarities in wild anthemis, cultivated anthemis and matricaria. (See J. A. Ph. A., 1918, vii, 952.)

The seeds yield by expression a fixed oil, which is said to be applied in Europe to various economical uses.

Though not a native of America, chamomile grows wild in some parts of this country, and is occasionally cultivated in our gardens for family use, the whole herb being employed. The medicine, as found in commerce, consists chiefly of the double flowers, and is imported from Germany and England. From the former country the flowers of Matricaria Chamomilla are also occasionally imported, under the name of chamomile. (See Matricaria.) In Europe the flowers of A. arvensis L. (corn chamomile) are sometimes substituted for the official drug. A. tinctoria L. has been used as a vermifuge in Europe.

The chief adulterant at present for Roman chamomile is the flower heads of Anthemis Cotula L. (Dog chamomile, Mayweed), an annual, glabrous herb with a disagreeable odor, indigenous to Europe but widely naturalized in the United States. These flower-heads differ from the genuine article in possessing a more elongated-conical receptacle, neutral, ligulate floret, fimbriate, obovate bracts and rough, 10-ribbed achenes. It was formerly recognized by the U. S. (1870) under the title Cotula.

Properties. � Chamomile flowers, as usually found in commerce, are large, almost spherical, of a dull white color, a fragrant odor, and a warmish, bitter, aromatic taste. When fresh, their odor is much stronger, and was fancied by the ancients to resemble that of the apple. Hence the name chamaemelum and it is somewhat singular that the Spanish name manzanilla (a little apple) has a similar derivation. The flowers impart their odor and taste to water and alcohol, the former of which, at the boiling temperature, extracts only one-fourth of their weight.

The sensible, and probably the medicinal properties are due to a volatile oil, which when fresh is blue in color but as commonly seen is greenish or even brown. The investigations of several chemists made in 1878-1879, in Fittig's laboratory at Strasburg, have shown the oil of chamomile to contain the following constituents: a fraction distilling at 147� to 148� C. consisting of isobutylic esters and hydrocarbons; isobutyl angelicate at 177� C.; isoamyl angelicate at 200� to 201� C.; isoamyl tiglinate at 204� to 205� C. (both of these esters answering to the formula C5H11,C5H702). In the residual portion, hexylic alcohol, C6H13, OH, and an alcohol of the formula C10H16O isomeric with camphor, to which the name of anthemol has been given (see Chem. Cb., 1903 (1), 1226), are met with, both probably occurring in the form of esters. By decomposing the angelicates and the tiglinate with potassium hydroxide, angelic acid, C5H8O2, and tiglic acid (or methyl-crotonie), isomeric with the former, are obtained to the extent of about 30 or more per cent, of the crude oil. In the oil examined by Fittig, angelic acid prevailed; from another specimen E. Schmidt (1879) obtained but very little of it, tiglic acid prevailing. Naudin (Bull. Soc. Chim., 1884, 41, 483) extracted also a solid paraffin, C18H.36, to which the name of anthemene was given; Klopp obtained another body, anthesterin, from chamomile. (P. J., 1903, 458.) Umney states that pure oil of chamomile has the sp. gr. 0.905 to 0.912 at 15� C. (P. J., 1895, p. 949).

The oil from Anthemis Cotula closely resembles that from A. nobilis, see A. 3. P., 1885, pp. 376, 381. E. Amerman (A. J. P., 1889, p. 69) obtained a wax which was nearly white, bitter, and crystalline, melting at about 130� C., and a crystalline substance distinctly acid and of a glucosidal nature. There was no evidence of the presence of an alkaloid. (See Oleum Anthemidis.)

Uses. � Chamomile is an aromatic bitter, in small doses acceptable and corroborant to the stomach, in large doses capable of acting as an emetic. In cold infusion it is often advantageously used in cases of enfeebled digestion in convalescence of general debility, with languid appetite, which often attends convalescence from infectious fevers. The flowers are sometimes applied externally in the form of fomentation, in cases of irritation or inflammation of the abdominal viscera, and as a gentle incitant in flabby, ill-conditioned ulcers. The infusion is usually preferred. The decoction or extract cannot exert the full influence of the medicine, as the volatile oil is driven off.

Dose, from half a drachm to a drachm (2.0 - 3.9 Gm.).

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