599. Matricaria.—Matricaria. German Chamomile.
BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS.—Plant annual; stem 1 to 2 feet high, much branched. Leaves alternate, more or less pinnate, smooth. Heads solitary; ray-florets white, pistillate, spreading, soon reflexed; disk-florets deep yellow, perfect; pappus none. The flowers have a peculiar aroma and a bitter aromatic taste.
SOURCE.—Europe and Asia. The genus Matricaria is widely distributed; two or three species of the "wild chamomile" of this genus have been introduced into the United States.
DESCRIPTION OF DRUG.—After drying, the flower-heads are of a dull yellow or yellowish-white color, about 10 mm. (2/5 in.) broad, surrounded by a flattish, imbricated involucre; this involucre is composed of oblong scales, having a membranous, translucent margin; the receptacle is conical, internally hollow, and bears a single row of about fifteen short, toothed, reflexed ray-florets, and numerous tubular yellow disk-florets, without pappus; disagreeably aromatic; taste bitterish, aromatic.
Powder.—Greenish. Characteristic elements: The interesting microscopical constituent for study is found in the pollen grains with three distinct pores; seldom dispensed as powder. Chap. I, B.
ADULTERATIONS.—Anthemis arvensis and A. cotula. These have solid, chaffy receptacles.
CONSTITUENTS.—Deep blue volatile oil, anthemic acid, anthemidin, and tannin. Ash, not more than 13 per cent.
Preparation of Anthemic Acid.—The concentrated infusion, made with water acidulated with acetic acid, is precipitated with alcohol. The alcoholic residue, after evaporation of the alcoholic solution, is treated with chloroform. The precipitate produced by alcohol contains anthemidin.
ACTION AND USES.—Mild stimulant and tonic, in large doses emetic. Dose: 15 to 60 gr. (1 to 4 Gm.) in infusion.