Matricaria consists of the dried flower-heads of Matricaria Chamomilla, Linn. (N.O. Compositae), an annual plant indigenous to Northern Europe. The drug is official in the U.S.P. The flower-heads are about 6 to 8 millimetres broad, exclusive of the rays, with a flattish, imbricated involucre, a conical, hollow, and naked receptacle, ten to twenty white ligulate and reflexed pistillate rayflorets about 8 millimetres long, and numerous yellow, tubular, perfect disc-florets without pappus. The drug has a peculiar aromatic odour and a disagreeable, bitter taste.
Constituents.—The chief constituent of matricaria is a volatile oil (German chamomile oil), a thick fluid (specific gravity, 0.930 to 0.940), which is freely soluble in alcohol. It differs somewhat from Oleum Anthemidis, but its exact composition has not been determined.
Action and Uses.—Matricaria has similar properties to chamomile flowers, and is used for similar purposes.
Dose.—8 to 15 grammes (¼ to ½ ounce).