Anacyclus pyrethrum. Pellitory of Spain.
Nat. Ord. — Compositae, (Decandolle) Asteraceae, (Lindley). Sex. Syst. — Syngenesia Superflua.
Description. — This is the Anthemis Pyretkrum of Willdenow, and of the U. S. Dispensatory, the name of which has been changed by De Candolle, and the plant placed into a new genus on account of a difference in the structure of its seeds. Its stems are numerous, procumbent, somewhat branched, pubescent. Radical leaves spreading, petiolated, smoothish, pinnately divided ; the segments much cleft into linear, subulate lobes ; cauline leaves sessile. Branches one-flowered. Receptacle convex, with oblong-obovate, obtuse paleae. Florets of the disk are yellow ; the rays are white on their upper surface, and reddish or purple beneath and at their edges.
History. — Pellitory of Spain, or Spanish Chamomile is a native of the Levant, Arabia, Syria, and the South of Europe. The root is the officinal part, and as found in the shops it is about the size of the little finger, cylindrical, straight, or but slightly curved, wrinkled longitudinally, of an ash-brown color externally, whitish within, hard and brittle, and sometimes furnished with a few radicles. It is inodorous, though when recent it possesses a very disagreeable smell ; when chewed it produces a peculiar sense of heat, pungency and tingling in the mouth, which lasts for some time, and which is attended with a copious flow of saliva. Analysis gives a brown, very acrid substance, of a resinous appearance, which is insoluble in caustic potassa ; a dark brown, very acrid, fixed oil, soluble in potassa, a yellow acrid oil, traces of tannin, gum, inulin, and various salts. Alcohol or ether dissolves its active principle.
Properties and Uses. — Irritant and sialagogue. Used in neuralgic affections of the head and face, toothache, paralysis of the tongue, and of the muscles of deglutition. The tincture makes a good rubefacient and odontalgic remedy.