Related entry: Anthemis (U. S. P.)—Anthemis
The whole herb Maruta Cotula, De Candolle (Anthemis Cotula, Linné; Maruta foetida, Cassini).
COMMON NAMES: May-weed, Wild chamomile, Dog fennel, Dog chamomile.
Botanical Source.—Maruta Cotula has an annual, twisted, tapering, fibrous root, with one or more stems, erect, branched, bushy, leafy, angular, furrowed, nearly smooth, and solid, from 1 to 2 feet high. its branches are corymbose. The leaves are alternate, sessile, bright-green, smooth, or slightly hairy, bipinnatifid, and cut. The segments are narrow, flat, a little succulent, spreading, rather distant, not crowded or parallel, and somewhat bristle -pointed. The flower-heads are solitary, on terminal, striated, slightly downy peduncles. The involucre is more or less hairy, its scales almost equal, obtuse, and slightly bordered. The disk is convex, lemon-colored, with the slender, bristle-shaped, or subulate, greenish scales not quite so tall as the opening florets. The rays are white, elliptical, 3-toothed, deflexed, and close to the stalk, at night. The receptacle is highly conical, almost cylindrical, and beset with slender, permanent scales. The seeds are brown, obovate, furrowed, and sometimes rough, with minute tubercles (L.).
History.—May-weed is indigenous to Europe, and is common in this country, where it is known as Wild chamomile, Dog fennel, etc. It may be found growing in waste places, in hard, dry soils, especially along roadsides. Its flowers are white, and appear from June until September. Every part of the plant is acrid and fetid, and, according to Linnaeus, is grateful to toads, and is annoying to fleas and flies. The whole plant is medicinal. Its taste is bitter and pungent; water or alcohol extract its properties.
Chemical Composition.—Mr. W. H. Warner found it to contain oxalic, valerianic, and tannic acids, coloring matter, albumen, acrid oleoresin, insoluble bitter, extractive, volatile oil, and various salts (Amer. Jour. Pharm., Vol. XXX, p. 390). From an analysis, in 1859, Pattone announced an alkaloid under the name anthemidine, and a crystallizable acid, of a bitter taste, and soluble in ether and alcohol, to which the name anthemidic acid was given.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Tonic, emetic, antispasmodic, emmenagogue and epispastic. The cold infusion or extract may be substituted, as a tonic and antispasmodic, in all cases, for the foreign article. The extract may be used in sick headache, and in convalescence from fevers. A warm infusion may be used as an emetic or diaphoretic. It has been efficient in amenorrhoea. The fresh plant bruised and applied to the skin, will cause vesication, and the sores heal readily. A powerful epispastic is made by preparing the fresh leaves of M. Cotula, and Polygonum punctatum, equal parts, and moistening them with a small quantity of spirits of turpentine. Dose of the infusion, from 1 to 4 fluid ounces, as often as required.