Wild camomile flowers
Specification & Spread
Chamomile flowers — flores chamomillae
Wild chamomile — chamomilla recutita (l.) Rauschert ( = matricaria recutita l.; matricaria chamomilla l.)
Composite family – asteraceae (compositae)
Other names: pyrethrum, chamomel, mayweed, matricary.
It is an annual herb 15-40 cm tall.
The stem is branched, naked.
The leaves are alternate, sessile, twice or thrice pinnate on linear subulate-acuminate segments.
The flower baskets are single, hemispherical, located at the ends of the stem and side branches. The baskets have white marginal spur-lingual flowers and numerous inner tubular yellow flowers. The bed of the inflorescence is conical, hollow, bare, elongated by the end of flowering. The basket cover is multi-row, of tiled, arranged elongated, obtuse leaflets. The baskets are on long peduncles, bloom gradually: at the beginning of blooming, the false-tongued flowers are directed upwards, then it is arranged horizontally and the inflorescence bed is drawn out.
The fruit is an achene.
It blossoms from May to July, fruits from June.
Spreading. It is spread in all areas of the European part of the country. It is more common in the North Caucasus, in Ukraine. It is cultivated in specialized farms. The various selection varieties of wild chamomile with a high content of essential oil and azulene in oil and high productivity have been derived.
Habitat. It grows in meadows and steppes with sparse grass stand, on fallow lands, like weeds in gardens, on waste grounds, in settlements, along roadsides.
The chemical composition of wild camomile
Wild chamomile flowers contain 0.2-0.8% of essential oil, the main component of which is
- chamazulene (about 7%).
Breeding varieties contain essential oil up to 1%, chamazulene in oil - more than 10%.
Essential oil is a thick liquid of dark blue color. Blue color is associated with the presence of chamazulene.
When storing the essential oil, chamazulene is oxidized by oxygen in the air, and the oil first turns green and then brown.
In addition to chamazulene, the oil contains other sesquiterpenoids (up to 50%):
- myrcene etc.
The flowers contain a significant amount of:
- flavonoids derived from apigenin, luteolin and quercetin,
- and also prohamazulenes - sesquiterpene lactones,
- matricin and matricarin (at high temperature both of these substances turn into hamazulene),
In addition, bitter substances are present.
Harvesting and storage of raw materials
Harvesting. The harvesting of baskets is carried out in dry sunny weather at the beginning of flowering (May-June), when 5-10 inflorescences will open on each plant, the marginal flowers should be located horizontally or slightly upward. The baskets are torn down along with a flower stalk with a length of no more than 3 cm by hands or with the help of special ridges, and on plantations with special harvesting machines. When picking up late, the flower baskets fall apart during drying.
Security measures. It is necessary to leave several plants when harvesting for planting, try not to trample it.
Drying. The raw materials should be dried in attics or under sheds, scattering it in a layer of 2-3 cm on paper or tarpaulin, or in dryers at a temperature not higher than 35-40 °C. The yield of the raw materials is 25-27% by weight of freshly harvested.
Storage. In dry cool rooms, on racks packed in plywood boxes lined with paper or paper bags according to the rules for storing essential oil of raw materials.
External signs of raw materials
The solid and partially showered flower baskets are hemispherical or conical in shape, without peduncles or with their remains no longer than 3 cm.
The basket consists of marginal false-lingual pistillate and median bisexual tubular flowers (Fig. 5.24, A).
The bed of the inflorescence is bare, foveolate, hollow, at the beginning of flowering hemispherical, by the end - conical.
The cover baskets are imbricated, multi-row, consisting of numerous oblong, with blunt tops and broad membranous edges of leaflets.
The size of the baskets (without false-lingual flowers) is 4-8 mm in diameter.
The colour of the marginal flowers is white, the middle ones are yellow, the covers are yellowish-green.
The smell is strong, fragrant.
The taste is spicy, bitter, slightly slimy.
Properties and application
Pharmacotherapeutic group. Antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic agent.
The pharmacological properties of chamomile
The liquid extract, aqueous infusion and essential oil of wild chamomile during experimental studies:
- reduce the intensity of contractions of the isolated segment of the small intestine,
- reduce its tone,
- relieve spasm.
Choleretic effect have a liquid chamomile extract and essential oil.
Chamomile refers to
- carminative and
- antispasmodic preparations,
- possesses soothing and
- analgesic properties.
- accelerate the regeneration of the epithelium in ulcers,
- delay the development of inflammation.
Essential oil of wild camomile possesses:
- disinfectant and
- anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of hamazulene.
- reduce fermentation processes and
- rotting in the intestines.
It also connected with hamazulene:
- antiallergic and
- anti-inflammatory effect of chamomile preparations and its essential oil.
Chamomile flavonoid glycosides have a weak:
- atropine-like action,
- relaxes smooth muscles, eliminating abdominal cramps.
Application of chamomile
Wild camomile is applied inside:
- as an antispasmodic,
- with gastritis,
- spastic chronic,
- colitis, accompanied by fermentation in the intestine,
- to stimulate bile secretion and improve digestion,
- with gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer, gastritis, accompanied by pain, heartburn and nausea.
When inflammation of hemorrhoids and paraproctitis, there are prescribed cleaning emulsion enemas.
The infusion of chamomile flowers is used as an anti-inflammatory and deodorizing agent for rinsing the mouth during:
- chronic tonsillitis,
- diseases of the teeth and gums,
- for preventive rehabilitation of the upper respiratory tract.
Inside chamomile extract is used hot as a sudorific.
Chamomile is a cosmetic product used to give the hair a golden shade and skin velvety tenderness.
In perfumery, chamomile flowers are used in the manufacture of nourishing creams, lotions and shampoos.
Hypersensitivity to chamomile, as well as to plants of aster family (Compositae), such as arnica, ragweed, yarrow, tansy, wormwood, aster, chrysanthemums.