The essential oil distilled from the flowers of Anthemis nobilis, Linné.
SYNONYMS: Oleum chamomillae Romanae, Oil of Roman chamomile.
Source and Description.—Oil of chamomile is obtained by distillation of chamomile flowers (Anthemis nobilis) with water, the yield being 0.8 to 1 per cent (Schimmel & Co.'s Report, April, 1897). When first obtained it is bluish, afterward greenish, but finally becomes yellowish-brown; its specific gravity is about 0.9083 (0.905 to 0.915). It has the odor of chamomile flowers, and an aromatic, somewhat pungent taste. It dissolves in 6 parts of 70 per cent alcohol.
Chemical Composition.—The constituents of this oil, according to Schimmel & Co., are chiefly the isobutylester of isobutyric and angelic acids, the amyl- and hexyl-ester of angelic and tiglic acids. The highest boiling fractions yield upon saponification and distillation, principally two alcohols, viz., methyl-ethyl-propyl alcohol (C2H5.CH3:CH.CH2.CH2OH), and anthemol (C10H16O) an isomer of camphor. A paraffin-like body, anthemen (C18H36) (Naudin, 1884) is probably also present in the highest fractions. (For interesting details regarding the chemistry of this oil, see Gildemeister and Hoffmann, loc. cit.) Angelic and tiglic acids are isomers, their composition being C5H8O2. Heat converts the former into the latter acid.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Oil of chamomile is tonic and antispasmodic; and has been found very serviceable in spasm of the stomach, painful dysmenorrhoea, hiccough, pertussis, to allay nausea and vomiting, and to prevent or lessen the griping influence of some cathartics. The dose is from 5 to 10 drops. The Matricaria Chamomilla furnishes a thick, deep-blue oil, becoming brown by age, and which is frequently substituted for the oil of chamomile. It is less antispasmodic than the true chamomile oil. It is an ingredient of some liniments for painful affections.
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.