Owing to the similarity of some of the species of Anthemis, Chrysanthemum and Matricaria, it can not longer be determined which were cultivated by the Greeks and Romans and used by them. Nor is it possible to ascertain which species of the above genera is implied whenever Anthemis is used in the writings of Dioscorides,6) Pliny, Tragus,7) and other authors. According to Gesner,8) Roman chamomile was introduced into France and Germany from Spain. Anthemis nobilis, L., however, received more consideration, in England, in the southern part of which it was cultivated and used medicinally. Even during the 16. and 17. centuries the several chamomiles were not kept separate in literature, a condition that apparently also prevailed in practice.
1) Scribonii Largi Compositiones medicamentorum. Editio Helmreich. Leipzig 1887. p. 72.
2) See pp. 101, 184.
3) Petrus d'Ebulo, Carmen de mot/bus siculis. Basiliae 1746. p. 23. - Fluckiger and Hanbury, Pharmacographia. 1879. p. 503.
4) Hieronymus Brunschwig, Liber de arte destillandi. De simplicibus. 1500. fol. 72. - See p. 195, footnote 2.
5) Ibidem fol. 19.
6) Dioscoridis De materia medica libri quinque. Editio Kuhn-Sprengel. 1829. p. 482.
7) Hieronymus Tragus, De stirpium maxime earum quae in Germania nostra nascuntur commentarium libri tres. Argent. 1552. fol. 149.
8) Conradi Gesneri De Mortis Germanise liber recens. 1561. Fol. 253.
Hieronymus Bock (Tragus),1) who lived during the first half of the 16. century, called the plant Chamomilla nobilis; whereas Joachim Camerarius, who lived during the second half of the same century called it Roman chamomile.2) In the treatises on distillation of the 16. century the common chamomile seems to have been greatly preferred to the Roman chamomile.
On the continent, the latter was little used or not at all for medicial purposes, whereas in England it was used almost exclusively as chamomile flower.
Side by side with Oleum chamomillad, distilled oil of Roman chamomile was first mentioned in the drug ordinance of Frankfurt of 1587.