Origin. Camel-grass, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus, Spreng. (Andropogon Schoenanthus, L.; A. laniger, Desf.; A. Iwarancusa subsp. laniger, Hook, f.)2), has been known since early times and has found numerous applications for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. In the older pharmacopoeias and herbals it is mentioned as Herba Schoenanthi. However, other names were also used, such as /uncus odoratus and Fosnum3) or Palea came-lorum. The common Arabic name is Izkhir. As a characteristic desert plant that can get along with a minimum of water, it occurs throughout North Africa and Arabia. It also occurs in the Persian province Kirman, where it is met with at altitudes of 2000 m. and more, furthermore in southwest Afghanistan and northwest Beluchistan as far as the Punjab. In the desert it is the principal food for camels. Upon distillation of the dried grass, as sold in the Indian bazaars, Dymock1) obtained 1 p.c. of oil.
1) Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1903, 22.
2) O. Stapf, Kew Bull. 1906, 303.
3) Fluckiger and Hanbury, Pharmacographia II. Edit, p. 728.
Properties and Composition. Dymock observed the sp. gr. of 0,905 at 29,5° and an optical rotation of aD - 4°. Schimmel & Co.2) observed the sp.gr. of 0,915 at 15° and an angle of rotation aD +34038'. The odor of camel-grass reminds one of that of elemi oil, an observation readily explained by the presence of phellandrene2). When distilled, the oil passes over between 170 and 250°.