Chamomilla bohemica (Bohemian camomile)
CHOP Chamomilla bohemica is the traditional name for the flowerhead of true camomile from the area of Bohemia in the Czech Republic.
The dried flowerhead of true camomile (flos Chamomilla vulgaris) — Matricariae flos, Matricaria recutita (L.) Rauschert, Chamomilla recutita (L.) Rauschert. ‘Chamomilla Bohemica’ is distinguished by its essential oil content of up to 1 %; the main active constituent of this is chamazulene, which occurs in the drug in average amounts of 0,06-0,07 %. In view of these characteristics ‘Chamomilla Bohemica’ is superior to drugs from other geographical areas and also exceeds the quality requirements laid down for flowerheads of true camomile by the 1997 Czech Pharmacopoeia and the 2002 Czech Pharmacopoeia. According to the 2004 Supplement to the 2002 Czech Pharmacopoeia, it should contain ‘at least 4 ml of blue-coloured essential oil per kilogram of dried drug and at least 0,25 % of total apigenin 7-glucoside, calculated with reference to the dried drug. ‘Chamomilla Bohemica’ must not show traces of an essential oil which produces a brown colour during thin layer chromatography testing and must have an average chamazulene content of 0,06-0,07 %. It is marketed in the form of tea in bags and loose tea in 50 g packs or, for wholesale purposes, in 14 kg packs.
Bohemia, namely the entire Prague, Central Bohemian, South Bohemian, Plzeň, Karlovy Vary, Ústí nad Labem, Liberec, Hrádec Králové and Pardubice Regions and, in the Vysočina Region, the districts of Havlíčkův Brod, Jihlava and Pelhřimov. The areas for growing ‘Chamomilla Bohemica’ in Bohemia are defined by the following soil and climatic conditions: loamy-sandy soil (according to the classification of chernozems, brown earths and illimerised soils), pH factor 7,3-8,1. Climatic conditions — average annual rainfall of 500-700 mm/m2, altitude of 230-480 m.
Method of production:
Camomile is an extremely adaptable crop, but contains substances which react strongly to environmental conditions through the influence of specific factors, including the following:
— Preparation for sowing — camomile is not demanding in terms of precursor crops, requiring only medium ploughing, harrowing to level the ground and weed-free soil.
— Sowing — precision sowing machinery is used and the area is subsequently rolled.
— Growing season — during the growing season, compound artificial fertilisers (e.g. NPK or Cererit) are applied.
— Harvesting and post-harvest treatment — as soon as the flowers have bloomed, they are harvested by hand or by means of special self-propelled machinery marketed under the brand names Neset and Unag; they are dried at a recommended temperature of 40 °C and subsequently treated on post-harvest lines comprising a system of sorting and cleaning equipment.
— Storage and packaging — the camomile produced is stored in dry, dark warehouses with good ventilation, and is packaged in paper bags of a standard weight and labelled; these operations, including the final consumer packaging, need not be carried out in the defined area, but must comply with the standards and rules in force.
Camomile of an exceptional quality was already being grown before the 1950s in the Czech lands but it was mainly during that decade, on account of a sharp increase in foreign demand, that it became necessary to distinguish this crop from other camomile produce and the name ‘Chamomilla Bohemica’ became accepted usage. The name has come to be the symbol for the production of this camomile, with its typical properties, which are guaranteed by the specific natural conditions. Its uniqueness derives from a combination of factors in the growing areas, such as the climate, soil and methods of harvesting (average rainfall of 500-700 mm/m2, soil pH of 7,3-8,1 and loamy-sandy soil type). The quality of the yield is influenced mainly by the appropriate soil type selected and the amount of rainfall. In addition, the altitude and hours of sunshine are factors which substantially influence the essential oil and chamazulene content.
On account of its quality, ‘Chamomilla Bohemica’ has been successful at a number of fairs and exhibitions, such as SALIMA and Země živitelka, where it was awarded the title ‘Kvalitní výrobek’ (quality product). With a view to harvesting the camomile in a more gentle manner, special machinery marketed under the brand names Neset and Unag has been developed.
Reference: The European Commission