Packaging

Dried chamomile flowers and herbs are very sensitive storage goods and so proper packaging during storage is absolutely essential, more so than for any other drug. The packaging must meet the following requirements:

• It must provide the necessary protection against the dried products getting moist again.

• It must provide sufficient protection against infestation with harmful insects of any type.

• It must minimize evaporation of the value-giving essential oils.

• It must prevent any mechanical stress on the dried products, which could encourage destruction of the flowers and herbs (formation of coarse powder).

• It must keep out light, since this encourages the oxidation of lipophilic constituents.

• It must keep out pollutants and prevent the content of the containers from being mixed up.

• It must be suitable for advertising on the outside surfaces.

The freshly produced raw material should be packed after all the parts of the plant have reached a uniformly stable moisture level and if necessary after a further subsequent treatment with cold outdoor air for cooling after about 2 weeks. The most suitable packing materials for whole flowers are wooden cases, firm cardboard, metal canisters, and other containers made from plywood, board, or metal. Mostly used are cardboards. Before filling, the dry matter must be rattle-dry right to the bottom of the flower. These containers can also be easily stacked in the storage-room. Jute sacks to enclose bulk deliveries, as are often used for industrial goods, are less suitable, since they do not meet all requirements and are also difficult to stack. Paper sacks made from three layers of paper are sometimes better, but can only be stacked ultimately using shelves or box pallets. Plastics should not be used for packaging or directly wrapping chamomile drugs, since various plastics may, under some circumstances, bind certain components of the essential oils from the dried drugs or may encourage sweating of the drugs in the inside of the package water vapor (condensation) in the event of fluctuations in temperature.

Basically, only drugs cooled to room temperature should be filled (to prevent condensation). All packaging materials must in principle be suitable for use with foods. Before they are used, they must be stored in clean, dry rooms.

Reused material must be cleaned and completely dried before being used again in order to prevent contamination.

Chamomile herbs may, under some circumstances, be kept in loose piles, if the storage rooms are very dry and largely wooden in structure.

Chamomile flowers should not be pressed or compacted. Herbs can be compacted, packed, and delivered in bales.

During a 12-month storage of chamomile flower drugs, Schilcher [15] detected a marked influence of the various packagings on the reduction of the quantities of essential oils, while the storage location and temperature were of lesser importance (Table 9.1): In sealed metal cans, only 10% of the essential oils were lost; in impregnated heat-sealed paper packs and plastic bottles (polyethylene), 12 to 18% of the essential oils were lost; while in untreated paper packs and plastic bags (type of plastic unknown), the losses over the same period reached 26 to 44%.

In tests by Karmazin and Zadinova [9], folding cardboard cartons impregnated with crystalline microwax also showed a slight superiority in terms of maintenance of quality, measured by the losses of essential oil (vol.%) and chamazulene (mg%) (mean value from three locations: essential oil 27.7%/chamazulene 47.4%). The wooden crates (28.2/48.6%) and the three-layer paper sack

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