Anacyclus pyrethrum (pellitory, Spanish chamomile, or Mount Atlas daisy) is a perennial herb much like chamomile in habitat and appearance. It is in a different family (Asteraceae) from the plants known as pellitory-of-the-wall (Parietaria officinalis) and spreading pellitory (Parietaria judaica).
It is found in North Africa, elsewhere in the Mediterranean region, in the Himalayas, in North India, and in Arabian countries.
It is popular as a food spice. It induces heat, tingling and redness when applied to the skin.
Although one might assume from the pyrethrum suffix that this plant may contain pyrethrins, it does not. The second part of the binomial name stems from the Ancient Greek name for the plant, πύρεθρον, whereas the pyrethrins are named after Pyrethrum, used more recently for several plants of the genus Chrysanthemum, some of which do contain pyrethrins.
Ayurveda (the ancient Indian medicine system) and Siddha (the medicine system from Tamil Nadu, a southern state of India) have uses for this plant root and it has been used for centuries as a medicine. It is called Akkal-Kara in Hindi, Akkal Kadha in Marathi, and Akkarakaaram (Tamil: அக்கரகாரம்). An oil is prepared by a method known as pit extraction (Tamil: குழி எண்ணெய்).
Extracts of Anacyclus pyrethrum have anabolic activity in mice and also increase testosterone in the animal model.
The variety depressus (sometimes considered a separate species, Anacyclus depressus), called mat daisy or Mount Atlas daisy, is grown as a spring-blooming, low-water ornamental.