Utilization of Aromatic Plants

Mentha Oil

The oil is obtained by steam distillation of the fresh flowering tops of the plants known as Mentha piperita Linn; Mentha arvensis var-piperascens (Japanese Mint (Family: Labiatae). Mentha oil is commercially cultivated in U.P., Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Central India. It contains about 80% of l-menthol. It is also cultivated in Japan, Brazil and California.

They are colourless or pale yellow liquid; strong and penetrating odour and taste are pungent and sensation of a cool feeling when air is drawn into the mouth.

Mentha oil contains chiefly l-menthol to the extent of 70% in free, as well as, in the form of esters, depending upon variety (like American, Japanese, Indian). American mentha oil contains 80% menthol while Japanese oil contains 70–90%. Other important constituents of peppermint oil are menthone, menthofuran, Jasmone, menthyl isovalerate, menthyl acetate and several other terpenes derivatives. The other terpene includes 1-limonene, iso pulegone, cineole, pinene, camphene, etc., Jasmone and esters are responsible for pleasant flavour, while menthofuran causes resinification and develops a dirty smell.

Utilization of mentha oil and derived products

  1. Carminative.
  2. Spasmolytic.
  3. Mild antidiarrhoetic.
  4. Aromatic stimulant.
  5. Cholagogue.
  6. In toothpaste preparations as a taste corrector.
  7. The oil is used for flavouring in pharmaceuticals, dental preparation, mouthwashes, cough drops, soaps, chewing gum.
  8. It is widely used in flatulence, nausea and gastralgia.
  9. The oil has mild antiseptic and local anaesthetic properties.
  10. It is used externally in rheumatism, neuralgia, congestive, headache and toothache.
  11. The menthol is antipruritic and used on the skin or mucous membrane as a counter-irritant, antiseptic and stimulant. Internally, it has a depressant effect on the heart.
  12. Menthol is used in food industries such as liquor, soda, syrup, confectionery (candy, chewing gum and chocolate).
  13. Menthol is used in cosmetic preparation like shaving cream, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant and aftershave lotion, etc.

Eucalyptus Oil

It is a volatile oil obtained by steam distillation from a fresh leave of Eucalyptus globules and other species of eucalyptus (Family: Myrtaceae). It should contain not less than 65% of cineole.

It is indigenous to Australia and Tasmania. It is cultivated in the United States (California), Spain, Portugal and India. E. citriodora, known as citron scented or lemon-scented gum, is grown on a large scale basis in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and other states.

The odour of the oil is aromatic and camphoraceous. It is a colourless or pale yellow liquid, having a pungent and camphorous taste followed by the sensation of cold. It is soluble in 90% alcohol, fixed oils, fats and paraffin.

Eucalyptus oil chiefly contains cineole, also known as eucalyptol. It also contains pinene, camphene and traces of phellandrene, citronellal, gallo-tannins, methyl ester of p-coumaric acid, and cinnamic acid in combined form. Citriodorol (from E. citriodora). It also contains a small quantity of butyric, valerenic and caproic aldehyde.

Eucalyptus Oil

Utilization of eucalyptus oil

  1. Eucalyptus oil is used as a counter-irritant, an antiseptic and an expectorant.
  2. Antibacterial and antituberculosis (citriodorol).
  3. Diaphoretic.
  4. It is used to relieve cough and chronic bronchitis in the form of inhalation.
  5. Solution of eucalyptus oil is used as nasal drops.
  6. It is used in infections of the upper respiratory tract, malaria, and certain skin diseases, in the ointment for burns and as a mosquito repellent.
  7. If mixed with an equal amount of olive oil, it is useful as a rubefacient for rheumatism.

Geranium Oil

Geranium oil is obtained by steam distillation of the tender parts of the plants of various species like Pelargonium (Geraniaceae) (P. graveolens, P. capitatum and P. odoratissium Linn).

It is indigenous to South Africa and cultivated in Algeria, Morocco, Spain, France and Italy. Indian geranium oils are obtained from other species and are known as palmarosa oil.

All varieties of geranium generally contain 0.08–0.4% of fragrant volatile oil. Geranium oil contains two types of constituents, i.e. alcohol and esters. The alcohols are β-citronellol and geraniol about 60–70% of the oil. While esters namely geranyl geranyl-tiglate, citronellol formate and citronellol acetate contribute about 20–30% oil. Several sesquiterpenes alcohols are also reported in the oil and are responsible for a pleasant fragrance.

geranium oil

Utilization of geranium oil

  1. As a flavouring agent for creams, lotions, soap, perfumes and other products. It is also used in alcoholic, nonalcoholic beverages, candy and other dairy products at 0.001%.
  2. The oil is used in the treatment of inflammation, with its mild soothing effect.
  3. It is a stimulant of the adrenal cortex and can be used to balance the production of androgens which occurs during menopause.
  4. The oil is a good insecticide.

Vetiver Oil (Khus Oil)

It is obtained by steam distillation from the roots of the plant of Vetiveria zizanioides Stapf (Family Graminae).

The plant is found growing in India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and East and West Africa. It is cultivated in Indonesia, Caribbean Islands, Malaysia, and the United States. In India, it is found abundant in Punjab, Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Cultivation of vetiver grass is done by sowing the seeds or from slips. A well-drained sandy loam is most suitable for cultivation. The temperature ranging from 25–38°C and rainfall of 100–200 cm is desired. It thrives best in marshy places and humid climates. Planting of slips is done just before the outbreak of monsoon. The distance between two plants and between two rows is approximately 2.5 cm. Proper arrangements for irrigation must be made after the rainy season is over. Fertilizers and manures are provided to produce sturdy grass and roots. The grass attains a height of 1–1.5 meters above the guard. When the plant is about 15–18 months of age, the roots are collected by uprooting in dry months of the year. If necessary, digging is done for the collection of roots. The drug is slashed, cut into small pieces and used for the extraction of oil.

The Colour of oil is light brown to deep brown or green and the odour is characteristic. It is soluble in fixed oil and alcohol.

The vetiver oil mainly contains alcohol (45–60%), i.e. vetivenol, vetiverol, and 8–35% ketone namely 3-vetivones. Indian vetiver oil contains khusal, khusitol and khusinol.

Utilization of vetiver oil

  1. It is used as a stimulant, refrigerant, flavouring agent. aromatic, stomachic and in the treatment of prickly heat or itches.
  2. It is used as antiseptic, antispasmodic and rubefacient.
  3. It is also used in burns, sores and as diaphoretic.
  4. It is also used in the preparation of sherbet, soap, perfumery and toilet preparations and as a fixative of volatile oils.

Sandalwood Oil

Sandalwood oil is obtained by distillation of dried heartwood from the plant Santalum album Linn (Family: Santalaceae)

The sandal tree is available in India and Malaya. In India, the trees are available in Tamilnadu, Mysore, Maharastra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Sandalwood oil is a yellowish and pale reddish viscous liquid. It has a strong fragrance, the taste is slightly bitter.

Sandalwood oil contains a mixture of two isomers α- and β-santolol (90%), α and β-santalene, santalone, santanone, isovaleraldehvde, α- and β-santalic acids, etc.

Utilization of sandalwood oil

  1. Oil is used as a perfuming agent in various cosmetic preparations and incense sticks.
  2. It is used for wounds and blisters caused by smallpox vaccination, gonorrhoea, cough and dysuria.
  3. Sandalwood oil along with neem oil is used as a contraceptive.
  4. Sandalwood oil along with the double quantity of mustard oil used for treatment for pimples on the nose.
  5. Sandalwood oil and sandalwood are considered as cooling, diuretic, diaphoretics and expectorant drugs.
  6. It is a very gentle antiseptic and diuretic and is useful in urinary problems like cystitis.

Utilization of sandalwood

  1. Sandalwood is used for preparing several articles such as small boxes, cabinet panels, combs, bookmarks, walking sticks, pen-holder, card cases, paper cutters, picture frames, etc.
  2. Sawdust from heartwood is mostly used as incense for scenting clothes and cupboards, and for stuff in pincushions.
  3. Fine powder of sandalwood is used as a cosmetic.

Lemon Grass Oil

Lemongrass oil is the oil distilled from Cymbopogan flexuosus Stapf or C. citrates Staf (Family: Graminae).

Lemongrass oil is a reddish yellow or brown. It has an odour resembling that of lemon oil. It is almost entirely soluble in 70% alcohol; the solubility gradually decreases on storage.

Lemongrass oil mainly contains citral and citranellal (75–85%). The other terpene is geraniol, nerol, linalool, methyl heptanol, limonene, etc., β-ionone is derived from citral.

Utilization of lemongrass oil

  1. It is used as a flavouring and perfuming agent.
  2. It is also used as a mosquito repellent.
  3. It is used as a source of citral for the preparation of β-ionone.
  4. Β-ionone is used as a precursor of vitamin A.
  5. The oil is used in the perfumery, soaps, and cosmetics.
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