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Aromatic Plants Medicinal Plants Plant Names


1.        Ajowan

2.        Camphor

3.        Cardamom

4.        Celery

5.        Chamomile

6.        Champak

7.        Cinnamon

8.        Citronella

9.        Clarysage

10.      Clove

11.      Coriander


12.      Cumin

13.      Davana

14.      Eucalyptus

15.      Fennel

16.      Geranium

17.      Jasmine

18.      Lemongrass

19.      Linaloe

20.      Marigolds

21.      Mints

22.      Nutmeg


23.      Ocimums

24.      Palmarosa

25.      Patchouli

26.      Rose

27.      Rosemary

28.      Sandalwood

29.      Thyme

30.      Tuberose

31.      Vanilla

32.      Vetiver

33.      Ylang ylang





Trachyspermum ammi

Family - Apiaceae

Ajowan is a profusely branched winter annual herb, 60‑90 cm tall, the seed oil of which is a major source of thymol, being present to the extent of 35‑60%.

Uses: Ajowan oil is aromatic, stimulant and carminative.  It possesses antimicrobial activity. Ajowan seeds are employed alone or in combination with other spices and condiments in pickles, confectionery and beverages.  It is a good remedy for indigestion.  A paste of the crushed fruit is applied externally for relieving colic pains.  It is also used in lotions and ointments.

 Soil and climate: It is mainly grown as a winter crop in subtropical and temperate climate.  It  grows on any soil type but performs best in humus rich loamy soil.  It is grown as a  rainfed crop in heavy soils whereas it requires irrigation in light textured soils. 

Seeds and sowing: It is generally propagated by seeds. The field is ploughed repeatedly during September‑October, incorporating organic manures. Seeds are sown broadcast or drilled in rows  45 cm apart in November. Seed rate is 3‑4 kg/ha. The seeds germinate in 7‑14 days. Broadcast crop may be thinned to a spacing of 30‑45 cm.

Manuring: Farm yard manure at 10‑15 tonnes/ha N, P2O5, K2O and S are applied at 80,30,30,50 kg/ha, respectively for obtaining best yields..   

Aftercultivation: Irrigation is given immediately after sowing and later at 7‑10 days interval.  Weeding is generally done twice.

Plant protection: Collar rot caused by Sclerotium rolfsii is observed in some pockets. The disease can be controlled by spraying 0.2% Mancozeb

Harvesting and processing: Flowering starts in 2 months time. Harvesting is done in February‑March when  the flower heads turn brown. The harvested crop is dried,  threshed and winnowed to separate the clean seeds.

The dried seeds are crushed and distilled to obtain the essential oil. Hydro or steam distillation is resorted to. Seeds lose the essential oil when stored for long time.  On an average, the dry seeds contain 2‑4% oil.

Chemical constitutents:  The pale yellowish‑brown  ajowan seed oil has  a characteristic thyme odour with sharp burning taste .The characteristic odour of ajowan oil is due to the high content of thymol.  On standing, the major portion of thymol gets crystallized. The other major constituents are  ‑pinene, p‑cymene, dipentene,    ‑terpinene and carvacrol.

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Cinnamomum camphora

Family - Lauraceae

Camphor plant is an evergreen tree valued for the presence of camphor in its wood and leaves. Camphor  tree is a native of Japan, China and Taiwan

Uses: Camphor is chiefly a pharmaceutical product though it is used in the preparation of artificial essential oils like lavender and lavendin.  It is used as an incense and in balms of various kinds.  It is employed as a masking agent in perfumery and sometimes used to achieve lift in perfume blends. Redistilled brown oil is used directly in soap perfumes for a masking effect. The oil is a source of safrole which is a starting material for the production of various perfumery chemicals.

Soil and climate: Camphor tree grows best at an altitude of 1350‑1500 m with temperature not going below 33 C. In the Nilgiris it does well upto 2100 m above MSL.  It withstands an annual rainfall of 1000 mm where it can be successfully cultivated. Fertile well drained sandy loam soils are best suited for the cultivation of camphor tree.  Deeply tilled clayey soils are also suitable, provided rendered porous by mixing leaf mould and sand supplemented with artificial fertilizers.

Seeds and sowing: It is chiefly propagated through seeds and rarely through layers, branches, cuttings, root cuttings and root suckers. Fresh ripe  fruits are collected either direct from the tree or soon after they fall. Removal of the pulpy seed coat and presoaking of the seeds in water for 24 hours enhances seed germination. Seeds are sown in nursery at a  spacing of 6‑8 cm in rows 25‑30 cm apart and irrigated regularly. Seeds start germinating after 3 months of sowing. The nursery  is maintained weed free.   12‑16 months old seedlings are transplanted in the mainfield in 60 cm cube pits, 2‑3 m apart.

Aftercultivation: Application of organic manures and inorganic fertilizers has proved benefi­cial. Plants are trimmed to a  height of 1.5‑2 m  and maintained as bushes to facilitate picking of leaves. 

Plant protection:  Leaf blight disease in cam­phor is caused by Glomerella singulata which can be controlled by spraying difolatan and benomyl.

Harvesting and processing: Leaves and twigs are harvested every year and distilled to produce camphor oil.  Wood over 50 years of age are also used for distillation. Bushes are harvested 3‑4 times a year. The crude camphor oil is separated in various fractions as white, brown and blue camphor oils. White camphor oil is generally not used as such in perfumes, but it serves as a starting material for the production of a number of perfumery chemicals such as  cineole, terpineol, menthol, thymol, etc.  There is little difference in total yield of camphor when two or four pickings are taken in a year.  Tender leaves as well as plants grown in the open contain more camphor. The yield of camphor and camphor oil is  50‑80 kg/ha which varies widely with the part used and the  geographical location. The essential oil distilled from branches, wood and root is obtained as a semi solid mass. The yield is generally 1‑1.2%.

Chemical constituents: Leaf oil is reported to have the following constituents: sabinene 1.47%,  ‑phellandrene 0.17%,   ‑terpinene 0.24%, terpinolene 0.30%, furfural 0.16%, piperitone 2.4%, geranyl acetate 0.22%, cuminaldehyde 0.15%, safrole 13.4%, eugenol 0.12%, cinnamyl alcohol 0.18% and traces of more than twenty  compounds

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Elettaria cardamomum


                   Cardamom is a tall herbaceous perennial with branched subterranean rhizomes . Elettaria cardamomum Maton var. major Thw(wild cardamom)  E. cardamomum Maton var. minor Watt. (syn. var. cardamomum Thw.; var.  minuscula  Burkill).: This includes most of the cultivated types. Several races such as Malabar, Mysore and Vazhukka are recognized under this variety.

Uses:- The dried capsules, the essential oil, oleoresin and tinctures are extensively used in the formulation of compounded mixtures for liquors beverages baked goods, canned foods, meats, sauces and condiments. Cardamoms are stimulant, carminative and flavouring agent. Dried cardamom fruits are used as a masticatory and in medicine.  They are used for flavouring curries, cakes, bread and other culinary purposes.  The essential oil is employed in perfumery and flavourings. The oleoresin has similar applications to essential oil in flavouring of processed foods but it is less used. The oil and oleoresins also find use in the preparation of aromatic, stimulant, stomachic and diuretic tinctures.

Soil and climate:-     Cardamom grows wild in the evergreen rain forests of the Western Ghats in India between 750 m and 1500 m and in Sri Lanka above 1000 m altitude. They occur in the preclimax stage of the forest. In cultivation, the crop requires an  annual rainfall of 1500‑4000 mm, a temperature of 10‑35 C and an altitude of 600‑1200 m with moderate shade and protection from wind. Cardamom is generally grown in forest loamy soils rich in available phosphorus and potassium, but well drained deep loamy soils abundant in humus is ideal.

Seeds and sowing:-The plant is propagated vegetatively by divisions of rhizomes or by seed; the former is  often used for planting small areas. Clonal propagation by tissue culture permits large scale planting of high yielding selections but is not advisable where  Katte and other virus  diseases are prevalent .In such areas seedling progenies are advisable as virus disease is not transmitted through seeds. Seed germination is often poor and irregular. Plants propagated vegetatively come to bearing one year earlier than the seedling propagated plants. For seedling propagation, ripe capsules of desired cultivar are collected from high  yielding plants during September‑October. Seeds are extracted by gently pressing the capsules and washing  3‑4 times with water to remove the mucilaginous coating on  the seeds. Seeds are dried in shade for 2‑3 days and sown in the nursery within a fortnight as the seeds are short‑viable. Seeds can be preserved for one month in the capsule form in polythene lined gunny  bags.

     The seeds are sown in primary nursery from where the young seedlings are transplanted 25‑30 cm apart in a secondary nursery or in polybags during June‑July where they are maintained for one year and the 18 month old seedlings are finally transplanted to the  main field at 1.5‑3 m spacing depending on the cultivar  and soil conditions. Sixty gram seeds are sown on well prepared beds of 6 m2, mulched with potha grass or straw and watered regularly. Seedlings will take 4‑6 weeks to appear above ground. Shade trees like dadap, albizzia, jack, eucalyptus, red cedar and wild nutmeg are planted.

Varieties:- 'ICRI‑1', 'ICRI‑2', and 'PV‑1' are the improved varieties available for cultivation.

Manuring:-Cardamom plantation is fertilized with N, P2O5 and K2O at 75:75:150 kg/ha respectively. Fertilizers are applied in two split doses before and after the south west monsoon in a circular band 20 cm wide at 30‑40 cm away from the base of the clumps and incorporated into the soil. 

Weeding:-Mulching is practised to conserve moisture, reduce weed growth and overcome dry situation. Sickle weeding is required frequently. Forking is necessary in hard soils.

After cultivation:-Trashing  is carried out  during June‑July with the commencement of monsoon to prevent spread of diseases and expose panicles for pollination by honey bees.  Maintaining four bee colonies/ha during the flowering season is recommended for increased fruit set and capsule production. Shade regulation is essential to provide optimum shade. Red cedar (Toona ciliata Roem.) is an ideal shade tree which sheds leaves during rainy  season and thus provides natural shade regulation .

Plant protection:- Cardamom thrips (Sciothrips cardamomi) and leaf eating caterpillars are common pests of cardamom which can be controlled by  spraying 0.03% quinalphos. Katte or mosaic virus disease is transmitted by the aphid Pentalonia nigronervosa. Azhukal or capsule rot caused by Phytophthora species, clump rot or rhizome rot caused by Pythium aphanidermatum, leaf blotch caused by Phaeodactylum venkatesanum and Chenthal disease are frequently observed  in cardamom plantations. Multifaceted approach consisting of field sanitation, use of tolerant cultivars, repeated drenching and spraying with 1% Bordeaux mixture, is to be resorted to for effective disease control.

Harvesting an processing :-    cardamom plants normally start bearing capsules from the third year of planting. Picking is carried out at an interval of 30 days

during September‑February and the peak period of harvest is October‑November. Cardamom capsules with green colour fetch a premium price. Hence emphasis has to be given  on the preservation of green colour during curing and subsequent storage. A cardamom plantation gives economical yield for 10‑15 years after which replanting has to be done.

              Processing of capsules is done in specially built curing houses. The harvested capsules are washed in water to remove dust and soil particles.  Then  they are uniformly spread and dried on wire net trays  for 36‑42 hours at 50‑60 C. The dried capsules are rubbed on wire mesh to remove the stalk and other waste particles. This is called polishing. The polished capsules are then graded according to size by passing through a series of 7 mm, 6.5 mm and 6 mm sizes. The graded produce is stored in polythene lined gunny bags to retain the green colour and  to avoid exposure to moisture. The outturn of dried capsules is 20‑25% of the harvested fruits. The average yield of dried capsules is 200‑300 kg/ha/year.

     The fruits are crushed and steam distilled for 4 hours to recover the essential oil. The oil content is 3.5‑7% which is dependent on the cultivar, stage of harvest and conditions and duration of storage. Upto 11% oil is available in seeds while it rarely exceeds 1% in husks. Cardamom oleoresin with 52‑58% of oil content is produced on a relatively smaller scale.

Chemical constituents:- Cardamom oil is a greenish‑yellow liquid with a warm spicy aromatic odour somewhat pungent and faintly bitter at high concentration. The aroma and therapeutic properties are due to a volatile oil constituting 3‑8% in the seeds, whose main constituents are cineole, terpineol and limonene.

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Apium graveolens

Family – Apiaceae

Celery popularly known as Karnauli or Ajmod is an annual or biennial erect herb whose seed on distillation gives a pale‑yellow essential oil.

Uses: The oil  is used as an essence in flavour and pharmaceutical industry. Bulk of the demand comes from the canned soup industry. It is used in the flavouring of all kinds of prepared foods such as soups, meats, pickles, vegetable juices and in the preservation of meat sauces.  In pharmacy, the oil is used in certain preparations having sedative effect. It is highly priced for fixative purposes and as an ingredient of novel perfumes. It has a powerful odour and imparts a pleasant warm note. The oil is used in compounding ayurvedic formulations. Fruits yield 17% of a fatty oil which is used as an antispasmodic and nerve stimulant. Seeds of celery are rich in vitamin B.

Soil and climate: Celery flourishes well on fertile, well drained, sandy and silt loam soils. Clayey soils are not suitable. It prefers a moist, cool climate. It grows as an annual in the plains but as a biennial at higher elevations with cooler climate.

Seeds and sowing: The plant is propagated through seeds. Seeds obtained from primary umbels are heavy and produce better seedlings in comparison to seeds obtained from quarternary umbels. On hills or higher elevations, seeds are sown during March‑April, transplanted in May and harvested in November.  In the plains, seeds are sown during September‑October, transplanted in January and harvested in May. Healthy seedlings are obtained by incubating the seeds at 90% relative humidity and 15‑200C for 8‑10 days. For transplanting one hectare, 1.5 kg seeds are sown in a nursery area of about 1000 m2. Transplanting is done in moist soil at 30‑40 cm spacing

Varieties: Apium graveolens L. var. dulce and  A. graveolens L. var. rapaceum (turnip‑rooted celery) are the two varieties recognized.

Manuring: The main field is thoroughly prepared incorporating organic manures at 10‑20 t/ha. Fertilizer application of 200 kg N and 40 kg P205/ha is recommended.

Irrigation: The crop needs plenty of water and the field is irrigated every 5-7 days during non‑rainy period.  The crop may lodge when strong winds blow after irrigation which may be prevented by providing wind breaks.

Aftercultivation: The field is kept weed free by 2‑3 hoeings, first 3 weeks after transplanting and subsequently at 2 weeks interval.

Plant protection: A leaf miner, Liriomyza trifolii and fungus Septoria apicola infests the crop. The pest can be controlled by spraying 0.05% quinalphos EC or 0.2% carbaryl WP.

Harvesting and processing: The crop is harvested when the white flowers start turning reddish. The harvested crop is thrashed with sticks the next day and the seeds are taken. Average seed yield is 1‑1.5 tonnes/ha.

     Celery seed oil is obtained by the steam distillation of the seed. Usually, distillation is carried out for 18 hours.The celery seed contains 2‑3% of essential oil. From the chaff also an essential oil can be obtained, which of course, lacks the better aroma of the seed oil. Celery chaff oil and synthetic d‑limonene are common adulterants of celery seed oil which are difficult to detect.

Chemical constituents: Limonene, ‑p‑dimethyl styrene, n‑pentyl benzene, caryophyllene,  ‑selinene, n‑butyl phthalide and sedanolide are the main constituents. Celery leaf oil is richer in mono and sesquiterpenes in comparison to celery seed oil.

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Matricaria chamomilla

Family - Asteraceae

German or Hungarian chamomile is a much branched erect spreading annual herb. It has been introduced to  India  about 300 years ago during the Mughal period. Three species of chamomile are generally known. (i) Matricaria chamomilla known as German or Hungarian Chamomile and is the most common (ii)  Anthemis nobilis.  known as Roman Chamomile (iii) Ormenis multicaulis  termed as Moroccan Chamomile

Uses: From chamomile essential oil, infusions, tinctures and fluid extracts are prepared for diverse uses.  The essential oil is used in alcoholic and non‑alcoholic beverages, ice‑creams, ice candy, baked goods and chewing gums as flavouring agent.  It is used in high class perfumes in low concentrations. Medicinally, it acts as antispasmodic, expectorant, carminative, anthelmintic, sedative and diuretic. It also possesses antimicrobial activity.  It is used in infant ailments such as teething troubles and stomach disorders. 

Soil and climate: The plant is grown as a winter crop in plains and as a summer crop on hills. For good seed germination, the optimum temperature is 18‑200C.  Temperature and light conditions have a greater effect on essential oil production. It grows on any type of soil, but comes up well on moist, moderately heavy soils rich in humus. The optimum soil pH is 7, though saline and alkaline soils having pH as high as 9.0 also support good growth.

Seeds and sowing:  The crop is raised through seeds. Seedlings are raised in nursery during September‑October. Seed rate is about 1 kg/ha. The seedlings are transplanted when  6 weeks old at a spacing of 30‑40 cm.

Manuring: Adequate manuring is needed for good growth and yield of the crop. Application of 15‑20 tonnes/ha of well‑rotten farm yard manure and 80:40:20 kg N, P2O5 and K2O/ha are recommended.

Aftercultivation: On normal soils, 3‑4 irrigations are sufficient during the entire growing season. Saline soils need frequent light irrigations. Generally, one or two weedings and  hoeings are required for raising a good crop.     

Plant protection: Black bean aphids (Aphis fabae) is a serious pest. Flowers are attacked by an insect, Nysius minor, which causes them to shed. Another insect, Antographis chryson also attacks  the plant and causes defoliation. The pests can be controlled by spraying any contact insecticide.

Harvesting and processing: The plants start flowering from February to April.  The  flowers are harvested at full bloom stage.  Generally, 4‑5 harvests can be taken at  an interval of 10‑15 days.  The yield is 4000‑7000 kg fresh flowers which gives 1000‑1500 kg/ha on drying. Drying is done under shade between 22‑24 C as the flowers are delicate. Fully dried flowers can be packed and stored in moisture free environment. The dried flowers are steam distilled for 4 hours at a pressure of 7 atmosphere/cm2 in the steam generator. The oil being very viscous, forms a deposit along the inner walls of the condenser. Control the flow of cooling water so as to increase the temperature in the condensor.  The oil yield varies from 0.3 to 1.3% depending upon the location, strain and the conditions and fertility status of the soil. The oil content in the flowers is maximum  when the temperature is 22‑250C during the flowering period. The average oil yield is 50‑75 kg/ha.

Chemicl constituents: The essential oil contains 1‑15% of chamazulene, which is responsible  for  the  blue  colour  of  the  oil; azulene, farnesene,  ‑bisabolol oxide a & b and a dicycloether.

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Michelia champaca

Family - Magnoliaceae

Champak, Champa or Yellow  Champa is a large evergreen tree valued for its beautiful flowers with long‑lasting fragrance. The tree is a great  favourite in Hindu gardens, the exquisitely scented flowers being used for Pooja particularly of the Lord Krishna. The genus Michelia comprises about 50 species of evergreen trees or shrubs. The most popular among them are  Michelia champaca L. and M. figo L.

Uses: Champa attars are produced in India which are used in hair oils as a head coolant. The flowers also yield a dye which is used as a base for other colours and for dyeing silk and cotton fabrics.  By virtue of the refreshing appearance of its foliage, champa looks elegant even when it is out of flowers.

Soil and climate: Champa requires a mild climate and an elevation of 100‑1000 m with partial shade for good growth.  It can be grown on a wide variety of soils and well drained rich sandy loam soils are the best.

Seeds and sowing: The trees are propagated both by seeds and vegetatively  by grafting. The creamy yellow variety is propagated by grafting on stocks of ordinary golden orange flowered variety which produces seeds in bunches and takes 7‑8 years to flower

Varieties:  Flowers are white, sovereign red or creamy light yellow in colour. 'Simhachalam' golden orange kind is the most sweet scented and is the most favoured of champas. The white flowered champa, though very sweet  scented, lacks in substance and hence the fragrance does not last quite long.

Aftercultivation:  Though  large scale commercial cultivation of champa is not common, group planting is generally undertaken, particularly in informal  gardens and homesteads. Care is to be taken till the grafts or seedlings are initially established in the field and thereafter not much attention is needed. 

Harvesting and processing: The trees flower during  April‑May and again during September‑October once they start blooming. A well grown tree yields 50‑100 flowers daily during the peak season and 375 to 425 flowers weigh one kilogram.

The champak flowers are exquisitely fragrant. Owing to the presence of an oxidizing agent in the flowers they become brown within few hours after picking and are subject to odour deterioration. To prevent impairment of its  odour by oxidation, the essential oil must be extracted soon after picking. The  concrete yield by solvent extraction is  around 0.26% which in turn is capable of yielding 26% of steam volatile oil. Enfleuraged flowers in sesame oil yield an excellent attar.

Chemical constituents: It contains important perfumery constituents such as cineole, iso‑eugenol, phenyl ethyl alcohol, benzaldehyde, methyl anthranilate, benzyl alcohol, p‑cresol and its methyl ether.

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Cinnamomum verum

Family - Lauraceae

Cinnamon, also known as true cinnamon  or Ceylon cinnamon, is an evergreen tree whose bark and leaves are strongly aromatic. 

Uses: The bark, exported as quills, is used as a spice or condiment, for flavouring cakes and sweets and  in curry powders, incense, dentrifices and perfumes. Bark oil is used  in flavouring confectionery, liquors and in pharmaceutical preparations, especially to mask the unpleasant taste. Leaf oil is used in the manufacture of  cheaper types of perfumes used in soap, tooth pastes hair oil, etc. In the flavouring industry, it is used as a modifier

Soil and climate: Wild cinnamon trees are confined to tropical evergreen rain forests upto 1800 m from MSL.  The best cultivated cinnamon is grown at low  altitudes in Sri Lanka with an average temperature of 300C and 2000‑2500 mm rainfall per annum.  Sandy loam soils with admixture of humus or vegetative mould is the best for sweet and fragrant bark. Proximity to sea, humid conditions and  saltish water are good for the crop.

Seeds and sowing: It is propagated mainly by seed and rarely by cuttings of young 3‑leaved shoots, layering of shoots and by the division of old rootstocks. Seeds soon lose their viability and should be sown fresh after the removal of the pulp. Germination takes 2‑3 weeks time. Seeds are sown thickly in nurseries in May‑June. When 4 months old, seedlings are transplanted into poly bags or baskets. After  a  further  10‑12  months they are planted in the main field at 2‑3 m spacing.

Manuring: Cattle manure or compost at 20 kg/tree/year may be applied. Inorganic fertilizers may be applied at 20:20:25 g  N, P2O5 and K2O/seedling in the first year which is gradually increased to 200:180:200 g/tree/year for grown up plants of 10  years or more.

Aftercultivation: Regular weeding is done in the early stages of growth and the seedlings are  irrigated  till they are established, if there is long drought period.  Plants are pruned when they are 2‑3 years old at a height of 15 cm above ground level.  Side shoots growing  from the base are cut to encourage growth of more side shoots till the whole plant assumes the shape of a bush.

Plant protection: Leaf spot and die back diseases caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, grey blight caused by Pestalotiopsis palmarum and sooty mould caused by Phragmocapinus betle are the common diseases of cinnamon. Spraying of 1% Bordeaux mixture will control the diseases.

Harvesting and processsing:    For the preparation of quills, the plants are harvested 3 years after planting when the shoots have grown 2‑2.5 cm in diameter and 1.5‑2 m in length. Harvesting is done in May or November. The correct time for cutting the shoots for peeling is determined by noting the sap circulation between the wood and the corky layer. If the bark separates readily the cutting is taken immediately in the early morning with sharp knife to prevent breaking and splitting of cut ends. The first harvest may yield 30‑50 kg quills/ha/year. Better harvests are expected after 10 years when 170‑200 kg of dried quills/ha/year are obtained.

     The chips, featherings or trimmings of bark left after the collection of quills are used for distillation and the oil yield is 0.5‑1% generally. For the extraction of leaf oil, the leaves and tender twigs are harvested in May  and November. Wilting of the harvested leaves in shade for 24 hours and steam distill for 4‑6 hours. The leaf oil yield is 0.5 to 0.7%.

Chemical constituents:  The cinnamon bark oil is light yellow in colour when freshly distilled. On storage it becomes reddish. Bark oil contains mainly cinnamic aldehyde (60‑75%), eugenol (10%) etc. while leaf oil has a slight camphoraceous odour resembling that of clove oil due to the presence of  70‑95% eugenol.

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(Java  citronella)

Cymbopogon winterianus

Family -   Gramineae (Poaceae)

             Two  varieties are recognized in Cymbopogon nardus (L.)  C. nardus var. lenabatu (Ceylon citronella) and Cymbopogon nardus var. mahapengiri (Java  citronella). The later is sometimes  recognized as a  distinct  species,  C. winterianus   Jowitt. 

Uses: Citronella oil serves as a starting material for the extraction of geraniol  and citronellal which can be converted into aroma chemicals such  as citronellol, hydroxy citronellol, synthetic menthol and esters of geraniol.  These find extensive use in soap, perfumery,  cosmetic and   flavouring   industries. 

Soil and climate: Optimum growth and yield is obtained in sandy loam soil with abundant organic matter. Heavy clay and sandy soils  do not  support good growth. It grows best on soils with a pH around 6.0 though a  pH range  of  5.8‑8.0  is suitable.  

               Citronella grows well under tropical  and subtropical  conditions. It requires abundant sunshine and  mois­ture for good growth.  Even though  it  grows upto  1000 m above MSL its growth is restricted, resulting in  low yields,  when  grown above an altitude of 400 m. Annual rainfall of 1500-2000mm and  will cool night temperatures are ideal for better growth of the plant and quality  of  the oil.

Seeds and sowing:  Citronella  grass is vegetatively propagated through slips at  60‑90 cm spacing. About 20,000-30,000 slips are required for one hectare.

Varieties:   Jorlab  C2,  RRL  JOR‑3‑1970,   CIMAP/Bio‑13   and CIMAP/73‑1   

Manuring: Farm  yard manure  is applied at 10 tonnes/ha before planting. A  fertilizer dose  of 200 kg N, 80 kg P2O5 and 40‑80 kg K20 is recommended  per hectare  per annum..  Apply N in 4 equal split doses at an  interval of about 3 months. P and K in full as basal.

Irrigation: Irrigation is  required within 24 hours of planting if there is no  rain.    Depending  on weather and soil conditions irrigate once in 3-4 days.

After cultivation: The field is to be kept  weed free  till a complete cover of the crop is obtained. Earthing up is done after about 4  months  of planting  and again after every harvest as the  citronella  root­stock has a tendency to work out of soil by itself.

 Plant protection: Termite  attack  on  planted slips and on  the  live clumps can be controlled by soil drenching with 0.05% chlorpyriphos EC. Leaf blight disease caused by Curvularia  andropogonis and leaf spot by Colletotrichum graminicola appear with the  on set of monsoon. These diseases can be controlled by prophylactic spraying of Dithane M‑45 or Dithane Z‑78 at 2g/l  at an interval of 10‑15 days during the disease prone period.

Harvesting and processing:  The crop is ready for the first harvest after about 9 months of  planting and subsequently at an interval of 3 months. Cut the grass above the first node at 20‑45 cm from the ground. Flowering should be discouraged as it causes aging  and reduces  the  life span of the plantation. Harvesting can be done 4 times  a  year. Generally, the crop is replanted 4-5 years and one year rotation with any legume species like horse gram, cowpea or sunhemp is recommended.

                          The harvested grass is wilted in shade for a short time  and steam  distilled within 24 hours. The oil yield varies  with  the season, soil fertility and distillation efficiency. On an average, oil recovery is  0.8‑1.2% and the oil yield  is 100 kg/ha during the first year and 150 kg/ha  during  subsequent  years.  Yields of 200‑250 kg/ha/yr  can  be  obtained under favourable conditions with good management.

Chemical constituents: Java citronella oil contain mainly citronellal 32‑45%, geraniol 12‑18% and citronellol 11‑15%.

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Salvia sclarea

Family – Lamiaceae

 Sage oils are obtained from different species of Salvia. Inferior Spanish and Dalmatian materials are obtained from Salvia officinalis, whereas a superior and more expensive oil is obtained from Salvia sclarea which is commonly cultivated. It is 60‑90 cm tall herb with a widely branched deep root system.

Uses: The plants are extensively used in the flavour industry for the formulation of liquors and soft beverages.. The essential oil is used in perfumery because of its coriander‑like notes. It is used as a flavour in liquors and as a modifier in spice compounds.  The oil is also used in preparations of ice‑creams, candy and baked goods.

Soil and climate: The plant is generally grown on poor soils. Slightly acidic soils of pH 4.0‑5.5 are better. Clarysage is tolerant to cold and drought and adaptable to a wide variety of situations. Higher altitude with ample sunshine and few good showers in spring results in good yield of oil having superior quality.

Seeds and sowing: It is propagated through seeds.  The seeds can be directly sown in the field or transplanted either in November or March‑April depending upon the weather conditions. Seed rate is 3‑4 kg/ha for transplanting. Seedlings appear in 10‑15 days and are transplanted when 30‑35 days old, at 1 m row spacing .

Varieties: Few high yielding hybrid varieties have been developed in Bulgaria. Zarya is a medium early variety and   Lazur is cold resistant one.

Manuring:10‑12 tonnes of organic manure to be incorporated in the field before planting. 100‑120 kg N and 30 kg each of P2O5 and K2O are recommended per hectare . N may be applied in 4 equal splits.

After cultivation:  One or two irrigations may be given in case of a drought situation. Pre‑emergence application of fluometuron or diuron at 2 kg/ha and post‑emergence application of preforan or introchlor at 3 kg/ha can effectively control weeds. 2‑3 hoeings should be done before the flowering season. After harvest, a hoeing is given.

Plant protection: Aphid Acyrtosiphon salviae is found to infest clarysage which can be controlled by a contact insecticide.  Root knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita infests the plant heavily.  It can be controlled by application of carbofuran granules at the rate of 1 kg a.i. per heatare. The fungus Rhizoctonia solani causes rot disease. Drenching with copper oxychloride or Bordeaux mixture is recommended for rot disease.

Harvesting and processing: The flowering tops and leaves are harvested twice a year during July and September. Excessive stalk growth is removed as it contains no significant amount of oil. Plants remain productive for 5‑6 years and new plantation is started in a different location.

             The harvested herb is to be distilled immediately with a view to avoid evaporation loss of essential oil. Distillation is carried out for a period 2‑3 hours. Oil recovery  of  0.15%  is  obtained  on poor soils whereas 0.2‑0.3% is achieved with improved varieties and good management when the yield of oil will be 40‑50 kg/ha.

Chemical constituents: The chemical  constituents  of  the  oil are reported to be linalool, ß‑ocimene,  p‑cymene, terpinolene, cis‑3‑hexen‑1‑ol,  terpinen‑4‑ol, caryophyllene,  ‑terpineol, citronellol, nerol, geraniol, and their acetates etc.

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Eugenia caryophyllata (Syzygium aromaticum)

Family -  Myrtaceae

Clove is a small evergreen tree valued for spice and essential oils. In trade, cloves are the dried unopened flower buds.   

Uses: It is  used as a table spice, in the preparation of curry powders, to season sausages and puddings. Clove buds, stems and leaves on steam distillation yield essential oils which are used in the manufacture of perfumes, soaps, in flavouring and in medicine. In medicine, cloves are stimulative, antispasmodic and carminative.  In dentistry, eugenol in combination with zinc oxide is used for temporary filling of cavities.

Soil and climate: Cloves grow best with insular, maritime climates in the tropics upto an elevation of 1000 m. Annual rainfall of 1500‑3000 mm and a temperature of 25‑32 C are ideal. Drier weather is desirable for harvesting and drying the produce. Well  drained, deep, sandy, red or acid loams with  high humus  content are best suited. Waterlogging is fatal.

Seeds and sowing: Cloves are propagated by seeds, though vegetative propagation through layering, approach grafting and budding has been met with occasional success. Fully ripened, freshly fallen fruits are collected, soaked in water and heaped under wet sacks for fermentation for 3 days. The seeds are then hulled with fingers, washed and sown in nursery at 15‑20 cm spacing and watered regularly. Fresh seeds give a germination over 90%, but the seed  viability diminishes sharply in storage. 1‑1.5 years old seedlings can be transplanted to the main­field at 6‑7 m spacing in pits of 60‑75 cm3

Manuring: Cattle manure or compost is applied at 15 kg/tree/year. A well grown tree, of 15 years or more, is applied with N, P2O5 and K2O at 300:250:750 g/plant/year. Application of coconut meal, bone meal  or fish meal at 2‑5 kg/plant is beneficial.

Aftercultivation: Irrigation is to be provided during summer months. Young plants are usually ring weeded. Mulching, partial shading and protection from heavy rains  and winds are required during early stages of growth. Cloves can be intercropped in coconut, arecanut, nutmeg, coffee and banana plantations.     

Plant protection: Termites, the coccid‑ Saissetia eugeniae and shoot borer (Sinoxylon sp.) are the common pests of clove. Termites can be controlled by drenching the soil with 0.05% chlorpyriphos EC. Dimethoate or methyl demeton sprays at 0.05% is  efffective against the other pests. Leaf spot, twig blight and flower bud shedding are caused by different fungal pathogens. Die back caused by Cryptosporella eugeniae and sudden death by Valsa eugeniae are other diseases of the plant and can be controlled by spraying with 1% Bordeaux mixture.

Harvesting and processing: The trees begin to flower in 6 years. Full bearing is achieved by about 20 years and the production  continues for 80 years or more.  Bearing between years shows much variation. Clove clusters are hand‑picked when the buds reach full size and turn pink but before they open. They are spread thinly on mats and  stirred frequently for uniform drying. Well dried cloves will snap cleanly with a sharp click across the thumb nail and weigh about one‑third of the green weight. On an average, a clove tree yields 3.5‑7.0 kg/year which depends upon the age, size and condition of the tree.  Yields upto 80 kg/tree/year have also been recorded.

Various parts of the clove tree yield essential oil on distillation.  The duration of distillation ranges from 8‑24 hours depending upon the size of the still, nature and volume of steam and condition of cloves. Leaves and small twigs yield clove leaf oil. Clove stem oil is obtained from stems attached to the buds and flowers, whereas clove bud oil which has the highest quality and price is obtained from buds. The essential oil yield is 17‑19% from clove buds, 6% from clove stems and 2‑3% from clove leaves.

Chemical constituents: Clove bud  oil  contains mainly eugenol  80‑90% and caryophellene  4‑8%.  

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Coriandrum sativum

Family - Apiaceae

Coriander is an annual erect aromatic herb.  The young green plant is a culinary herb and the mature fruit a spice. The seed oil and oleoresins are commercially extracted. Coriandrum sativum var. microcarpum which is small fruited is largely temperate while C. sativum var. vulgare which is large fruited  is mainly cultivated in the tropics and subtropics

Uses: The essential oil is used in the flavouring of processed food and to some extent in pharmaceutical products and perfumery formulations. Its major fraction of the oil is linalool, which accounts for its characteristic aroma. The oleoresin has similar application as the essential oil in flavouring and perfumery. The leaves and seeds are also used for the treatment of ailments like indigestion, dyspepsia, flatulence and piles.

Soil and climate: Coriander requires a frost free cool climate.  It can be cultivated either as a winter crop during October or May‑June.  The plant grows on a wide variety of soils ranging from heavy black  cotton soils to silt loams, though well drained medium to heavy soils are the best.  The crop can be successfully cultivated as a rainfed crop  on medium to heavy soils with well distributed soil moisture and as an irrigated crop on rich silt loams.

Seeds and sowing: It is propagated by seeds. Seeds are rubbed to separate one seeded mericarps before sowing.  Sowing is done either by broadcasting or by using seed drills in rows 30 cm apart.  The seed rate is 10‑12 kg/ha for pure cropping and 4‑5 kg/ha for mixed or intercropping.  Seeds start germinating in 8‑10 days of sowing.

Varieties: Lucas, Amber, NP(D)92, NP(D)95,  NP(D)172,  NP(J)24, NP(K)45 and S‑33 

Manuring:  FYM at 10 t/ha and fertilizers at 100:40:40 N, P2O5 and K2O/ha are recommeded.

Irrigation: The crop is irrigated immediately after sowing to ensure even germination and later on at 7‑10 days interval depending upon the soil and climatic conditions. 

Aftercultivation: The field is to be kept weed free by regular weeding and hoeing. Postemergence application of 5‑6 kg of propanil brings about optimum control of weeds.

Plant protection: Diseases such as wilt (Fusarium oxysporum), tumour (Protomyces macrosporus), powdery mildew (Erysiphe polygoni), stem rot (Sclerotina sclerotiarum) and root rot (Rhizoctonia bataticola.) are reported in coriander. The diseases are controlled by spraying or soil drenching with 1% bordeaux mixture.

Harvesting and processing: The crop matures in 90‑110 days.  To avoid shattering of the fruit, it is generally harvested when the fruits in the main umbel have turned brownish or half of the fruits have turned brown. Harvesting is done either by uprooting the whole plant or by cutting them with sickle manually.  The plants are then tied into small bundles and stacked for drying, keeping the bundles upside down, and then  threshed to separate the fruits.  The yield is 400‑600 kg/ha under rainfed farming and 1400‑2000 kg/ha under irrigated condition.

The essential oil is obtained by the steam distillation of mature dry fruits. Generally, distillation is carried out for 9‑10 hours.  The larger fruit contains 0.1‑0.35% oil whereas the small fruit contains 0.8‑1.8% oil. Oil recoveries as high as 2.6% have also been reported. An oil yield of 30‑40 kg/ha is obtained. Coriander oil is often adulterated with sweet orange oil cedar wood oil, aniseed oil, turpentine or anethole.

Chemical constituents: Seed oil contains mainly ‑pinene 0.96‑7.97%, p‑cymene and phellandrene 3.69‑9.91%, linalool 59.55‑72.61%, borneol and decyl aldehyde 5.31‑7.43%,   myrcene 5.44%,-terpinene 5.44%, camphor 2.46% etc.

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Cuminum cyminum

Family - Apiaceae

Cumin is a small slender glabrous annual herb. It is one of the most important condiments consumed all over the world. 

Uses: The seed is used as a spice for flavouring foods of various kinds like breads, cheese and curry powders. Cumin oil is preferred to the whole fruit in many types of flavouring preparations. The oil is also used in soap, perfumery and beverages.  The absolute is superior to the oil for flavouring. Cumaldehyde,  the chief constituent  of cumin oil, is used in perfumery.  The thymol free, distillation residue water is given to children as carminative and is useful in flatulence and gripping.

 Soil and climate: Cumin is usually cultivated as a winter crop.  It prefers low atmospheric humidity during flowering and seed setting.  It is grown on well drained, medium to heavy textured soils of medium to high fertility. The incidence of wilt disease is more in light textured soils. 

Seeds and sowing:  The plant  is propagated by seeds. Seed rate is 20 kg/ha for  broadcasting and 12‑15 kg/ha for drilling or line sowing at 25‑30 cm between rows.  Seeds are sown in November on well prepared seed beds.

Varieties:  S‑404, MC‑43, RS‑1, UC‑52, UC‑91, NP(D)‑1, NP(J) 126, NP(J) 149 

Manuring: The beds are manured with 10‑15 t/ha of organic manure and 30‑40 kg each of N, P2O5 and K2O/ha. A top dressing of 30 kg N/ha is given after second weeding

Irrigation: The field is irrigated immediately after sowing. Thereafter, 4‑5 irrigations  are  needed  at an interval of 12‑20 days depending upon weather and soil conditions.

Aftercultivation: Weeding is carried out twice, 20 and 40 days after sowing..

Plant protection: Not many pests are reported in this crop.  Aphids attacking cumin can be easily controlled by tobacco decoction or a mild insecticide like malathion. Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum and F. cumini), blight (Alternaria burnsii) and powdery mildew (Erysiphe polygoni) are also observed on the crop which can be controlled by the application of maneb, MBC and wettable sulphur respectively.

Harvesting and processing: The fruits appear in tufts and mature in 80‑100 days after sowing.  The fruits are harvested before they shatter, by pulling the whole plants in the morning when they are wet. The uprooted plants are stacked for 2‑3 days for  drying in sun.  The seeds are separated from the plants by winnowing. On an average a seed yield is 800‑1500 kg/ha.

The dried fruit or seed is crushed and distilled immediately to obtain the essential oil.  Steam distillation  is usually carried out. The oil recovery ranges from 2.5 to 4.5% . Older seeds yield less oil. On an average, an oil yield of 25‑30 kg/ha is obtained.

     Cumin oil is often adulterated with synthetic aldehydes, the presence of which in small quantities cannot be detected by routine analysis, higher percentages affect the optical rotation.

Chemical constitutents: Cumin oil contain ‑pinene (14.3‑19.7%), p‑cymene (2.7‑6.0%), terpinene (11.5‑16.3%), cuminaldehyde (20.0‑22.4%), p‑menth‑1,3‑dien‑7‑al (11.1‑13.5%), p‑menth‑1,4dien‑7‑al (23.6‑24.3%), cuminyl alcohol (3.7‑72.2)%, sabinene (3.38%), benzyl cinnamate (4.47%), farnesol (2.98%) 

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Artemisia pallens

Family - Asteraceae

Davana is a delicate, erect, branched annual herb, the flowering top of which yields an essential oil which is extensively used in high grade fine perfumes. Davana is probably a native of South India. It is an erect branched annual herb 45‑60 cm tall and covered with greyish white tomentum

Uses: The oil is used for flavouring cakes, pastries, tobacco, beverages, sausages and preserved products. The leaves form an important component of garlands and bouquets

 Soil and climate: Davana is a delicate plant and hence cannot withstand heavy rains.  It prefers light drizzles, bright sunshine, and a mild winter with no frost and heavy morning dew during the growing season. Cloudy weather and rains during flowering and seed ripening stages adversely affects the yield.  The crop grown during November gives the maximum herb and oil yield. However, the crop can be grown round the year for use in garlands and bouquets.  The plant grows on various types of soils ranging from sandy loam to medium black soils, but humus rich red loam soils are ideal.

Seeds and sowing:  The plant is propagated by seeds. Seeds are short‑viable and hence cannot be stored for long. Transplanting is generally practised in the crop. A nursery area of 500 m2  sown with about 1.5 kg seeds is sufficient for planting one hectare.  The seeds are mixed with fine sand, broadcast over the nursery bed, covered with a thin layer of sand and watered regularly. Seeds germinate in about 3‑4 days. When the seedlings are 10‑12 cm tall they are transplanted to the main field at 15 x 7.5 cm spacing. 

Manuring: Before transplanting, 12‑15 tonnes of well decomposed FYM and 40 kg/ha each of phosphate and potash are incorporated into the soil. N is applied at 120 kg/ha in 4 equal splits, 3 for the main crop and 1 for the ratoon crop at 15 days interval. 

Aftercultivaation: The crop is irrigated weekly.  Two weedings are carried out in the main crop and one in the ratoon crop. 

Plant protection: The crop is  often subject to damping off at the tender early stage, particularly in the nursery. This disease, caused by Rhizoctonia species is common during cloudy and rainy period.  Hence adjusting of sowing time is important for avoiding the disease. In severe cases, the disease can be controlled by soil drenching and foliar spraying with 0.2% Mancozeb or 1% Bordeaux mixture.

Harvesting and processing: The crop is harvested during February‑March when a large number of flower buds start opening. Flower to plant ratio at the time of harvest is reported to be important in davana.  Harvesting is done by cutting the whole plant with sickle at a height of 10 cm from the ground.  The herb yield is 8‑10 tonnes/ha.

The harvested herb is dried in shade for 2‑3 days. The dried herb is steam distilled for a period of 6‑8 hours for extracting the essential oil.  The flower heads contain  0.3‑0.4% of oil and in general, an oil recovery of 0.2% is  achieved from the whole plant.  The oil yield is 12‑15 kg/ha.

Chemical constitutents: Davana oil contains davanone, fenchyl alcohol, cinnamyl cinnamate, caryophyllene, cadinene, linalool, dehydro‑linalool, davanafuran, isodavanone, dihydro-rosefuran, n‑alkanes, hydroxydavanone, geraniol and nerol. Davanafurans are responsible for the characteristic odour of davana oil though they constitute only 0.8% of the oil. Oil with more than 50-60% davanone is preferred in trade.

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Eucalyptus spp.

Family -  Myrtaceae

Eucalyptus is an essential oil yielding tree which has perfumery, industrial and medicinal uses.  The genus Eucalyptus comprises more than 700 species. Eucalyptus citriodora commonly known as citron (lemon) scented gum or spotted gum and E. globulus are the most common  species cultivated for essential oils.. E. citriodora is a tall, graceful tree, 25‑40 m high, with a crown of leaves and branches at the top. E. globulus grows to a height of 55 m.

Uses: The essential oil of E. citriodora is used in soap and cosmetic industries.  It is an effective substitute for Java citronella oil and a source of citronellal for the manufacture of citronellol, hydroxy citronellal and menthol. The E. globulus oil is used in germicides and disinfectants to improve the odour.  It is used as an antiseptic especially in the treatment of infections of the upper respiratory tract and in  certain types of skin diseases. It is used as a stimulating expectorant in chronic bronchitis and as a vermifuge against hookworm.  It is internally administered or inhaled with steam for  asthma and respiratory disorders.

Soil and climate:      Eucalyptus plants prefer tropical and subtropical climate but grow satisfactorily in temperate regions as well.  They are frost sensitive in early stages. E. citriodora grows in plains upto 600 m while E. globulus prefers an elevation of 1300‑2700 m.  The former grows well on poor   gravelly soils in rainfed areas  but  can be grown on any soil whereas the latter is chiefly grown on moisture rich loamy soils 

Seeds and sowing:     The plant is propagated by seeds only. Seeds can be sown directly in the field or seedlings can be raised in the nursery during February‑September. Germination takes upto a fortnight depending upon  atmospheric humidity and temperature. Cold stored seeds germinate in 2‑4 days. Seedlings are maintained in the nursery for  2‑3 months until they attain a height of 20‑30 cm when they are transplanted to the mainfield at 70‑100 cm spacing.

Manuring: 10‑12 tonnes/ha of organic manure and 120:60:60 kg/ha of N, P2O5 and K2O are applied.

Aftercultivation: Weeding is required during the initial period until the plants are established well 

Plant protection:      Seedlings,  leaves and stems of E. citriodora are severely damaged by blight caused by Cylindrocladium scoparium Morgan. Drying and defoliation are caused by Physalospora latitans Sace. Fusarium orthoceros attacks the seedlings at the  hypocotyl level. These fungal diseases can be controlled by spraying  and drenching with 1% Bordeaux mixture or copper oxychloride. 

 Harvesting and processing:     Harvesting is done when the weather is clear and oil content in leaves is maximum.  Accordingly, harvesting leaves during February, April, July and  October has been recommended. In Kerala, harvesting twice a year, in May and November, is practised. Plants can be pollarded to promote vigorous sprouting of side shoots. Fresh shoots sprout in about four weeks after  pollarding, which are ready for harvesting after 4‑5 months. First pruning is done at 30‑45 cm above ground and the subsequent ones at 75‑90 cm above ground.

The harvested leaves are steam distilled for 2‑3 hours soon after harvesting to avoid loss of oil through evaporation as well as deterioration of its quality during storage. Though oil recoveries as high  as  5%  has  been reported, 1‑2% yield is frequently achieved in E.  citriodora. The highest oil yield is obtained from the top leaves. This oil has better solubility in alcohol and higher cineole content than the oil obtained from the lower leaves. A  6‑8 years old tree yields 30‑60 kg of leaves/year which gives 0.5‑1 kg of oil.

Chemical constituents:  E. citriodora oil is colourless to light yellow with a  grassy verbena odour.  The main composition  of  the  oil is limonene 0.4‑7.1%, 1,8 cineole 1.1‑17.9%,  citronellal   26.7‑82.6%,  linalool  0.3‑0.9%,  iso‑pulegol 4.7‑29.8%, citronellol 5.1‑13.4%, caryophyllene 0.3‑3.9% etc. E. globulus oil is colourless to light yellow with  camphoraceous  odour. The major constituents of  the oil are cineole (60‑70%) caryophyllene, camphene,  sabinene,  myrcene,  p‑menthane,   , ß and  ‑terpinene, fenchone,   and ß‑thujone, citral, verbenone, iso‑amyl alcohol, trans‑pino carveol, borneol, myrtenol, eudesmol, thymol, bornyl acetate, caproic acid, piperitone and globulol

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Foeniculum vulgare

Family - Apiaceae

Fennel is a stout glabrous biennial or perennial aromatic herb whose fruit has a fragrant odour and a pleasant taste. In the species  Foeniculum vulgare two cultivated forms are observed.(i) Bitter fennel: Foeniculum vulgare subsp. capillaceum var. vulgare. which yields bitter fennel oil and (ii)  Sweet fennel: F. vulgare subsp. capillaceum var. dulce  which yields sweet fennel oil. Indian fennel is sometimes referred to as a distinct form, var. panmorium

Uses: The fruits are used for flavouring soups, meat dishes, sauces, bread rolls, pastries, pickles, confectionery and liquors.  The seeds yield essential oil which is used in perfumery, food, soap, liquor and drug industries. Medicinally, it is useful in infantile colic and flatulence.  It also checks gripping and is used as  vermicide against hook worms.

 Soil and climate: Fennel requires a fairly mild climate.  It is mainly cultivated as a winter season crop upto an altitude  of 1800 m throughout the subtropical and temperate regions. In many countries, it is grown as a garden crop in home yards.  It grows on a variety of soils, but thrives best on rich loamy soils containing sufficient lime. Saline and waterlogged soils are not suitable. 

Seeds and sowing: The plant is propagated by seeds. Seeds are broadcast or drilled in rows 30‑45cm apart, during October‑November in plains and  during March‑April in higher elevations. Seed rate is 8‑10 kg/ha.  The seedlings when  8‑10cm high may be thinned out to 20‑30cm in rows.

Manuring: The field should be supplied with 15‑20 t/ha of organic manure before planting and fertilizer application can be dispensed with at higher levels of organic manure application. When organic sources are limited inorganic fertilizers can be applied at 100:30:30 kg N, P2O5 and K2O/ha. N is applied in 2‑3 splits while P and K are applied as basal  at the time of sowing. 

Irrigation:  Watering is required immediately after sowing if there is no rain.  Subsequently, irrigation is to be provided at 7‑15 days interval depending upon the weather and soil conditions. 

Aftercultivation: Weeding is carried out twice, one and two months after sowing which  is followed by topdressing of N. 

Plant protection: Thrips (Heriothrips indicus) may severely damage the crop which can be controlled by the application of a contact or systemic insecticide.  Blight (Cercospora foeniculi) and powdery mildew (Leveillula tauria) are the common diseases of fennel, which are controlled by spraying maneb (2g/l) and wettable sulphur (3g/l), respectively.

Harvesting and processing: The crop will be ready for harvest in 5‑6 months time. Individual umbels are cut before they are fully ripe and the harvested crop is spread out in loose bundles to dry in the sun for 4‑5 days. The dried fruits are then separated by thrashing and  cleaned  by  winnowing.  The  average  seed  yield  is 1000‑1500 kg/ha.

            The crushed fennel seeds, on steam distillation yield the essential oil.  The oil content in seed varies considerably with the variety, being the lowest (0.7‑2%) in fruits of Indian origin and highest (4‑6%) in fruits obtained from Eastern Europe.

Chemical constitutents: Indian fennel oil contains over 70% anethole and 5% fenchone.  Fenchone is mostly absent in European oils. The high percentage of anethole (upto 90%) and the relative absence of fenchone are responsible for its delicate odour and flavour.    The oil from wild growing bitter plants contains little anethole, the major being                d‑phellandrene.

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Pelargonium graveolens

Family - Geraniaceae

Geranium also known as Rose geranium, is a bushy pubescent aromatic perennial shrub which produces an essential oil having strong rose‑like odour with a minty top note.  It is a suffrutescent bushy aromatic perennial shrub with cylindrical stem.

Uses: Geranium oil blends  well with all kinds of scents, floral and oriental bouquets and is extensively used in perfumery and cosmetic industries. It is widely used for scenting soaps due to its stability in the slightly alkaline medium. The oil is also used for the production of rhodinol used in the manufacture of perfume compounds.

Soil and climate: A Mediterranean type of mild climate with a low humidity, warm winter, mild summer temperature and an annual rainfall of 1000‑1500 mm is ideal for the crop. It grows successfully at an altitude of 1000‑ 2100 m. Well drained porous soils are suitable for its cultivation. Saline, alkaline and damp soils are unsuitable.

Seeds and sowing: There is no seed setting in geranium.  The plant is propagated by stem and root cuttings.  Terminal cuttings root earlier than middle and basal cuttings. IAA is better than IBA for inducing rooting. Rooted cuttings are raised in the nursery during November‑January and transplanted after 2 months at 60 x 40 cm spacing in the main field after applying well decomposed FYM or Compost.

Manuring: Apply FYM at 10‑12 t/ha.  Inorganic fertilizers like phosphate and potash are applied at 40‑60 kg/ha as basal while N is applied upto 200 kg/ha/year in six equal splits to cover the 3 harvests. Application of micronutrients such as Cu at 20 kg/ha/year and Mo at 3 kg/ha/year in 3‑4 split doses is found to be beneficial.

Aftercultivation:  Irrigation is provided daily for the first 3‑4 days, on alternate days till two weeks and weekly thereafter. The crop requires weeding 20 and 40 days after planting and hoeing after harvest.

Plant protection: Attack of root‑knot nematodes Meloidogyne incognita and M. hapla are common in this crop. These are controlled by applying carbofuran 3G granuls @ 1.0 kg a.i.  Fusarium oxysporum and Botryodiplodia theobromae cause wilt disease for which the systemic fungicide benomyl is effective.

Harveting and processing: The crop is ready for harvest after 4 months from transplanting when the leaves begin to turn light green and exhibit a change from lemon like odour to that of rose. The green leafy shoots are harvested with a sharp sickle. Three harvests can be taken per annum and the crop remains in the field for 4‑6 years.  The yield of fresh herbage/ha/year from the 3 harvests is about 15 tonnes.

The harvested herb is immediately taken up for distillation. Steam distillation gives better quality oil as compared to hydrodistillation. Distillation takes 3‑4 hours.  The volatile oil is present mostly in  the leaf  blades and there is practically no oil in the woody stem. In large scale distillations, the oil recovery varies from 0.1 to 0.15% on fresh weight basis and the average oil yield is 18‑20 kg/ha/year.  A maximum oil yield of 60 kg/ha has been reported.

Chemical constituents: Geranium oil possesses strong, somewhat rose‑like odour which is reported to improve with age when properly stored. The major chemical composition of the essential oil is reported to be iso‑menthone 5.2‑7.2%, linalool 3.96‑12.90%,   Guaia‑6,9‑diene 0.15‑4.4%, citronellyl formate 1.92‑7.55%,   citronellol 19.28‑40‑23%,    geraniol 6.45‑18.4% 

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Jasminum grandiflorum

Family - Oleaceae

Jasmines are a group of shrubs which are commercially grown for their fragrant flowers and essential oil production. The term Jasmine is probably derived from  the Persian word  Yasmin meaning fragrance Though  more  than  2000   species   are   known,  three species, viz, J. grandiflorum L., J. sambac  Ait. and J. auriculatum Vahl. are commercially cultivated and only J. grandiflorum L. is grown for use in perfume.

Uses: The bulk of the flowers is used as such in garlands and decorative bunches  for religious offerings and a small quantity for the production of oils and  attars. Jasmine concrete and absolute are used in high grade perfumes, ranking next to the rose in the order of importance. Jasmine oil blends with every floral scent and extensively used as an important perfumery item throughout  the world. Almost all high  quality per­fumes contain at least a small amount of jasmine oil. The absolute, though expensive, also blends with any floral scent imparting smooth­ness and elegance to the perfume composition.

Soil and climate: Jasmines are sun loving plants and prefer warm humid climate for successful growth. They perform well at elevations ranging from 600 to 1200 m. Areas having a warm summer  and mild winter with sun almost throughout the year are considered the best. Jasmines  can be grown on a wide range of soils, but well drained rich sandy loam to  clay loam soils with a soil pH of 6.5‑7.5 are best suited.

Seeds and sowing: Layers and cuttings can be used for propagation.. Cuttings for planting should be  20‑25 cm long with 3‑4 eyes and are dipped in seradix‑B (or a solution of 4000 ppm of IBA) and planted under intermittent mist for rooting during January to March. Almost 90% rooting is achieved and the cuttings will be ready for transplanting in 4‑5 months. Cuttings, are planted in pits dug upto 1 m in depth, and filled with top soil, cowdung and compost. Plants are spaced  at 1 m in rows, 1.5 m apart.

Varieties: Improved varieties  of  J.  grandiflorum   ('Jaji  mallige'  and  'Ajjige') and J. auriculatum ('Vasantha mallige' 'Parimullai' and 'CO ‑1 mullai') are used for commercial cultivation

Manuring: Jasmine plant needs 15‑30kg FYM, 60‑120g N, 120‑240g P2O5 and 120‑240g  K2O/plant/year which are given in 3‑4 split doses.

Aftercultivation: Pruning is needed to get high flower yield and to keep the bushes to manageable size. Plants pruned between 17th December and 7th June produce maximum number of branches and the highest yield of flowers. The shoots are cut at 30 cm height. Diseased leaves and dry shoots are  also removed. After pruning, the soil around the plant should be stirred upto  a depth of 15 cm and repeated every 2‑3 months. The field should be kept clean by removing weeds as and when necessary. Irrigation is given if soil moisture is inadequate.

Plant protection: Red scale, mealy bug, jasmine bug, leaf eating caterpillar, white flies and mites are the common insect pests. Red mite can be controlled by spraying any acaricide like dicofol, tetradifon, chlorobenzilate or wettable sulphur and other pests with carbaryl 50 WP at 0.2% or methyl demeton at 0.05%. Black leaf spot and mildew are the diseases of this crop.

Harvesting and processing:     The plant flowers from the second year of planting. The flowering period  ranges between April and May and from August to  November.  Harvesting is done during early morning because the flowers contain maximum perfume at this time. Flowers gathered at noon and in the afternoon yield lesser flower oil than those collected very early in the day. Warm weather  and ample sunshine yield a crop of heavily scented flowers than in cool or rainy weather.  The annual yields of flowers have been  reported  to  be  750‑1000  kg/ha.  A jasmine plantation gives economic yield for 10‑15 years after which the crop is removed and crop rotation is  followed for some years before establishing a new jasmine plantation.

The essential oil in flowers is extracted through  enfleurage which is widely used for production of  jasmine attars in India. In this method, seeds of sesame or til (Sesamum indicum L.) are first soaked in water with a view  to remove their covering and then dried in the sun. The fresh jasmine flowers and the dehusked sesame seeds are spread in thin layers, one above the other, for 10‑12  hours daily. The exhausted blossom is replaced by fresh flowers and this process is  repeated for 5‑7 days till all the dehusked seeds are saturated with the perfume. One kg seed can extract the perfume from 3 kg flowers. The perfumed seeds are distilled and the vapours of jasmine are absorbed into sandal wood oil for production of attars. Solvent extraction, with petroleum ether or  hexane, recovers practically all the odorous constituents.  The solvent is recovered  by vacuum distillation and the  residue constitutes the concrete which is purified by extraction with 95% alcohol, whereby jasmine absolute is obtained.  The usual yields are 0.30‑0.35% concrete and 45‑55% absolute. The annual yield of concrete is 4‑5 kg/ha. Jasmine oil is also separated from jasmine concrete by liquid carbon dioxide extraction  method.

Chemical constituents: The approximate composition of jasmine flower oil obtained by  enfleurage is benzyl acetate 65.0%, d‑linalool 15.5%, linalyl acetate 7.5%, benzyl alcohol 6.0%, jasmone 3.0%, indole 2.5% and methyl anthranilate 0.5%.

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 Cymbopogon flexuosus

 Family -   Gramineae (Poaceae)

        Lemongrass  is a tropical perennial grass having typical strong lemon‑like odour.  Cymbopogon flexuosus (East Indian or true lemongrass). Cymbopogon citratus (West Indian) Cymbopogon pendulus (Jammu lemongrass) are commercially cultivated for extraction of oil.

Uses: It used  for the isolation of citral and manufacture of ionones having the odour of violets. They are used in flavours, cosmetics and perfumes. The leaves and tender shoots are used for flavouring foods, drinks and tea and for scenting bathwater. The oil is used as a repellent against flies  and mosquitoes. 

Soil and climate: Lemongrass  is generally grown on poor soils, though it  flourishes on a wide variety of soils ranging from rich  loam to poor laterite. The grass grows best on well drained sandy loam soil. It  requires  a warm humid climate  with  plenty  of sunshine  and  rainfall  ranging from  2500‑3000 mm,  uniformly distributed   over  the  year.  The  grass  prefers  an   average temperature of 23‑300C. The plant is hardy and tolerant to drought. This crop is well suited for rainfed agriculture. It grows well at altitudes between 100 and 1200 m  above MSL

Seeds and sowing: It is propagated through seeds and slips.   Fresh seeds are to be used as viability of seeds are drastilay reduced after six months. Seed rate  is 3‑4 kg/ha for transplanting and 25‑30 kg/ha for broadcast sowing. For  transplanting,  seeds are sown in a  well  prepared  nursery. 45‑60 days old seedlings  are transplanted at a distance of 20‑50  cm in rows, 20‑75 cm apart depending on the soil fertility and tillering nature of the variety.  Varieties:  Sugandhi (OD‑19),OD-23 RRL-16, LS‑48, Pragati, Kaveri, Krishna

Manuring:  Apply spent‑lemongrass compost  at  10 tonnes/ha  and  wood ash at 2 tonnes/ha, which  are  obtained  as byproducts  of  grass distillation.   30 kg/ha each of N, P2O5 and K20 as basal dose is to be applied at the  time of planting. 60 kg N/ha/year may be applied as top  dressing in 3‑4 splits after every harvest.

Irrigation:  4‑6  irrigations are  essential  for getting optimum yield in areas  where rainfall  is  restricted  or  not  well  distributed.

After cultivation:  Generally, 2‑3 weedings are necessary during  a year. Spraying Paraquat at  2‑2.5 l/ha  in 500 l of water immediately on the same day or the next day after cutting the  grass  for distillation  is an excellent method of weed control. Burning  of stubbles in summer is practised in some  areas to ward off pests, diseases and weeds. Earth up after weeding and fertilizer application.

Plant protection: No serious pest and disease occur in the crop. Stem  borer, Chilotrea species and  leaf spot diseases caused by Helminthosporium cymbopogi  and H.  sacchari and long smut disease caused by Tolyposporium  christensenii are reported.

 Harvesting  and  processing:  Take first  cutting 3  months  after planting, thereafter every 6‑8 weeks depending on growth.  Cut close to the base about  10 cm above ground level. Generally, 3 harvests are possible  during the  first  year  and 4‑6 during subsequent  years. The fresh grass  yield  ranges from 3 to 10 tonnes/cut/ha . The grass yield is highest in the third year of planting. Replant  after 5-6 years. The  essential oil is produced by steam distillation of the grass. The grass is distilled either fresh or after wilting. Wilting of grass for  2 days  and  chopping  to 3 cm size yield more oil. On  an average the oil recovery is 0.3‑0.4% and the oil yield  is 100‑125 kg/ha/year.       

Chemical constituents: C. flexuosus oil contains 75‑85% of aldehydes consisting  largely of citral. 

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Bursera delpechiana

Family - Burseraceae

Linaloe is a large dioecious tree whose wood as well as the berries and leaves yield essential oils which are used as the raw material for the extraction of linalool. Linaloe tree is a native of Mexico

Uses: Because of the stability to alkali, the oil is particularly useful in the manufacture of scents, cosmetics and soaps; transparent soaps. The berry oil resembles Bois de Rose and can be used as a fixative in perfuming lily, lavender, cananga and soaps.

Soil and climate: Linaloe plant requires a dry tropical climate with an annual rainfall of 500‑1000 mm.  It grows upto an altitude of 760 m. The tree is very hardy and it flourishes even on rocky soils.  In deep sandy loam it attains good height with spreading branches. Well drained medium or light loamy soil with neutral pH is ideal for growing the crop. Waterlogging causes cracking of stems and finally wilting away to death.

Seeds and sowing:  The plant is propagated by stem cuttings and seeds. Stem cuttings are usually used as seeds do not germinate easily and germination is very poor. Cuttings of about 1 m length and 1‑3 cm diameter are first planted in nursery or poly bags. About 90% recovery is obtained. The rooted cuttings are transplanted to the  main field after 4‑6 months  in pits of 80 cm cube at a spacing of 6‑7 m. The plants establish in the field very quickly. They start shedding leaves during November and are completely bare of foliage till late March when new flushes appear.

Aftercultivation: They are very hardy and once established do not need much care. No serious pests and diseases are noticed.

Harvesting and processing:  Linaloe plant raised from cuttings set fruits the first year itself while those from seeds take about 5 years  for fruit set.  New flush of leaves along with flower buds appear in April. Berries start setting by May and mature by July‑August when they are harvested, dried and dehusked. One kg of dried husk is obtained from 5‑6 kg of fully mature berries.

Almost all parts of the linaloe tree contain aroma. Mexicans distill the wood while Indians use the outer husks of berries. The husk oil yield is much less, 1.8% as compared to 2.5‑3.0% obtained from the wood in Mexico. The berries can be steam distilled either fresh or dry. Fresh berries take about 5 hours while dry ones 20‑25 hours for distillation.  The still should not be filled up to the brim as the husks  swell during distillation. Fresh fruits yield 1.5‑2.5% oil while dried husks yield 8‑12% oil. The wood oil is distilled from the wood of 40‑60 years old trees which yield 7‑12% oil while younger trees yield 2.5‑3% oil. The seed oil produced in India is known as Mysore Linaloe oil or Indian Lavender oil. Leaf oil yield is 0.15‑0.25%.

Chemical constituents: The approximate composition  of the husk oil  is methyl heptanol 1.5%, linalool 47.7%, linalyl acetate 40.8%, sesquiterpene and other viscous substances 8%. Mexican oil contains 60‑75% linalool.  the leaf oil has a sweet wafting odour and it contains 65‑70% linalyl acetate.

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Tagetes spp.

Famiy - Asteraceae

Five species have been recognized in Tagetes. Tagetes erecta (African or Aztec Marigold), Tagetes patula (French Marigold), Tagetes lucida (Sweet Scented Marigold), Tagetes minuta (T. glandulifera.), Stinking Roger Tagetes tenuifolia (T. signata Bartl.) Stripped Marigold

Uses: African marigold flower oil is a fly repellent and has been suggested as a modifier in hair lotions of the bay‑sum type.  French type finds use in perfumery particularly in certain types of herbaceous fragrances like fougere and lavender and also in florals, such as jasmine, gardenia and violet. This oil is also employed in aldehyde oriented tabac bases.  Oil of stinking roger finds applications in germicidal and microbicidal preparations due to the presence of tagetone which is toxic.  Planting of marigold is highly effective in controlling nematode population in the soil. 

Soil and climate:     African and French marigolds are more widely cultivated as compared to other species. Marigolds, in general, require a mild climate between  elevations of 700‑1500 m.  They come up well on well drained rich loam or sandy loam soils. 

 Seeds and sowing: They are propagated by seeds and cuttings; the former is preferred for establishing tall, vigorous and heavy yielding plantations. Seeds are sown during May‑June  on nursery beds. One month old seedlings are transplanted at 30‑45 cm spacing

Varieties: Tagetes erecta (African or Aztec Marigold): 'Guinea Gold', 'Apricot',  'Primrose', 'Sun Giant',  'Fiesta', 'Golden yellow', 'Glitters', 'Happiness',  'Hawai', 'Crown of Gold', 'Honeycomb' and 'Cerpid'.

(ii) Tagetes patula (French Marigold): 'Rusty Red', 'Flame', 'Spry', 'Naughty', 'Marietta', 'Star of India' and 'Harmony'.

Interspecific hybrids between African and French marigolds are also popular. They are 50‑60 cm tall with double flowers of 5‑7 cm. Eg: 'Nugget', 'Show Boat', 'Red Seven Star', 'Red' and 'Gold Hybrid'.

Manuring: The land is cultivated well incorporating 20‑30 tonnes/ha of well decomposed FYM or compost. A fertilizer dose of 400 kg N, 200 kg P2O5 and 200 kg K2O/ha is suggested for higher yield.

Aftercultivation: Regular irrigation, weeding and hoeing are required to obtain more of large flowers. Initial flower buds are disbudded to obtain bushy and compact growth. Harvesting and processing: Flower heads are harvested when they have attained full size. Regular plucking of  flowers increases the flower production. The flower yield is 8‑12 t/ha for French marigold and 11‑18 t/ha for African marigold.

All parts of the plant contain essential oil in varying concentrations. The oil is  commercially obtained by steam distillation for 3‑4 hours, absorbing the distillate in petroleum ether or benzene. Prolonged distillation spoils the fragrance. Marigold yields 0.02‑0.08% oil giving 8‑15 kg oil/ha/year.

Chemical constituents:African marigold flower oil is reddish yellow in colour,  contains approximately ocimene 8.5%, limonene 14.03%, linalool 21.14%, linalyl acetate 13.75% and tagetone 40.38%. In French marigold oil Tagetone 40.4%, linalool 22.1%, limonene 14.0%, linalyl acetate 13.8% and ocimene 8.5% are the major constituents Oil of T. lucida contains estragol.

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(Japanese mint)

 Family - Labiatae (Lamiaceae) (Lamiaceae)

Mints are aromatic perennial herbs with essential oil present in glands located in the subcuticular region. It is a downy perennial herb with rootstock creeping along or just under the ground surface. Four major mints recognized in this genus are Mentha arvensis L.(Japanese mint), M. piperita L.(Pepper mint), M. spicata L.(Spear mint) and  M. citrata  (Bergamot mint or Lemon mint).

Uses: It is the primary source of menthol, which is widely used for as flavouring and fragrance in confectioneries, toileteries, cosmetics and beverages. It is also employed in a number of medicinal preparations like ointments, balms,  syrups, lozenges and tablets

 Soil and climate:  Medium deep soil, rich in humus is best suited. The soil should have a pH range of 6‑7.5 with good water holding capacity but waterlogging is detrimental. Japanese mint grows well under subtropical conditions while others prefer temperate climate. Adequate and regular rainfall during the growing period and good sunshine during harvesting are ideal for its cultivation.

Seeds and sowing: Japanese mint is propagated through stolons. Seed rate is 400 kg/ha. A hectare of well established mint provides enough planting materials for 10 hectares. Stolons are planted either on flat land or ridges. In plains, they are planted in shallow furrows of 7‑10 cm deep at a spacing of 45‑60 cm .

Varieies: Red, purple and green varieties are known. MAS‑1 and Hybrid‑77.  

Manuring: Farm yard manure at the rate of  10‑12 tonnes/ha can be incorporated during land preparation. Inorganic fertilizers upto 160 kg N and 50 kg each of P2O5 and K2O/ha are applied; nitrogen being applied in 2‑3 split doses.

Irrigation: Irrigation enhances growth and improves the yield. 

Aftercultivation: The field should be kept weed free, particularly during the initial stages of growth till proper establishment and coverage of the ground area.

Plant protection Termite attack observed during the dry months can be controlled by the soil application of application of chlorpyriphos 20 EC at 0.05%. Hairy caterpillars cause rapid defoliation. Cut worms, semi‑loopers and red pumpkin beetle also attack the crop.  These insect pests can be controlled by 5% DDVP, 2% methyl parathion dust or any other contact insecticide. Nematode attack has also been reported for which application of Fenamiphos at 10‑12 kg/ha is effective. Mentha rust is caused by Puccinia menthae which results in severe  leaf shedding. Powdery mildew caused by Erysiphe cichoracearum can be controlled by wettable sulphur application. Macrophomina phaseoli and Thielavia basicola cause stolon rot which is effectively controlled by the application of maneb or 1% Bordeaux mixture.

Harvesting and processing: Japanese mint is first harvested after about 4 months of planting when the lower leaves start turning yellow. Subsequently two more harvests can be taken generally at an interval of 80 days.  The fresh herb yield ranges from 25 to 50 tonnes/ha obtained in 3 cuttings annually

             The harvested herb and wilt in shade for a few hours. Both fresh and dry herb are employed for distillation.  Steam distillation for 1.5‑2 hours Fresh  herb  contains  0.4 to 0.6%  oil.  On  an  average, 100‑150 kg oil/ha is obtained annually.

Chemical constituents: The chemical constituents in Japanese mint oil are reported to be l‑menthone, d & l -iso‑menthone, methyl acetate, camphene, esters of formic, iso‑valeric and caproic acids, ethyl carbinol, hexanol l‑limonene, ß‑pinene, cineole, 3‑octanol, linalool, menthofuran, neo‑menthol, pulegone, piperitone and piperitone oxide

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Myristica fragrans

Family - Myristicaceae

Nutmeg plant is a spreading dioecious evergreen tree which yields two spices, the dried seed called nutmeg and the dried aril called mace..

Uses: Nutmeg is grated in small quantities for flavouring and confectionery. Mace is used with savoury dishes in pickles and ketchups. The seeds yield a solid fixed oil, nutmeg butter, which is used in ointments and perfumery.

Soil and climate: Nutmeg requires warm humid conditions with an annual rainfall of 1500 to 2500mm and temperature of 25‑330C.  It grows well from sea level to an elevation of 1300m. Extreme dry climate as well as waterlogging are injurious to the crop. For the cultivation of nutmeg, river banks and hill valleys with sandy loam and red laterite soils are ideal.  Partial shade appears to be beneficial in early growth stages.

Seeds and sowing: Nutmeg is normally propagated by seeds. The seeds soon lose their viability and should be sown immediately. Large seeds of uniform size, round shape, light brown colour with thick mace and low terpene content are selected for sowing.  Germination  takes 4‑6 weeks. The sprouted seeds are transplanted into polythene bags which can be planted in the mainfield after 6‑12 months. Seedling progeny will give about 50% of each sex, which is very difficult to distinguish  until the trees flower 4‑6 years after planting. Cut off the surplus males at this stage,  leaving  one male to 10 females.  Budding and grafting is followed to ensure female progeny. Nutmeg seedlings are planted in the mainfield in pits of 90 cm cube dug at 8 m spacing.

Manuring: Apply cattle manure at 10 kg/pit and gradually increased to  50 kg/tree for 15 years old tree. Likewise, fertilizers at 20:18:50g N, P2O5 and K2O/tree in  the first year   is increased to 500:250:1000g in the fifteenth year.

Aftercultivation: Regular weeding and irrigation are required for good growth, early bearing and  higher yield.

Plant protection:  The hard scale (Saissetia nigra) infesting the shoots can be controlled by spot spraying with quinalphos at 0.05%. Shot hole caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, leaf blight  and fruit rot by Botryodiplodia theobromae, leaf spot by Alternaria citri, sooty mould caused by Phragmocapinus betle and horse hair blight are the common diseases of nutmeg, which can be controlled by spraying 1% Bordeaux mixture repeatedly.

Harvesting and processing: Trees come to full bearing between 15 and 20 years and continue for more than 40 years or more. Fruits ripen about 6 months after flowering. Fruits are available throughout the year but the peak period of harvest is from December to May. Fruit split open  when fully ripe which are collected and dehusked.  The aril is removed, flattened out and dried slowly in sun for 10‑15 days. The nuts are dried for 4‑8 weeks till the kernel rattles within the shell. A tree produces 1500‑2000 or more fruits/year. Yields per hectare may vary from 1000‑1500 kg of nutmegs and 200‑250 kg of mace per annum. Mace to nutmeg ratio is about 7:200 on weight basis.

            Essential oil is extracted from the seed, mace, leaves and also  the bark, by steam distillation.For oil distillation, the economically viable and accepted materials are the rejections from spice trade. The oil yield ranges from 6 to 16% in nutmeg, 4 to 15% in mace, 0.14% in bark and 0.4  to 0.6% in leaves.

Chemical constituents:  The seed essential oil contains 80% pinene and camphene, 4% myristicin which is poisonous, dipentene,  p‑cymene, d‑linalool, terpineol, geraniol, safrole, eugenol and isoeugenol. Mace essential oil is similar to nutmeg oil but it is fresher than the seed oil.

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Sweet Basil  (Ocimum basilicum)

Family -  Labiatae (Lamiaceae)

            Ocimums are an important group of aromatic and medicinal plants which yield many essential oils and aroma chemicals. In view of the great diversity, the various species have been classified into two broad groups, viz, basilicum and sanctum groups. Basilicum group includes O. canum (Hoary basil) , O. basilicum (Sweet/French basil), O. americanum  and O. kilimandscharicum (Camphor basil). Sanctum group includes O. sanctum, O.  gratissimum, O.  viride, O.  suave,  O.  carnosumck and O.  micranthum. Clove scented ocimum Clocimum is a hybrid strain of Ocimum gratissimum var. clocimum obtained by crossing O. gratissimum race 1 and O. gratissimum race 2, developed at the Regional Research Laboratory, Jammu, India. 

Uses: Ocimum oil finds diverse uses in the perfumery and cosmetic industries as well as in indigenous systems of medicine.. Among the various Ocimum species Ocimum basilicum  is commercially cultivated for essential oil production.  Its oil is employed for flavouring of food stuffs, confectionery, condiments and in toiletry. In the perfumery industry, the oil is used for compounding certain popular perfumes notably jasmine blends. Ocimum sanctum    (Krishna thulsi) recognized as a sacred plant and has innumerable medicinal properties.

Soli and climate: Basil can be cultivated on a wide variety of soils, though moderately fertile well drained loamy  or sandy loam soils are considered ideal for its cultivation. The crop comes up well under tropical climate upto an altitude of 1800 m.  The growth is poor in areas which receive heavy  and continuous rainfall.  Frost is harmful to the plant.  

Seeds and sowing: The plant is propagated through seeds. Seedlings are first raised in the nursery and then transplanted in the field.  The seed rate is about 125 g/ha. 6‑10 cm tall the seedlings are transplanted in the field at 40‑60 cm spacing in rows.

Manuring: At the time of planting, apply 10‑15t farm yard manure. A medium fertilizer dose of 40:40:40 kg/ha of N, P2O5 and K2O is recommended for economic yield though good response has been received upto 120:100:100 kg/ha.

Irrigation: Irrigation is required once a week when it is raised as a summer crop.

After cultivation:  The field should be kept weed free for the first 20‑25 days. Weeding is usually carried out once or twice.

 Plant protection: Leaf spot caused by Corynespora cassicola, scab by Elsinoe arxii blight caused by Alternaria species and Colletotrichum capsici are the main disease which occur in the crop. It can be controlled by spraying 0.2% zineb or maneb. Wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum is more pronounced in rainy season.  This is controlled by drenching with mancozeb at 0.1%.

Harvesting and processing:  Basil is harvested when the plant is in full bloom (9‑12 weeks after planting) and lower leaves start turning yellowish. For high quality oil, only the flowering tops are harvested. In some areas it is possible to get four floral harvests.  The first harvest is done when the  plants  are  in  full  bloom and the subsequent ones  after every 15‑20 days.  Floral harvests yield 3‑4 tonnes of flowers and the final harvest of the whole plant yields 10‑15 tonnes of herb per hectare. Thus two grades of oil are obtained, ie, flower oil and herb oil. The flower oil has a superior note and is more expensive. Distillation  is  carried out for 1‑1.5 hours.  The young inflorescence contains 0.3‑0.5% oil and the whole herb 0.10‑0.25%. Generally, an yield of 15-20 kg  of flower oil and 10-15 kg whole plant oil is obtained per hectare.

Chemical constituents: Ocimum oil is rich in camphor, citral, geraniol, linalool, linalyl acetate, methyl chavicol, eugenol and thymol

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Cymbopogon martinii

Family -   Gramineae (Poaceae)

             Palmarosa is a tall perennial grass, the flowering tops  and foliage  of which contain a sweet‑smelling oil of rose‑like odour. In this species, the following two varieties  are recognized .Cymbopogon martinii var. motia (Palmarosa, Rosha or Russa grass ) and   C. martinii var. sofia (Gingergrass).

Uses: Palmarosa yields superior  oil  which  is  used  in  perfumery,  for flavouring  tobacco and blending soaps due to  the  lasting rose  note  it imparts to the blend. 

Soil and climate:  Although  it  grows best on soils having neutral pH, it can survive and give  economic yields  on alkaline soils of pH upto 9. Motia grass  prefers  well drained  soils. Palmarosa grass is a tropical plant and it grows in warm humid areas. It is susceptible to frost. It doesnot tolerate  stagnant water. 

 Seeds and sowing:   It is propagated best through seeds and also through  slips. Seeds are sown  on  nursery beds. Seed rate is 5 kg/ha. Mix seeds with fine sand in  the ratio of 1:10 to ensure even distribution and ease of sowing. The  beds are  watered  lightly and regularly. In about 4‑6 weeks, seedlings are ready for transplanting. Healthy and established seedlings, about 15 cm tall are carefully  removed from the nursery and transplanted in rows,  20‑60 cm  apart  with  the plants spaced at 20‑60 cm.  Spacing  can  be increased  on  fertile  soils.

Varieties: ODP-2, IW  31245,  IW  3629, IW 3244, Trishna  

Manuring: Apply farm yard manure at 10 t/ha before planting. Fertilizers at 20 kg N, 50 kg P2O5 and 40 kg K20/ha are  given at planting as a basal dose. 40  kg N/ha is applied in two splits during the growing season. The NPK application should be repeated each year at the time of appearance of fresh leaves. 

Irrigation: Irrigated at  10‑14 days interval during non-rainy periods.

After cultivation: Diuron at 1.5 kg ai/ha and oxyfluorfen at 0.5 kg ai/ha can effectively control weeds.

Plant protection: No serious  pests and diseases  have been  reported  in this crop. Leaf blight caused by Curvularia trifolii and rot by Dreschlera cymmartinii are reported. 

Harvesting and processing: Harvest at the initial seed setting stage which is10‑15  days after  flowering. The grass is cut at a height of about 10 cm from  the ground level and the whole plant is used for distillation. During the first year one to three cuttings can be obtained depending upon the  climatic  conditions. After the  first  harvest,  subsequent harvests can be taken at 70‑80 days interval and 3‑4 cuttings  can be taken a year. The plantation remains productive for 4‑6 years. The grass yield is 6‑10 tonnes/cut/ha.

Wilt the grass in shade for  24‑48 hours before distillation. All  parts of the plant contain  essential  oil,  the maximum  being present in flowers and the least in the stalks The average  oil yield is 125-150  kg/ha/annum though an yield of 250 kg/ha is not uncommon.

Chemical constituents: Motia oil contains upto 95% of geraniol. 

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Pogostemon patchouli

Family - Labiatae (Lamiaceae)

Patchouli  is an erect, branched, pubescent aromatic herb.

Uses: The essential oil of Patchouli is one of the best fixatives which is highly valued in perfumes, soaps, cosmetics and flavour industries. Tenacity of odour is one of the great virtues of patchouli oil and is one of the reasons for its versatile use.  The oil possesses antibacterial and insect repellent activity. 

Soil and climate: A well drained deep loamy soil rich in humus and nutrients, with a loose friable structure and with no impervious hard layer at the bottom is ideal.  A pH range of 5.5‑6.2 is suitable. Patchouli prefers warm humid climate with a fairly heavy and evenly distributed rainfall of 2500‑3000 mm per annum, a temperature of 24‑280C and an average atmospheric humidity of 75%. It grows successfully upto an altitude of 1000 m above  MSL. The crop grows  well under irrigation in less rainfall areas. Patchouli is  a shade  loving plant and can be grown as an intercrop in orchards, coconut or arecanut plantations.

Seeds and sowing: The plant is propagated vegetatively by stem cuttings having 4‑5 nodes and 15‑20 cm length.. Cuttings are prepared from the apical region of healthy stocks. The basal 2‑3 pairs of leaves are carefully removed and the cut ends are treated with IBA, IAA or NAA at 500, 1000 or 1500 ppm respectively for better rooting. Cuttings are planted  3-5 cm apart in nursery beds, seed pans or polythene bags. It is important to provide aeration,  partial shade and regular watering in order to get early and good rooting. Rooting occurs in 4‑5 weeks and they are ready for transplanting in 8‑10 weeks. Before transplanting, the field is prepared well and laid into beds of convenient size. Rooted cuttings are transplanted at 40‑60 cm spacing and irrigated if there is no rain.

Varieties:  Improved varieties commonly cultivated are 'Johore', 'Singapore' and 'Indonesia'

Manuring: Before transplanting  the beds are incorporated with organic manure at 12‑15    t/ha and N, P2O5 and K2O at 25:50:50 kg/ha and leveled. After 2 months, 25 kg N is applied. Subsequently, 100kg N/ha is topdressed in two split doses; the first dose just after the harvest and the other about two months later. 

After cultivation:  Constant watering, regular weeding and light cultivation after every harvest are essential for proper growth and yield of the crop

Plant protection:  The crop is highly susceptible to root‑knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita. An integrated approach consisting of crop rotation, application of neem oil cake, carbofuran and systemic nematicide proved effective.   Leaf blight caused by Cercospora sp. is controlled by spraying 0.5% solution of zineb. Yellow mosaic disease is transmitted by white fly, Bemisia tabacci (Gen.). Caterpillar and leaf webber attacks can be controlled by spraying methyl parathion (Sarwar, 1969; Sarwar and Khan, 1972)

 Harvesting and processing    The crop is harvested when the foliage becomes pale green to light brown and the stand emits a characteristic patchouli odour.  The first harvest of the leaves is taken after about 5 months of planting. Subsequent harvests can be taken after every 3‑4 months depending on the local conditions and management practices.  Harvesting is done in the cool hours of the morning to avoid loss of essential oil. Young shoots of 25‑50 cm length which contain at least 3 pairs of mature leaves are cut. In practice, a few shoots are always left unplucked to ensure better growth for next harvest.  The crop stands for 3‑4 years.

              The harvested herb is dried in shade allowing free air circulation for about 3 days. Proper drying is very important for the quality of oil. During drying, the material should  be frequently turned over for promoting uniform drying and for preventing fermentation. Completely dried material can be pressed into bales and stored in a cool dry place for sometime. The dried herbage is steam distilled for its oil. Interchange of high and low pressures (1.4 to 3.5 kg/cm2)  produces better yield as more cell walls rupture in this process.  Duration of distillation is 6‑8 hours. Prolonged distillation gives higher yield and better quality of oil. But if it is distilled for too long, the oil will have a disagreeable odour.  The oil yield varies from 2.5 to 3.5% on shade dry basis. On an average, from one hectare we get 8000 kg fresh leaves annually which on shade drying yield 1600 kg and on distillation give 25-40 kg of oil. Patchouli resinoid is also prepared occasionally by extracting the leaves with volatile solvents such as benzene.   Such extraction gives 4.5‑5.8% of resinoid which contains 70‑80% of alcohol soluble absolute.

Chemical constituents

   Caryophyllene, ‑guaiene , ‑bulnesene, patchouli alcohol  and pogostol  are some of the important constituents.

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Rosa damascena

Family - Rosaceae

Rose is a perennial erect shrub with beautiful sweet scented flowers. Out of about 120 species of roses, three species  are commercially used for the production of rose oil, namely, Rosa damascena., R. gallica and R. centifolia. R. damascena is the most important species with a delicate fragrance from which  most of the high  grade rose oil is produced. 

Uses: Rose oil is one of the oldest and most valuable perfumery raw materials The extracted absolute adds lasting notes. Bulgarian rose oil is used for flavouring certain types of tobacco. Limited quantities of otto are employed in flavouring soft drinks and alcoholic liquors. Rose water and rose jam is used for making syrups and medicinal preparations. 

Soil and climate: Roses come up in almost all climates. The plant needs plenty of sunshine and protection from strong winds for  proper  growth. Humidity above 60% and a temperature of 15‑200C is  congenial for plentiful harvest. A temperature of 0‑50C for a fortnight prior  to blooming enhances the quality and quantity of flowers. At the time  of flowering  the temperature should be 25‑300C and the relative humidity 60%. The plant grows on a wide range of soils, but light and well drained soils are considered ideal.  Acidic soils inhibit growth and reduce flower yield. Alkaline soils with pH range  of 7‑9 are quite suitable.

Seeds and sowing: Rose is propagated vegetatively by cutting and budding. Cuttings taken from  mature  plants in  January  are  planted  at a spacing of 10 x 30 cm in a nursery or in poly bags. Treatment of cut ends with 200 ppm IBA induces profuse rooting. The rooted cuttings are ready for transplanting when they are about  9‑12 months old. The rooted cuttings are planted in trenches, about 1 m deep and 0.5 m wide, spaced  1 m apart.  The  trenches  are  filled with well rotten FYM at 8‑10 tonnes/ha. About 10,000 plants are required for planting one hectare of land.

Manuring: Rose is a soil exhausting crop. In addition to the cattle manure a good crop requires 200 kg N as calcium ammonium nitrate, 50 kg P2O5 as superphosphate  and 30 kg K2O as muriate of potash per hectare in 2‑3 split doses annually. 

Irrigation: Rose plants need frequent irrigation during the period of vegetative  growth,  flowering  and  just  after  pruning.

Aftercultivation: Plants are regularly pruned, once or twice a year,  for getting higher yield of  flowers.  October‑February is the best time for pruning. Plants should be pruned upto a height of 50 cm from the ground level. It takes 75‑90 days for flowering after pruning. Weeding and hoeing should be done after pruning. Generally, 3 weedings and  hoeings are required annually. Annual weeds can be controlled by herbicides like simazine or atrazine applied at 3 kg/ha in light soils and 5 kg/ha in medium or heavy soils.

Plant protection:      Insect pests of roses are  Macrosiphum rosae (Aphididae), Eulecanium caryli (Coccidae) Agrilus chrysoderes (Buprestidae), Podophylla  fulho (Scarabaedae) and  Rhynchites hungaricus (Curculionidae). The external feeders can be controlled by the application of  mercaptothion 50 EC at 0.1%. The root feeders and borers are controlled by soil application of carbofuran 3G at 1.0 kg a.i. per hectare. Leaf spot is the main fungal disease which can be controlled by regular application of 1%  Bordeaux mixture or 0.2% mancozeb.

Harvesting and processing:  Rose plants flower during March‑April in the plains and May‑June on hills. The peak flowering period is about 45 days. Sporadic flowering may continue throughout the year. Flowers are harvested from  5 a. m. to 9 a. m.  in the early morning, when they begin to open. The average yield of flowers is 2000‑3000 kg/ha/year.

Rose oil is extracted from the flowers by distillation for 2‑3 hours or by extraction with volatile solvents. The flowers can be stored in clean cold water for a period of 3 days without any loss in  oil recovery or change in oil quality. The average oil yield is 0.03%. Water distillation is a popular method for obtaining rose water. Rose attar is obtained by water distillation of rose flowers and collecting the distillate over sandal wood oil. Otto of rose is prepared by  the water distillation of rose flowers and redistilling the distillate 2‑3 times till it gets saturated with the oil dissolved in it.  Then it is chilled and the oil drops floating on the surface of water are removed.  The yield of the oil comes to about 0.0045% 

Chemical constituents: Rose oil is a colourless liquid, but on aging develops an amber colour. The essential oil contains various alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, esters, phenols, terpenes and acids. The major components are citronellol 38%, paraffins 16%, geraniol 14%, nerol 7%, ß‑phenyl ethanol 3%, eugenol methyl ester 3%, linalool 2%, ethanol 2% and farnesol 1%. 

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Rosmarinus officinalis

Family -  Labiatae (Lamiaceae)

 It is an evergreen dense highly branched herb or undershrub growing upto 1 m in height with lavender‑like leaves, and a characteristic aroma.

Uses:  Its essential oil is used almost wholly in the perfumery industry in the production of soaps, detergents, household sprays and other such products. It is an excellent fixative material.  The oil contributes a strong, fresh odour, which blends well with various other oil odours . It is used as a culinary herb

Soil and climate:  It requires light dry soil, preferably lying over chalk. Neutral to alkaline pH is suitable. The plant rosemary comes up well in Mediterranean climate. It is susceptible to frost injury. In cooler areas it can be cultivated in summer season.

Seeds and sowing: The plant is propagated through seeds and vegetatively  by cuttings, the latter being generally adopted.  The cuttings should be 15 cm long and leaves removed from the basal half portion. The cuttings are put in nursery beds of sandy soil at a depth of about 10 cm. The rooted cuttings are transplanted in rows, 120 cm apart with a plant  to plant spacing of 30‑40 cm.

Manuring: The main field is prepared well incorporating 10‑15t/ha of organic manures. Fertilizers are applied at 100:40:40 N, P2O5 and K2O/ha, N being applied in 4‑5 split doses during each year.

After cultivation: Irrigation is needed when  the soil is depleted of water during non‑rainy period.The field of rosemary is to be kept weed free by regular weeding and hoeing. Intercultivation keeps the soil loose and clean from weeds and promotes proper plant growth and development.

Plant protection: Phytocoris rosmarini and Ortholylus ribesi are reported to infest rosemary crop.

Harvesting and processing:  The  shoots are cut for distillation when they have reached their maximum size but before they become woody.  The  hard wood imparts an undesirable turpentine odour to the  essential  oil.  Harvesting  is  usually  done during May‑June. Frequent cutting of the bushes after 2‑3 years keeps them free from becoming leggy and promotes the formation of numerous young shoots.

              Freshly harvested twigs and leaves are steam distilled to obtain the essential oil of rosemary. Steam distillation at 2‑3 times atmospheric pressure gives an oil yield of 1.0‑1.5% of freshly harvested plants and 1.5‑2.5 % of dried leaves.

Chemical constituents: The essential oil contains chemical components as  ‑pinene 7‑24%, camphene 3‑9%, 1,8‑cineole 15‑20%, p‑cymene 2‑3.7%,  linalool 14‑17% as major components. 

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Santalum album

Family - Santalaceae

The term sandalwood, in the world market, is frequently used for a variety of woods that yield oils similar in smell to that of the East Indian Sandalwood which is the true sandalwood.   The East Indian Sandalwood  is a small evergreen tree with slender drooping branches. Sandal tree is a plant parasite and its roots thrive on many types of host plants such as Cassia siamea, Pongamia pinnata, Lantana  acuminata, Cajanus cajan, etc.

Uses: Sandalwood oil  is used primarily in perfumery because of its outstanding fixative properties.  It is  used in preparing all types of perfume compositions especially Indian attars like Hina, Gulab, Kewda and Jasmine in which the natural essential oils from distillate  of floral distillation is absorbed in sandalwood oil. With neem oil, it is used as contraceptive.  It is used for healing wounds and blisters caused by the smallpox vaccination. Sandalwood is also one of the finest woods for carving. The wood is smooth  with uniform fibres. Saw dust from heartwood is mostly used in incense for scenting cloths and cupboards.

 Soil and climate: Warm tropical climate is best suited to sandalwood tree.  It grows best between altitudes of 600 m and 1350 m above MSL though it may grow  between  360 m  and  1850 m  altitude.  Annual  rainfall of 600‑1600 mm is ideal for its growth. More than 1800 mm of rain is not very conducive to its growth.  It grows well on laterite  soils on the slopes of hills exposed to the sun.

 Seeds and sowing: The plant is propagated through seeds. Barring a few tissue culture attempts, vegetative propagation has not been very successful. Seeds are obtained  from plants over 20 years old.  Fresh seeds obtained from October fruiting are depulped, dried and sown on seed beds.  Gibberellic acid is used to bring down the dormancy period  and to induce quick and uniform germination.  After germination, seeds are put in polybags of size 15 cm x 25 cm. A host plant is sown  in the polybag when the seedling reaches 15 cm in height. The optimum stage for planting is when the seedlings are 25‑50 cm high  and the basal portion becomes darker.  Pits of 30‑50 cm cube are dug and  the sandal seedlings along with the host seedlings are planted from May to October at 2.5‑4.0 m spacing.

Aftercultivation: Weeds are removed as and when necessary.  In case the sandalwood seedlings are overtopped by the host plant  the host is lopped to provide sufficient light to the seedlings. The heartwood formation is at its  peak when the trees are 30‑60 years and the trees attain a girth of 40‑60 cm.

Plant protection: Sandal spike disease transmitted by the aphid Jassus indicus (Aphididae) is reported to be caused  by mycoplasma‑like organisms  which  causes severe  reduction  in leaf size and shortens internodes. As a prophylactic measure, any contact insecticide may be sprayed to control the vector.

Harvesting and processing: As the roots are richest in oil, sandalwood tree is harvested by uprooting and not by cutting to avoid the loss of root system.

             Sandalwood oil is obtained chiefly by steam distillation of the powdered wood soaked in water for about 48 hours.  Distillation is carried out at a steam pressure of 1.4‑2.8 kg/cm2 for 48‑72 hours.  The oil content is about 10% in the roots and 1.5‑2% in the chips which constitute a mixture of heartwood and sapwood. The yield from the heartwood varies with maturity and locality.

Chemical constituents: The major  constituents  of  sandalwood  oil are reported to be  ‑santalol 60%, ß‑santalol 30%, ß-santalene, ß-curcumene, ß‑farnesene, santene, santenol, santenone, teresantalol, teresantalic acid, santalic acid, nor‑tricyclockasantalol, borneol and isovaleraldehyde 

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Thymus vulgaris

Family - Labiatae (Lamiaceae)

Commercial supplies are derived from Thymus zygis (white thyme) and T. vulgaris  (garden thyme).  The demand for garden thyme is more and hence commonly cultivated.          Thymus serpyllum and T. satureioides are wild species

Uses: The essential oil of the plant has a powerful fresh odour masking other unpleasant smells.  This plant is extensively used as a pot herb in cooking, perfumery and in liquor distillery. Thyme oil finds its major use in the perfumery industry in soap and detergent work.  Thymol has a powerful medicinal odour and finds more applications in flavours than in perfumes. Owing to the presence of thymol the oil shows germicidal properties and is effective against a variety of pathogenic bacteria. It is employed in dental preparations, oral hygiene products, vermifuges and antigastro‑intestinal products. In aromatherapy, garden thyme is regarded as one of the most important elements because of its antiseptic properties.  The essence is effective in treating whooping cough as well as parasitic infestations. The dried leaves and floral tops constitutes the thyme of commerce known as Thymi Herba in pharmacy. Dried flowers and leaves are used to preserve linen from insects and to impart characteristic smell.

Soil and climate: Light loamy fertile  and calcareous soils are suitable.  On heavy wet soils, the leaves become less aromatic. The plant grows best in a warm humid climate at an elevation of 1500‑4000 m from MSL. 

Seeds and sowing: Thyme is propagated by divisions of the old plant cuttings, layering or by seeds. Cuttings and layers are prepared during summer months. Seeds are sown on well prepared nursery beds. Seedlings are very small and remain inconspicuous for several weeks after germination.  Planting of rooted cuttings, layers or transplanting of seedlings is done during late summer at a spacing of 30‑45 cm between plants and 60 cm between rows. 

After cultivation: In autumn, a light dressing of farm yard manure is given. Fertilizers are applied at 100:40:40 kg N, P2O5 and  K2O/ha.  Top dressing of N in the spring promotes the formation of numerous leafy shoots. Irrigation is given when  warranted.  The field is to be kept weed free.

Plant protection: Not much pests and diseases are reported in this crop.

Harvesting and processing About 15 cm long shoots, in the early flowering stage, are harvested during May‑June. The lower portions of the stem, together with any yellow or brown leaves are rejected.

           The harvested herb is transported to the drier immediately. Alternatively, on a smaller scale, the herb can be tied in small bunches and hung on to dry in the sun or in a well ventilated shed or room.  The dried flowering tops are steam distilled to get the thyme oil. On an average, the oil recovery is 2%.

Chemical constituents The chemical composition of the oil is reported as p‑cymene 15‑50%, linalool 3‑13%, borneol 2‑8%, carvacrol 0‑20%, thymol 5‑60%, ß‑pinene 4.6‑4.7%,  limonene + 1,8‑cineole 35.7‑44.4%,  camphor 11.6‑16.3% etc.

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Poliyanthes tuberosa

Family - Amaryllidaceae

Tuberose  occupies a very special position because of its prettiness, elegance and  sweet pleasant fragrance.

Uses: This bulbous plant is the source of tuberose oil of commerce which is very expensive and used in high grade perfumery. It is also cultivated for cut flowers and for preparing bouquets and garlands. 

Soil and climate: Although tuberose can be grown under a wide range of climatic conditions, a mild climate with an average temperature ranging from 200C-300C is considered ideal. Loam and sandy loam soils having a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5 with good aeration and  drainage are best suited for its cultivation

Seeds and sowing: The plant is propagated by bulbs. Spindle shaped disease free bulbs having a diameter of 1.5‑3.0cm  are used for planting. Mother bulbs are the best for planting as they flower early. Finger or side bulbs take 2‑3 years to come to flowering. Best time of planting is from May to July. Land is ploughed 2‑3 times and soil is brought to  fine tilth. Well‑rotten FYM is applied and mixed well. Furrows are opened 25‑30 cm apart and bulbs are planted at 25 cm spacing in furrows. About 1.25 lakhs (800‑900 kg) of bulbs are required for planting a hectare of land.

Varieties: (i) Single petal: most widely cultivated. Flower is pure white and has got  a single row of corolla segments. Eg. 'Calcutta single', 'Mexican single', 'Rejat Rekha' and 'Suvarna Rekha'. (ii) Double petal: Petals are in several whorls.  Eg. 'Pearl' and 'Calcutta double' (iii)Semi‑double:  Similar to double but with only 2‑3 rows of corolla segments.(iv) Variegated: This has got  variegated leaves with yellow margins.

 Of the 4 types, the single type has the maximum  fragrance and is popular among the growers for the production  of essential oil.

Manuring: FYM at 20‑30 t/ha is incorporated into soil before planting.  A fertilizer dose  of 100:200:200 kg N, P2O5, K2O/ha is generally recommended. Half the dose is applied basally and the other half as topdressing when the flower spikes start appearing.

Aftercultivation: Weekly irrigation and regular  weeding are required for best yield. Thrips are reported to attack the crop.

Plant Protection : The lily caterpillar, Polytela gloriosa (Noctuidae) and the leaf web worm, Nausinoe geometralis (Pyralidae) are the two serious pests which can be controlled by the spray application of any contact insecticide of low mammalian toxicity.

Harvesting and processing: The flowering season is between June and October. Flowers will be ready for harvest in 3‑3.5 months time. They are harvested by cutting the fully opened spikes from the base during the cool  hours of the day either in the morning or evening. From single planting 2‑3 ratoons can be taken for which the flower stalks of the main crop are headed back and the plot is manured and irrigated. The average yield comes to  5‑10 tonnes/ha for planted crop, 9‑12 tonnes/ha for first ratoon and 4‑6 tonnes/ha each for subsequent ratoons.

Tuberose is one of those plants, the flowers of which continue to develop  their natural fragrance for some time after they have been harvested. The flower oil is extracted by enfleurage and solvent extraction with petroleum ether. Freshly picked flowers, before they open are  enfleuraged. About 150 kg of flowers yield 1 kg of absolute of enfleurage which contains 11‑15% of steam volatile oil. Extraction of tuberose flowers with petroleum ether yields 0.08‑0.14% of concrete. The concrete contains 3‑6% of a steam volatile oil.

Chemical constituents: The chemical constituents of tuberose flower oil include geraniol, nerol, farnesol, benzyl alcohol, methyl benzoate, benzyl benzoate, methyl salicylate, methyl anthranilate, eugenol and butyric acid.

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Vanilla fragrance
Family - Orchidaceae

  Vanilla is an orchid, belonging to the family Orchidaceae. The genus Vanilla comprises over 100 species of stout, scandant, terrestrial or epiphytic herbs. But only three are important source of vanillin.  They are Vanilla frangrance (Salisb.) Ames syn. V. planifolia Andrews, Vanilla pompona Schiede .( West Indian vanilla),  V. tahitensis J.W.Moore (Tahitian Vanilla). Vanilla fragrance is the most popular and commercially cultivated species.  It is a climber grown as wild in the forests, aerial roots are seen in nodes by means of which the plant clings and climbs.

Uses:- Its fruits, commercially known as beans, become aromatic on curing due to the development of an aromatic principle called vanillin. Vanilla is an important spice. Vanilla beans and derivatives are important in food flavouring, especially, confectionery, ice-creams, liquors and baked goods. Vanilla flavoured ice-creams, custards, milk shakes, cakes, puddings, chocolates, beverages and different confectioneries are very popular in the market. Vanilla is also used in perfumery and to a smaller extent in medicine.  Nowadays, synthetic vanillin, which is cheaper and more convenient, is often used instead of vanilla.  The aroma of genuine vanilla, however, cannot be matched because it is the result of the natural balance of vanillin and small quantities of other aromatic components contained in the pods.

Soil and climate:-Vanilla is adaptable to a wide range of soil types provided there is plenty of organic matter and proper drainage.  It prefers a pH range of 6-6.5.It prefers humid moist tropical climate having temperature range of 25-32 oC.  It grows well at an elevation of 700 – 1500 m with an annual rain fall of 2500 mm well distributed for a period of 9 months  and a dry period for 3 months.

Seeds and sowing:-Vanilla is generally propagated by stem cuttings. Vines of 60-120 cm long are selected as planting material.  The vines are coiled and buried inside the soil.  Plants raised from lengthy cuttings commence early flowering whereas the plants raised from short cuttings take three to four years for bearing.  Therefore, cutting with less than 5-6 internodes and 60 cm length may not be used for planting.  As the availability of planting materials is a limiting factor, recently tissue cultured planting materials are made available by some private companies and spices board.

            Vanilla requires support for growing.  It  flourishes well in partial shade.  Vines may be trained on trellises or trees having low branching with a rough and small leaves.  Trees like Jatropha, Plumeria alba, Casuarina equisetifolia, Erythrina, Glyricida, Bauhinia or Silver oak are now used for this purpose. The supports are planted at a spacing 2.5 to 3.0 m between rows and 2m within the row making a population of 1600 to 2000 per hectare.  If limb cuttings are used for planting, they should have roughly 4-6 cm diameter and about 1.5 to 2 m length.  The supporting saplings may be established 6 months before planting vanilla cutting.  Vanilla is generally planted at a time when there is a slight wetting weather. While planting the cuttings, 3-4 basal leaves in the cutting should be removed and this defoliated portion is laid on the loose soil and covered with a thin layer of about 2-3 cm soil.  The growing end is gently tied to the support for climbing by aerial roots.  Artificial shade with any suitable material may be provided to the cuttings.  It makes 4-8 weeks for the cutting to strike roots and to show initial signs of growth.

After cultivation:-Once established, the vines have to be given constant attention.  Any operation done in the plantation should not disturb the roots, which are mainly confined to the mulch and surface layer of the soil.  When the support is grown up they are pruned early to introduce branching so as to give more shade and protection to the growing vines.  If the trees are evergreen types they are to be pruned before the commencement of heavy rain to allow in more sunlight. If the vine is permitted to grow up on tree, it will rarely blossom, so long as it is growing upward . Hence the vines are allowed to grow up to 1.50 m and then tied horizontally on the branch of support and later coiled round them.  This induces more flower production in this portion of the vine.

Manuring:- The pruned vegetation is chopped and applied as mulch in the plantation. The decomposed mulch is the main source nutrients to vanilla.  Animal sources of manure are not generally applied.  Annually, vine may be fed with 40 to 60 g N, 20 to 30 g P2O5  and 60-100g  K2O.  The above quantity may be given in two or three splits for efficient uptake.  Part of the above fertilizers may also give through foliar spray since they respond well to it.

Plant protection:-Anthracnose (Calospora vanillae) is the most serious disease.  It attacks almost all parts.  Root rot, Fusarium betatis var. vanillae is a limiting factor in certain areas. They can be controlled by spraying/drenching with 1% Bordeaux mixture. The bug, Trioza litseae is the major pest attacking the buds and flowers of vanilla, which is controlled by any systemic insecticide.

Harvesting:-The vines commence flowering in the second or third year depending on the length of cutting used.  Due to the peculiar structure of the flower described earlier artificial pollination by hand is the rule of fruit setting. Using a pointed bamboo splinter or pin anther is pressed against stigma with the help of thumb and thus smearing the pollen over it.  Generally, 85-100% success is obtained by hand pollination. The ideal time for pollination is 6 am to 1 pm. Unfertilized flowers fall off within two or three days.  Normally 5-6 flowers per inflorescence and a total of not more than 10-12 inflorescence per vine are pollinated.  The excess flower buds are nipped off to permit the development of good pods.  Pods take six weeks to attain full size from fertilization and 4 to 10 months to reach full maturity depending upon the locations. When immature, the bean is dark green in colour, but when ripe yellowing commences from its distal end.  This is the optimum time for harvesting the bean.  If left on the vine the bean turns yellow on the remaining portion and start splitting, giving out a small quantity of oil, reddish brown in colour, called the balsam of vanilla.  Eventually they become dry, brittle and finally become scentless.

            The yield of vanilla varies depending upon the age of vines and the method of cultivation.  Normally it starts yielding from the third year and the yield goes on increasing till the seventh or eighth years.  Thereafter, it slowly declines till the vines are replanted after 14 to 15 years.  Under reasonable level of management a middle aged plantation may yield 300-400 kg cured beans per hectare .

Processing:-Artificial methods are employed to cure vanilla. The aroma principle, vanillin is developed as a result of the enzyme (Beta Glucosidase) action on the glucosides contained in beans during the process of curing.  Basically any curing method involves the following four stages.

1.      Killing the vegetative life of the beans to allow the onset of enzymatic reaction.

2.      Raising temperature to promote this action and to achieve rapid drying to prevent harmful fermentation.

3.      Slow drying for the development of different fragrant substances

4.      Conditioning the product by storing for few months.

The following are some of the curing methods

1)      Peruvian process:  Curing is done by hot water. In this process the pods are dipped in boiling water.  The ends are tied and hung in the open.  They are allowed to dry for 20 days.  Later they are coated with castor oil and afterwards tied up in bundles.

2)      Guiana process:  The pods are collected and dried in the sun till they shrivel.  Later they are wiped and rubbed with olive oil.  The ends are tied up to prevent splitting and then bundled.

3)      Mexican process:  The harvested pods are kept under shade till they shrivel.  Then they are subjected to sweating.  This operation is carried for 2 days depending on the weather conditions.  In warm weather, pods are spread over blankets and exposed to the sun.  During midday the blanket is covered over and bundles are left in the open for rest of the day.  They are wrapped in blanket in the night to maintain fermentation and sweating.  The pods would be wrapped in blankets when they are hot to touch.  This process is repeated for 7-12 days till they become dark brown in colour, soft and flexible.  They are packed in tins and sealed.  The Mexican process yields 4.15 to 4.40 % of vanillin content.              

When the weather is cloudy, the pods are bundled in bales and wrapped with woollen cloth covered with banana leaves.  They are subject to radiation of heat by maintaining the temperature of air-oven at 50oC for 24 hours.  Thereafter, they are dried to change the colour.  Then they are spread in dry place and finally packed and sent to the market.

a)      The beans are cut into small pieces and are extracted with dilute alcohol which the gives the flavouring extract or vanilla essence.

Chemical constituents:-The cured vanilla beans contain vanillin, organic acids, fixed oil, wax, gum, resins, tannins, pigments, sugar, cellulose and minerals. Vanillin content of cured seed is about 2.41%. The essential oil contains aromatic carbonyls, alcohols, acids and esters.

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Vetiveria zizanioides

Family -   Gramineae (Poaceae)

               Vetiver,  Vetivert,  Khus or Khuskhus is a  densely  tufted, wiry, glabrous perennial grass. It is having much branched fine roots contain a fragrant oil, which is a perfume by itself. Vetiver oil enjoys world wide reputation  as one of the finest aromatic oils 

Uses: Vetiver  oil is light brown to deep brown in colour  with  a characteristic  aroma and persistent odour of sweet  woody  note. It is used in perfumery as a fixative. It is also used for the  extraction of  vetiverol, vetiverone and vetiveryl acetate which are  widely used  aroma  chemicals. The aromatic roots of vetiver are cleaned, dried and  used  for making  mats, fans, screens, pillows and sachet bags. The  plant  has gained much recognition as one of the  best  soil binders  and  is being used to check soil erosion. 

Soil and climate: The plant is sufficiently hardy and grows on almost all types of soils. Light soils, however,  should be avoided as the roots obtained  pro­duces  very low percentage of oil. Red lateritic soils with abundant organic matter  are considered ideal as the roots produced are  thick  and  contain more essential  oil.  Heavy  soils  make harvesting of the roots difficult, with a loss of the finer roots which contain most of the oil.

            Khus prefers tropical and subtropical climate. It grows  luxuriantly in  places upto an altitude of 600m, with an annual rainfall of 1000‑2000mm, day temperature ranging from 21-440C and  with moderate humidity. 

Seeds and sowing: The grass is capable of both vegetative and sexual reproduction. It is generally  multiplied vegetatively through slips. Trim the fibrous roots and leaves from the slips and plant on raised beds at a spacing of 30‑60 cm

Varieties: ODV‑3, Pusa  hybrid‑7, hybrid‑8, KS‑2 and Sugantha 

Manuring: Normally, vetiver crop is not  ferti­lized  on  fertile soils. Farm yard  manure or compost is applied at 10‑15 tonnes/ha at the time of land preparation. On poor soils N, P205 and  K2O  may  be applied  each at 25‑50 kg/ha. Apply N in  2‑3 split doses.

Irrigation: In areas where rainfall is good and well distribut­ed and humidity is high, irrigation is not  necessary. In other areas 8‑10 irrigations are  required.

After cultivation: 2‑3 weedings at an interval of  about  a month are needed during the initial period of plant growth.  Earthing  up after weeding is beneficial to the crop.

Plant protection: Leaf blight  caused by  Curvularia trifolii and Fusarium wilt affect  the  growth and yield of the crop, which can be controlled by repeated spray­ing  of any copper fungicide and drenching with copper oxychloride or  1%  Bor­deaux  mixture.   

Harvesting and processing:  In general, the crop  is  har­vested after  18 months during the dry season from  December  to February  by digging out the bush along with its roots manually. The length of the roots varies from 10‑35 cm. The roots are separated from the plants, washed to remove the  adher­ing  soil and dried under shade for 1‑2 days which  improves  the olfactory  quality of the essential oil. Prolonged drying in  the sun reduces the oil yield. The root yield is 3‑5 tonnes/ha.

             The roots can be crushed and cut into pieces before distillation. As  the  most  valuable  quality constituents  are  contained in the high boiling  fractions,  the roots must be distilled for a prolonged period ranging from 24 to 48  hours. The oil recovery from fresh roots is  0.8-1.2%  depending upon the duration of  distillation.  On  an average 15‑25 kg oil  is  obtained  per hectare per crop.

Chemical constituents: The  oil contains more than 150 complex compounds  including elemol, 10‑epi‑eudesmol, ß‑eudesmol, vetiverol, cyclocopacamphenol, vetiselinenol, khusimol , ß‑vetivone, vetiverone, vetiveryl acetate etc.

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Cananga odorata var. genuina

Family -  Anonaceae


            The tree Canaga odorata occurs in two forms viz. macrophylla and genuina . On steam distillation of the flowers of the form macrophylla yields oil of cananga while the form genuina yields oil of ylang ylang.

Uses:-Oil of ylang ylang is highly appreciated in perfumery because of its delightfully sweet and strong odour.

Soil and climate:- The tree grows well in rich volcanic soils or fertile Sandy loams. It requires a moist tropical climate. It grows well in rich volcanic soils or fertile Sandy loams.

Seeds and sowing:- Propagation is largely by seeds. The seeds are sown in a seedbed in the month of March. After 3-4 months, the seedlings are planted in a polythene bag and watered frequently. 4-6 months old seedlings are planted in the main field at a spacing of 6m x 6 m.

After cultivation:- The plants are to be shaded in summer months. After 2 years the first bunches of flowers appear. By the beginning of the third year, the trees would have achieved a height of 2 - 3 m and then topped. This removal epical dominance encourages side shoot formation into lateral branches. Periodic pruning has to be under taken to prevent growth of the tree beyond 2-3 m height. Commercial production of flowers starts from the fourth year of planting. The economic life span goes up to 25 years for a well  managed plantation. No serious pest or diseases is noticed in the plant.

Harvesting and processing:-Though the tree flowers through out the year three main flowering season are seen for commercial production of the oil. The principal season is immediately after the rainy season, a moderate harvest season during the dry season and those during the rainy season. The flowers contain more essential oil during the night, particularly just before the day break, and hence harvesting is done during the early morning hours. Flowers are manually harvested and only the fully developed yellow flowers are gathered. Great care is to be taken not to crush the flowers during harvest.                 

The flowers should be immediately distilled for oil since the flowers tend to fade and ferment on keeping.  On an average 7-10 kg flowers are harvested per tree per year.

                      The first fraction of  the oil contains most of the aromatic constituents of the oil such as esters and ethers, whereas the later fractions consist chiefly of sesquiterpenes which have little odour value. In the retort water is taken and heated to about 70oC and then flowers are quickly put into the retort. Distillation is started slowly by carefully injecting live steam through the perforated steam coil. The volatile oil distils out easily and the first fraction which consists chiefly of esters and ethers are collected in the oil separator.  After a while the direct steam is shut off, distillation being continued by heating with indirect steam. The fractions are cut according to specific gravity into extra (0.955), first(0.942), second (0.922) and third fractions (0.910 -0.912). The distillations continued for a period of about 18 - 22 hours. The yield of oil ranges from 2 - 2.5%.

            The first fraction is the true oil of ylang ylang and the other fractions resembles the oil of cananga.

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 Correct citation:

Thomas, J., Joy, P. P., Mathew, S., Skaria, B. P., Duethi, P. P. and Joseph, T. S. 2000. Agronomic Practices for Aromatic and Medicinal Plants. Kerala Agricultural University (Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Research Station, Odakkali, Asamannoor P.O.) and Directorate of Arecanut & Spices Development (Min. of Agri., Govt. of India), Calicut, Kerala, India. 124p.



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