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Common Name: Davanam Botanical Name: Artemisia Pallens Family : Asteraceae Origin : India Plant Part : Tender stems with flower panicles
Davana is an annual, erect growing, branched, aromatic herb, reaching a height of 45-60 cm height. Leaves possess a characteristic bluish – green colour. Inflorescence is sessile or peduncled, axillary with very inconspicuous flowers.
Davanam comes up well in rich loamy soil. It can be grown on sandy soils, red and alluvial soils, but fertile alluvial soils are the best.
Davana is propagated through seed. The seeds are very minute (1 gram contains 6000 seeds). Seeds from current crop are selected for sowing. One year-old seeds are more preferable. But seeds older than one year do not germinate as they have lost their viability.
Raising a nursery
Raised beds of 2 meters long and 1 meter width are prepared. Farm yard manure @ 10 kg per hectare is used in 500 sq mts area of beds. This high seed rate is to allow losses due to poor germination, diseases like damping off. Ant menace and also for the selection of healthy seedlings for transplanting in the mainfield.
Seeds being very minute, are mixed with fine sand at 1:11 ratio and kept moistened in a moist cloth for 48-72 hours. After 2-3 days, the pre-germinated seeds are sown on the beds. The beds are dusted with BHC powder against ants and termites and flooded with water and then the seeds are sown evenly on the wet beds.
The beds are lightly covered by sprinkling fine sand to avoid washing off of seeds while watering. Beds covered by dry grass during the day time and shade removed during evenings. Seeds germinate within 3-4 days.
Time of sowing
For oil, the seeds are sown in the first week of September to October and transplanted during November to December. By February to March the main crop is harvested for oil and the ratoon crop extends upto April to May.
Spacing and Manuring
Spacing : 15 X 7.5 cm. Manuring :
FYM : 50-60 tonnes is incorported into the soil along with 40 kg P2 O5 and 40 kg Potash. Per hectare Nitrogen: 190 kg per hectare in 3 equal split doses
Raw materials / processing
Essential oils occur in many different parts of plants, e.g. roots (vetiver), bark (cinnamon), heartwood (sandalwood), leaves (bay), herb (peppermint), seeds (nutmeg), flowers ( jasmine).
The essential oil of a plant consists of many compounds which generally boil between 150° 300° C. If attempts are made to remove these compounds by dry distillation many will decompose and the oil will be ruined. However, the compounds are steam volatile and can be distilled out of the vegetal materials at around 100° C.
When plant materials are steam distilled chemical changes inevitably occur and the oil obtained will not have an identical aroma to that of the original plant material.
Preparation of material for distillation varies with the material to be distilled. Some material must be distilled immediately after harvesting, whereas others can be (and are best) stored for a day or two before distilling and finally there are materials which can be stored indefinitely before distillation. .
In general, flowers should be distilled immediately, whereas herbaceous material often benefits from wilting for one or two days before distillation. Woody materials may need to be ground and/or soaked before distillation.
The preparation of the raw material, the packing of the still and the rate/type of distillation can be determined for a particular essential oil crop from the experimental trials
Types of distillation
There are three basic types of essential oil distillation: water or "hydrodistillation" •water and steam or "wet steam" steam or "dry steam"
"- in this method the charge (which is usually comminuted) is immersed totally in water which is boiled. The stills are of the simplest type (see Figure 1: Simple still hydrpdistillation) and are used extensively by smallholder producers of essential oils. Often they are heated over an open fire. The disadvantages are that the heat is difficult to control and hence the rate of distillation is variable. Also the possibility exists for local overheating and "burning" of the charge which can lead to a poorer quality oil. Improved distillation control can be obtained by using steam from a separate boiler, which is passed into a jacket around the still or through a closed coil in the bottom of the still, to heat the contents of the still. A further disadvantage of this system is that it requires the heating of a large quantity of water adding to costs and time needed for each distillation. However, it is necessary for certain flower distillations e.g. rose
this is an improved method, the still contains a grid which keeps the plant material above the water level (Fig. 2. Water/Steam still) The water is boiled below the charge and "wet" steam passes through the plant material. Consequently, if an open fire is used the plant material is protected from direct heat. In Fig. 2 the still is heated by a steam jacket. It is important in both water/steam and steam distillation that the still is packed evenly and not too tightly so that steam can extract from the complete charge efficiently. Over packing of the still can cause the steam to force "rat holes"
3.Steam Distillation -
the most advanced type of distillation is by direct steam provided from a separate boiler. The still contains a grid plate under which an open steam pipe is fitted (see Fig. 3. Steam distillation unit). The advantages of this type of "dry" steam distillation are that it is relatively rapid, therefore charging and emptying the still is much faster and energy consumption is lower. The rapid distillation is also less likely to damage those oils which contain reactive compounds, e.g. esters As a general rule all stills should be insulated ("lagged") to reduce heat losses. Their design and losses . Their design and construction should also facilitate loading and
Storage and packaging
Most essential oils can be stored for long periods under suitable conditions: they should be dry, not in contact with the air or direct sunlight and kept cool. It is important that essential oils do not come into contact with materials with which they might react, e.g. rubber or plastic bungs.
STORAGE & PACKING
Glass containers are often used for smaller amounts of oil but larger quantities are invariably stored in metal drums. Mild steel drums lined with epoxy resin are very popular for essential oils. If secondhand drums are to be used, it is important that they are thoroughly cleaned and dried before being filled with essential oil. Plastic containers, e.g. polythene, should not be used because the oil may be absorbed by the plastic and contamination may occur.
To ensure that the oil is not wet it should be left to stand for some time before being filtered into its container. Oils generally show no cloudiness when thoroughly dry. Freshly distilled oils often possess some "still odours" which are unpleasant. These generally disappear after several weeks storage. Some oils gradually improve in storage and acquire a fuller more rounded aroma,
Distillation of essential oils
Essential oils are aromatic materials of vegetable origin, which are used in perfumery and flavourings. They represent the "essential aroma" of the plant from which they are obtained. The majority of essential oils are produced by the process of steam
The leaves and flowers of the plant yield oil called davana oil, which is used in the manufacture of perfumes, cosmetics, food industries, flavouring tobacco and some beverages. The crop is grown for two purposes, for making garlands and for extracting oil. The crop can be pulled from the field during its second or third month after planting for making garlands.
About 5-6 tonnes of fresh herbage can be harvested per acre, which under shade drying, reduces to 2-3 tonnes of wilted material. On distillation, it yields 4-5 kg of oil. Oil content in davana is maximum in the flower head and is much less in the leaf and stem. Farmers are paid Rs.3,0003,500 per tonne of fresh davana herb.
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