DAVANAM ( Artemisia pallens

)
S ESWARA REDDY
INTRODUCTION

Davana Oil is one of the important essential oils. Essential oils obtained from higher plants are important raw materials used for the manufacture of perfumes, flavours and cosmetics. Even with considerable development in production of synthetic perfumery and flavouring chemicals, essential oils continue to be the important raw materials for these industries through out the world. The general realisation of health hazards associated with the synthetic material has led to increased use of natural raw materials, especially for high grade perfumes and flavours. Such natural raw material should be more important for future industrial development in the third world, as production of these materials does not depend upon the traditional sources of energy, like petroleum or coal, but the oils are obtained from renewable energy sources.

In view of its wide variety of climate and soil, India is one of the few countries in the world, where all the major essential oils used in perfumery, cosmetics or flavour industries can be produced in one or the other regions of the country. There are around 2000 species of medicinal and aromatic plans that have been reported in India. The botanical name of Davana is Artemisia pallens. It is known as Davanam in Telugu and Kannada. During the last decade, the essential oils from leaves and flavours of Artemisia have received much commercial attention due to their use in the perfumery and in medicine. PROPERTIES Oil of Davana is a brownish, viscous liquid of peculiar, very aromatic, some what balsamic

and persistant odour. Freshly distilled oil has sharp and herbal top notes. This disappears on keeping, leaving a mellow pleasant note. Specific gravity 15.5 deg.C0.9605 Refractive index - 1.488 Devaone, a sesquitepene ketone, is the main component of the oil of Davana. Linalool, dehydro-alinalool, terpinen-4 oil, nordavanone and davanafurans have been isolated in a fraction of Davana oil. These compounds are reported to contribute to the characteristic odour of Davana oil. SPECIFICATION Indian Standard Institutions has not prescribed any specification for Davana oil. However, the range of some values obtained by the analysis of a recent sample of Davana oil in CIMAP Laboratory are given below. Range in physicochemical characteristics of Davana oil produced in South India.

Colour : Clear, brownish yellow liquid Odour : Very rich lingering fruity odour Refractive index : 1.4794 to 1.4917 at 25 deg. C Specific gravity : 0.9394 to 0.9560 at 25 deg.C Acid Value : Less than 3.5 Ester value : 31.5 to 46.5 Solubility : Clearly soluble in less than 1.5 volumes of 80% ethyl alcohol Total ketone content: 36 to 56% expressed as davanone Free davanone as per GC: 25 to 52.5%. APPLICATIONS Oil of Davana is used in expensive perfume compositions: It is also being used for flavouring cakes, pastries, tobacco and some of the costly beverages. The level of use of Davana oil is on the lower side

due to the prevailing high price for Davan oil. Artemisia-pallens is an annual, aromatic, south Indian plant, specially found around Mysore city. It is also cultivated in the neighborhood of Pune. It generally grows in the neighbor hood of sandalwood trees. This herb is prized for its fruity fragrance and forms an important component in garland, bouquets and floral decorations. The springs of Davana provide an element of freshness and a rich sumptuousness odour. The herb is very valuable for its essential, Davana oil. PROCESS OF CULTIVATION Davana is mostly cultivated in the red soil regions in South India. It comes up very well in rich loamy soils. Considerable care is necessary in the cultivation and harvesting the crop. Davana is an annual herb, family compositor, requiring about four months to reach maturity, at which it attains a height of about

1 1/2 feet. According to the research findings, two distinct varieties of the plant occur. This fact is of considerable importance in the production of Davana oil. Season is not an important criteria when Davana is grown for use in garlands and bouquets. In this case, the crop is pulled out when it is about two months old. On the other hand, season is very important when the crop is grown for production of oil. The crop is allowed to grow until it flowers, which take about 4 months from sowing. It is grown as a short term crop from November to February/March and as a ratoon crop extending up to April/May. A few light showers in the season, bright sunshine, a crisp winter with no first and heavy morning dew, all contribute to a good crop. The crop does not withstand heavy rains. Particularly, when the crop is blooming and is getting ready for harvest, cloudy weather or rain could substantially affect the oil yield. Total yield of fresh herbage from the main crop and the ratoon crop

is about 14 tonnes per hectare, which on shade drying and distillation yields about 10 kg. of Davana oil. Appropriate maturity of the crop and proper shade drying of the herbage are important factors affecting the quality and yield of the oil. In large scale distillation, an average yield of 32% from a material dried for about 2 days may be considered satisfactory. Oil content in davana is maximum in the flower head and is much less in the leaf and stem. At the time of harvesting, flower heads contribute nearly 45% of the total weight of the plant material, while it is only about 30% in the ratoon crop. DEMAND SUPPLY The present country's production of Davana oil is estimated to be around 750 to 900 kg \ per annum. A few number of units produce Davana oil in the country to meet the requirements.In India, Davana oil has not attained popularity because of its high price. Nevertheless USA, Europe,

Japan are showing increasing interest for use in perfumes, cakes, pastries, tobacco and also a few of the costly beverages. Considering the fact the Davana crop could be cultivated only in tropical countries in specific seasonal conditions, it could be an attractive export oriented project. PRICE LEVEL The prevailing price level for the product in the market is in the region of Rs10,000 - Rs.20,000 per kg. A plant production of Davana oil of 22.5 kgs require 2.25 hectares of land, in which the production of Davana crop would be around 31.5 tonnes.

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