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What Are Essential Oils

Their Production In Plants

Parts Of The Plant Yielding These Oils
The Different Extraction Methods
Scenario Of Global Fragrance & Flavour Industry
Flavours and Fragrances have been part of life since ancient times, some or
other way we all use perfumery and flavour materials, in our daily life. From
early morning to late night whatever we use for personal care and hygiene to
cosmetics and confectionaries all are added with some type of perfume or
flavours. These come naturally from many plant and animal sources. The very
simple example which all would have experienced in their life time is very
common plants like mint (Pudina), coriander and Tulsi (Ocimum) etc. leaves
of which we use for preparations in our kitchen, if one pick-up the leaves of
any one of above plant and rub or press between two fingers and smell, we will
find some smell or aroma. This smell is known as aroma (a Latin world) and
those plants which bear this aroma are known as aromatic plants. These
aroma come from certain odoriferous substances called essential oils.
Essential oils are present in plants in specialised cells/glands
(subcuticlar spaces of glandular cells, organelles.), these glands
may be at anywhere on plant body depending upon the
morphology and physiology of the plant. Some time it may be on
leaves, flowers, stems, roots, bark or wood . When these glands
rupture by pressing, rubbing or heat the smell /aroma come out.
Essential oil are composed of aromatic compounds, volatile and
hydrophobic in nature. Fragrance that we sense is the composite
effect of all the constituents present in it.
The parts of plants yielding essential oils
Flowers : Jasmine, Rose, Violet, Hyacinth etc.
Leaves : Lavender, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, peppermint etc.
Fruits : Lemon, Oranges, Bergamot, Bursera etc.
Barks : Cinnamon, Casia, Camella etc.
Stem : Citronella, Geranium, Patchouli etc.
Wood : Sandal, Cedar, Bursera
Rhizome: Ginger, Calamus
Roots : Vetiver

For extraction of essential oils various methods are used, the choice of method
depends upon quality, amount and stability of volatiles obtained, the type of plant
material ,economy and also the time required for extraction. The methods used for
extraction of volatiles from herbal resources can be classified as follows

Pressing / Cold expression: oils are extracted from the fruit by machinery which
mechanically squeezes the oil from the peel.
Enfleurage (absorption of the fragrant oil in a greasy oil and then separated by
solvent extraction): An intensive and traditional way of extracting oil from flowers.
The process involves layering fat over the flower petals. After the fat has absorbed
the essential oils, alcohol is used to separate and extract the oils from the fat. The
alcohol is then evaporated and the essential oil collected.
Solvent extraction /Alcohol extraction (absolute): Solvent extraction is
a technique for the production of concretes & absolutes of aromatic
flowers such as rose, jasmine ; production of oleoresins from
spices.Essential oils can be extracted by using organic solvents
solvents and alcohol are mixed with the plant material in order to
produce an absolute.
Steam distillation & Water distillation. Distillation converts the
essential oils into a vapor and then condenses the vapor back into a
liquid - it is the most popular, and cost effective method in use today
in producing essential oils.
Hydro diffusion by application of gentle pressure during distillation.
Carbon dioxide extraction (supercritical fluid extraction)

Essential oil in Therapeutics (In Aromatherapy):
Aromatherapy means treatment or prevention of disease by use of
essential oils. Two basic mechanisms are involved in aroma
Influence of aroma on the brain, especially the limbic system
through the olfactory system.
The direct pharmacological effects of the essential oils.

Aroma enters nose
Converts smell
Connects with cilia
Reaches olfactory bulb
Connected to Brain
Impulse Reach the limbic system to electrical Impulse
Generally essential oil are utilised in aromatherapy as Inhalants ,Bathing,
and Massage

Common medicinal properties of essential oils include: analgesic,
antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, sedative,
antispasmodic, expectorant, diuretic, and sedative.

Many aromatic herbs, essential oils and aroma chemicals are mentioned as
official drugs in the various pharmacopoeias and formularies of different
countries In most pharmaceutical preparations, the essential oils are used
directly. Formulations may contain single essential oils or mixtures of
several essential oils to enhance their efficacy.
Herbs & their Essential oils as Perfumery and
flavoring agents:
The essential oils are used in creation of fragrances for incense,
cosmetics, toiletries and laundry products
Cosmetic uses of essential oils
Essential Oils for Facial Care by skin creams, face packs, gels,
astringents, scrubs etc. Examples : German chamomile, geranium,
fennel, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, lemon, neroli, palmarosa,
rose, etc
Essential Oils for Hair Care, dandruff, hair loss in form of tonics,
shampoos, etc. Examples : Basil, birch, clary sage, cypress,
eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, rosemary, sage, thyme
cedar wood, tea tree, mints etc.
Volatiles and waxes extracted from plant material with
hydrocarbon solvents (usually benzene and hexane) through
washing and removal of the volatile solvent with distillation. A
waxy aromatic substance remaining is called a concrete. The
concrete is washed with alcohol to remove the volatile materials
and ethanol removed through vacuum distillation to leave an

The flavour and fragrance ingredients trade has its own culture and business
strategies, which can be summarised as follows:
a) Flavour and fragrance ingredients are subject to derived demand, where
demand originates from final flavoured and fragranced end product
b) Demand for flavour and fragrance ingredients is relatively inelastic in the
short term,
c) Flavour and fragrance ingredients are subject to fluctuating and cyclic
d) Purchasing and use of flavour and fragrance ingredients is based on
artistic and technical complexity, and
e) The world market is geographically concentrated.
The market size for Natural Raw Material for the
Flavor and Fragrance Market is USD650 M
Fragrance & Flavour
USD 20 Billion
Essential Oil Production
USD 650 million

Top Twenty Essential Oils Produced in the World
1. Lack of industry knowledge
2. Regulatory environment
3. Lack of novelty
4. Technical expertise
5. Planting wrong chemotype
6. Cost timeframe (first returns)
7. Politics