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Progress in Essential Oils

By: Brian M. Lawrence
Posted: December 17, 2012, from the December 2012 issue of P&F magazine.

Himalayan Cedarwood Oil Cedrus deodara (Roxb.), a member of the Pinaceae family, is a graceful evergreen tree with spreading branches that create a natural pyramidal outline. It is native to the northwestern Himalayas where it can be found at altitudes between 1,330 m and 3,300 m. The wood of the Himalayan cedar is the source of this oil, which is produced commercially by steam distillation in ca. 200 metric tonnes annually. The wood of C. deodara has been valued as a termite-resistant, easy-to-season, readily workable wood that is used in the construction trade and the production of railway sleepers. Guenther (1952) reported that distillation of the wood yields an oil in 2.5% yield that possesses a balsamic aroma.

Sood (1964) reported that steam distillation of the dust and shavings of this deodar cedarwood for 7–8 hrs generated an oil in 3.0% yield that contained 50–70% sesquiterpenes.

Dev (1966) reported that Himalayan cedarwood oil was a complex mixture of sesquiterpenoid compounds. In the hydrocarbon part of this oil he isolated and structurally elucidated new skeletal type compounds for the first time, which he named α-himachalene and β-himachalene. He further structurally elucidated a mono-olefinic, bicyclic, secondary sesquiterpenoid alcohol that he named allo-himachalol. A ketone isolated from the oil that is structurally related to allohimachalol was named allo-himachalone.

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