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Progress in Essential Oils

By: Brian M. Lawrence
Posted: October 20, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of P&F magazine.

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16 pages available as a PDF download or printed copies mailed to you

It is grown throughout the tropical regions of the world as a soil conservation plant as well as for the production of root oil (Grimshaw 1990). Commercial vetiver root oil distillation can be found in Brazil, China, Haiti, India, Indonesia and Dominican Republic. Limited quantities are also produced in Vietnam, El Salvador, Madagascar, Reunion and Nepal (Peyron 1995). Vetiver can be found growing in its natural environment in the swampy areas of Northern India, Bangladesh and Burma (also known as Myanmar) (Oyen and Dung 1999). However, world production of the oil in 1984 (Lawrence 1985), 1988 (Peyron 1989) and more current estimate can be seen in T-1.

A survey of the literature revealed that Yoshikoshi (1970) reviewed the pre-1970 chemistry of vetiver sesquiterpenoids.

Anderson (1970a) analyzed samples of vetiver oil of Haitian, Reunion and North Indian origin and showed that the oil produced from roots grown in Northern India represented a chemically different race to that grown commercially in Haiti or Reunion. Anderson (1970b) showed that North Indian vetiver oil contained levojunenol [eudesm-4(15)- 6-ol] and α-amorphene (old name zizanene).

Trivedi et al. (1971) analyzed an oil of North Indian origin and found that it contained γ-cadinene, α-muurolol (old name δ-cadinol) and khusimol. The authors reported that γ-cadinene co-occurred with γ2-cadinene, another constituent of the same oil.

Maurer et al. (1972) characterized the presence of (1S,10R)-1,10- dimethylbicyclo[4.4.0]dec-6-en-3-one and (6S,10S)-6,10-dimethylbicyclo [4.4.0]dec-1-en-3-one in a vetiver oil of Reunion origin.

Examination of the alcohol fraction of North Indian vetiver oil led Kalsi et al. (1972) to the characterization of epi-khusinol.

Kaiser and Naegeli (1972) identified 10-epi-γ-eudesmol, β-bisabolol, acora-4,9-diene, acora-4,7-diene, α-cedrene, α-cedrenol, α-cedrenal, α-funebrene, α-funebrenol, α-funebrenal and α-funebrenic acid.

*This article includes seven tables and 17 figures of some vetiver oil constituents base structures.

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