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Progress in Essential Oils

By: Brian M. Lawrence
Posted: June 20, 2007, from the July 2007 issue of P&F magazine.

Bay Oil

The bay oil of commerce is obtained from the leaves of Pimenta racemosa (Miller) J. Moore var. racemosa. However, there are other varieties of P. racemosa that possess oils that are dissimilar to the bay oil of commerce. For the sake of thoroughness, these varieties are included in this review.

Tucker et al. (1991) examined the leaf oils of P. racemosa var. grisea (Kiaerskov) Fosb., P. racemosa var. hispaniolensis (Urban) Landrum and P. racemosa var. ozua (Urban et E. Ekman) Landrum, and compared them with a commercial bay oil produced from P. racemosa var. racemosa.

The composition of P. racemosa var. grisea was found to exist in three chemotypic forms: a geraniol-type, an (E)-methyl isoeugenol-type and a methyl eugenoltype, as shown in T-1. A trace amount (< 0.01%) of an isomer of (E)-2-hexenal, 1-octen-3-yl acetate and elemicin was also found in the methyl eugenol chemotype.

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