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Progress in Essential Oils

By: Brian M. Lawrence
Posted: December 14, 2009, from the January 2010 issue of P&F magazine.

Nagarmotha oil is produced by steam distillation of the dried rhizomes of Cyperus scariosus R. Br. collected in India. It was estimated (Vaze 2003) that ca. 6,200 kg of oil are produced annually. The oil possesses a warm, woody vetiver-amber-patchouli-like aroma and can be used in a similar way in fragrances as vetiver.

A survey of the literature reveals that not much is known about the composition of this oil other than the fact that Gupta and Chandra(1951) reported that it had good fixative properties. Gildemeister and Hoffmann (1956) reported that the oil contained mostly sesquiterpenes, of which only α-cyperone had been identified.

Dhingra and Dhingra (1957) reported that the color of the aromatic tubers obtained from C. scariosus ranged from reddish brown to black. Although the authors did not characterize the oil they did note that it contained ca. 60% of a sesquiterpenoid ketone, as well as an unidentified sesquiterpene hydrocarbon, alcohol and ester.

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