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Progress in Essential Oils

Contact Author Brian M. Lawrence
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Sage oil is obtained by steam distillation of Salvia officinalis L. Sage, or common sage, is a hardy, perennial, woody sub-shrub native to the Mediterranean countries, the Balkan Peninsula and the Adriatic Islands. Sage leaves have a long history of use as a medicinal and a culinary herb. Because it has a strong, fragrant aromatic aroma, oils and extracts of sage (sometimes called Dalmatian sage) are used in the manufacture of perfumes and cosmetics. Sage oil is produced in commercial quantities in Albania, Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro and Romania. Since 2001, numerous studies on the composition of oils produced from S. officinalis have been reported; however, as many of the studies are somewhat repetitive, the format of this review will be changed so that the published data can be more concisely examined. Only the more unusual or more scientifically significant studies will be reviewed in the usual fashion. Wild sage (S. officinalis L.) plants were collected in the sunny hillsides in the Doli-Ston district of Dubrovnik (Croatia) between June and December by Pitarevic et al. (1984). According to the authors, sage leaves are normally harvested from June to December, weather conditions permitting. Oils produced from the different harvests were analyzed for oil yield and major constituent variations. Their results are summarized in T-1. Santos-Gomes and Fernandes- Ferreira (2001) collected S. officinalis plants from an experimental garden in Arouca (northern Portugal). The leaves, stems and flowers were separated from the plants and oils separately produced using water distillation. Each oil was analyzed using both GC-FID and GC/MS; the results of this study can be seen in T-2. In addition, trace amounts (<0.05%) of butyl acetate, trans-carvyl acetate, cis-carvyl acetate, neryl acetate and aromadendrene were also found in one or all of the plant part oils. Sage plants collected during their flowering stage in the vicinity of the village of Gradiste (Sicevo Gorge, southeastern Serbia) were separated into plant parts and oils produced from them were analyzed by Velickovic et al. (2002). These comparative analyses are presented in T-3. A trace amount of a-phellandrene was also found in all three plant part oils. Avato et al. (2005) examined the chemical composition of oils produced from in vitro shoots and micropropagated plants and compared them with oils produced from field-grown mother plants and derived rooted cuttings.

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