Gas chromatographic examination of an essential oil of Santolina chamaecyparissus L.

Santolina chamaecyparissus L. (fam. Compositae) or "Lavender cotton" as it is more commonly known (Husain), which is native to southern Europe, can also be found as a garden border plant. Over the years, S. chamaecyparissus has become naturalized in the Kodaikanal region of India where it is grown as a hedge plant because of its attractive foliage and odour. In Europe, S. chamaecyparissus is reputed to have antispasmodic and anthelmintic properties and, as a result, it has been used in rural herbal medicines. The oil for S. chamaecyparissus, which has a strong and penetrating odour, has been the subject of some investigations. For example, a number of workers (cited in Guenther 1952) have determined the physico-chemical properties of oils obtained from different geographical origins. A summary of these properties can be seen in Table 1.

Many years ago, it was reported (Anon 1911, cited in Guenther 1952) that a sample of Italian S. chamaecyparissus which was taken just prior to flowering contained 0.47% essential oil. This oil was found to have an odour reminiscent of tansy and wormwood. In addition, the yield compared favorably, with the 0.41% and 0.33% reported by Pellini adn Morani (cited in Guenther 1952) for Sicilian S. chamaecyparissus.

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