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.