Rosemary Oil

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Volatile Oils

Oil of Rosemary is distilled from the flowering tops of leafy twigs of Rosmarinus officinalis, belonging to family Lamiaceae.


ROSEMARY OIL

 

 

Biological Source

Oil of Rosemary is distilled from the flowering tops of leafy twigs of Rosmarinus officinalis, belonging to family Lamiaceae.

 

Geographical Source

 

The plant is native to southern Europe and the oil is produced principally in Spain and North Africa.

 

Characteristics

 

Rosemary is an evergreen shrub with rigid, opposite, sessile, persistent, linear, and coriaceous leaves from about 3.5 cm long and 2–4 mm broad. Numerous branched trichomes make the lower leaf surface grey and woolly; typical labiate glandular hairs contain the volatile oil.

 


      Rosmarinus officinalis 


Chemical Constituents

 

The fresh material yields about 1–2% of volatile oil containing 0.8–6% of esters, and 8–20% of alcohols. The principal constituents are 1,8-cineole, borneol, camphor, bornyl acetate, and monoterpene hydrocarbons. Rosemary leaves also contain the triterpene alcohols α- and β-amyrins, rosmarinic acid, rofficerone caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, α-hydroxydihydrocaffeic acid, glycosides of luteolin and diosmetin, carnosolic acid, carnosol, rosmanol, epirosmanol, and isorosmanol.

 



Uses

 

The oil is mainly used in the perfumery industry. It is a component of soap liniment and is frequently used in aromatherapy. The oil is also used for gastrointestinal disturbances, to enhance urinary and digestive elimination function and as a choleretic or cholagogue. Topically, it is applied to clear nasal passages, for colds, as a mouthwash and for rheumatic ailments. Rosemary extracts are used in food technology as antioxidants and preservatives.

 

Cornosolic acid, a diterpene isolated from R. officinalis, shows a strong inhibition of HIV-1-protease activity. It shows cytotoxicity at the dose which is close to effective antiviral dose.

 

Adulteration

 

Adulteration of the oil with Spanish eucalyptus oil, camphor oil, and turpentine fractions is common.

 

Marketed Products

 

It is one of the ingredients of the preparations known as Anti-Dandruff Hair Oil, Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, Protein Shampoo for oily/greasy hair, and Erina Plus (Himalaya Drug Company).

 

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