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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Essential Oil Composition Affected by Plant Growing Conditions

Research published in April 2009 delved into the relationship between the chemistry of essential oils and the growing conditions of the plants from which they were distilled. We had just made a post regarding the chemistry of Helichrysum essential oil, and how the oil distilled from plants grown on the French island of Corsica have the most healing chemical profile.

This research was done on Helichrysum italicum specifically, using 48 plants grown in different locations and harvested at different times. The researchers evaluated the levels of 28 natural chemical constituents in the essential oil, and how these varied with changes in growing conditions. The results seem to indicate that soil chemistry was the most affecting factor in determining the essential oil constituent profile.

Helichrysum grown on the island of Corsica has long been considered the most healing of all Helichrysum varieties. We HAVE seen exceptional quality oil produced in the United States using genetics of the Corsican plants -- and it is likely that the soil these plants were grown in was very similar to that found in the moist Mediterranean regions. The Corsican oil contains the the highest levels of Neryl Acetate, the anti-spasmodic component of the oil. On a more esoteric level, this is the 'water' element coming through in the oil, which supports the musculature becoming more fluid.

Partitioning the relative contributions of inorganic plant composition and soil characteristics to the quality of Helichrysum italicum subsp. italicum (Roth) G. Don fil. essential oil.

Bianchini A, Santoni F, Paolini J, Bernardini AF, Mouillot D, Costa J.CNRS UMR-6134 SPE, Université de Corse, Laboratoire Chimie des Produits Naturels, Corti.

Composition of Helichrysum italicum subsp. italicum essential oil showed chemical variability according to vegetation cycle, environment, and geographic origins. In the present work, 48 individuals of this plant at different development stages and the corresponding root soils were sampled: i) 28 volatile components were identified and measured in essential oil by using GC and GC/MS; ii) ten elements from plants and soils have been estimated using colorimetry in continuous flux, flame atomic absorption spectrometry, or emission spectrometry (FAAS/FAES); iii) texture and acidity (real and potential) of soil samples were also reported. Relationships between the essential-oil composition, the inorganic plant composition, and the soil characteristics (inorganic composition, texture, and acidity) have been established using multivariate analysis such as Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and partial Redundancy Analysis (RDA). This study demonstrates a high level of intraspecific differences in oil composition due to environmental factors and, more particularly, soil characteristics.


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