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PhytoChemia Acta

Plant profiles

2018 summer distillations

8 January 2019

Sylvain Mercier, M. Sc., chimiste

At PhytoChemia, we always like to seek around us to find interesting plants to distill. This summer, we performed several distillations of different plants. You will find in this blog post a summary of our 2018 summer distillations along with the general composition of essential oils that we obtained, their yields and some other interesting informations. Enjoy our results and feel free to share them with your friends! 

 

TANSY (Tanacetum vulgare)

Distilled by: Benoit Roger
Plant part: Leaves, stems and flowers
Apparatus: Explorer still from AlChemia Solutions
Yield: Approx. 0.1%
Physical aspect: Faintly yellow liquid
General composition:

Borneol : 19.2%
β-Thujone : 14.4%
Camphor : 12.7%
Germacrene D : 10.4%
trans-Dihydrocarvone : 8.6%
1,8-Cineole : 5.5%
Bornyl acetate : 3.2%
cis-Dihydrocarvone : 2.6%
Chrysanthenone : 1.7%
Terpinen-4-ol : 1.4%
[…]
α-Thujone : 0,2%

 

PINEAPPLE SAGE (Salvia elegans)

Distilled by: Sylvain Mercier
Plant part: Leaves
Apparatus: Clevenger
Yield: Traces
Physical aspect: Undetermined
General composition:

β-Caryophyllene : 18.0%
Caryophyllene oxide : 8.7%
Spathulenol : 8.6%
Linalool : 4.0 %
α-Humulene : 3.2%
Viridiflorene : 3.2%
Bicyclogermacrene : 2.4%
(E)-β-Ocimene : 2.3%
Pimara-7,15-dien-3-one : 1.4%
Humulene epoxide II : 1.2%
(3Z)-Caryophylla-3,8(13)-dien-5β-ol : 1.2%
Germacrene D : 1.0%
Caryophylladienol II : 1.0%

 

LEMON THYME (Thymus citriodorus x aureus)

Distilled by: Sylvain Mercier
Plant part: Aerial parts
Apparatus: Clevenger
Yield: 0.5%
Physical aspect: Light yellow liquid
General composition:

Geraniol : 65.6%
Geranial : 10.0%
Neral : 7.8%
Nerol : 1.9%
Octan-3-one : 1.7%
Geranyl acetate : 1.2%
β-Bisabolene : 1.1%
β-Caryophyllene : 1.0%
Linalool : 0.8%
Thymol : 0.7%
Geranyl butyrate : 0.5%

 

WINTERGREEN (Gaultheria procumbens)

Distilled by: Benoit Roger
Plant part: Leaves
Apparatus: Explorer still from AlChemia Solutions
Yield: 0.75%
Physical aspect: Clear liquid
General composition:

Methyl salicylate : 98.8%
Ethyl salicylate : 0.5%
Tuberolactone : 0.2%
Massoia lactone : 0.08%
2-Heptanol : 0.03%
α-Pinene : 0.02%
Limonene : 0.02%
Bornyl acetate : 0.02%
(E)-Cinnamyl alcohol : 0.02%

Note: Massoia lactone and tuberolactone are not very common in essential oil and generally have a “coconut-like” scent. If you want to have more detail about this distillation, just click here.

Also, you are intereted to know more about the most common wintergreen adulteration? Find more details here.

 

GOLDENROD (Solidago canadensis)

Distilled by: Alexis St-Gelais
Plant part: Flowers
Apparatus: Explorer still from AlChemia Solutions
Yield: Approx. 0.3%
Physical aspect: Light yellow liquid
General composition:

α-Pinene : 21.7%
Myrcene : 20.6%
Limonene : 10.2%
Germacrene D : 9.7%
α-Gurjunene : 6.3%
β-Pinene : 4.5%
Bornyl acetate : 3.8%
α-Humulene : 2.3%
β-Elemene : 2.1%
γ-Gurjunene : 1.6%
Germacrene A : 1.6%
Cyclocolorenone : 1.6%
[…]
Solidagenone : 0.2%

Solidagenone is not typically found in commercial samples of this oil. We suppose at this point that a quite long distillation time in our case has left time for this heavy constituent to reach the oil.

 

BLACK SPRUCE (Picea mariana)

Distilled by: Benoit Roger
Plant part: Needles
Apparatus: Explorer still from AlChemia Solutions
Yield: Approx. 0.5%
Physical aspect:  Clear liquid
General composition:

Bornyl acetate + Isobornyl acetate: 41.8%
Camphene : 13.5%
α-Pinene : 7.7%
Myrcene : 3.8%
Limonene : 3.4%
β-Pinene : 3.2%
Δ3-Carene : 2.9%
δ-Cadinene : 1.5%
Camphene hydrate : 1.2%
Santene : 1.2%
α-Cadinol : 1.1%

 

BALSAM FIR (Abies balsamea)

Distilled by: Benoit Roger
Plant part: Needles
Apparatus: Explorer still from AlChemia Solutions
Yield: Approx. 0,8%
Physical aspect: Clear liquid
General composition:

β-Pinene : 39.6%
Bornyl acetate : 18.5%
Camphene : 7.7%
β-Phellandrene + 1,8-Cineole : 7.6%
Δ3-Carene : 7.4%
α-Pinene : 7.0%
Limonene : 4.4%
Myrcene : 1.3%
Tricyclene : 0.9%
Santene : 0.8%
Terpinolene : 0.8%
α-Terpineol : 0.5%

Note: The detailled composition of balsam fir essential oil has already been the subject of a blog post that you can read by clicking here.

 

WHITE SPRUCE (Picea glauca)

Distilled by: Benoit Roger
Plant part: Needles
Apparatus: Explorer still from AlChemia Solutions
Yield: Approx. 0.25%
Physical aspect: Clear liquid
General composition:

Bornyl acetate : 29.2%
Camphor : 28.0%
β-Pinene : 5.4%
Limonene : 4.2%
Borneol : 3.3%
β-Phellandrene + 1,8-Cineole : 3.0%
Myrcene : 2.6%
α-Pinene : 2.6 %
Camphene : 2.5%
α-Terpineol : 2.1%
Camphene hydrate : 1.6%
Citronellol : 1.3%
Piperitone : 1.3%

 

LABRADOR TEA (Rhododendron groenlandicum)

Distilled by: Benoit Roger during one of his workshop
Plant part: Leaves
Apparatus: Explorer still from AlChemia Solutions
Yield: Approx 1.3%
Physical aspect: Faintly yellow liquid
General composition:

Sabinene : 29.8%
α-Pinene : 11.3%
Limonene : 8.3%
β-Selinene : 6.2%
β-Pinene : 5.9%
γ-Terpinene : 4.1%
α-Selinene : 2.9%
Terpinen-4-ol : 2.8%
Bornyl acetate : 1.8%
Myrcene : 1.6%
Myrtenal : 1.5%
trans-Pinocarveol : 1.4%
Camphene : 1.1%
Eudesm-5-en-11-ol : 1.1%

Note: Before you start distilling Labrador tea, be aware that there are other species that look very similar but contain toxic compounds. You will find more informations on this subject in this blog post (in French only).

 

INCENSE (Boswellia carterii)

Distilled by: Benoit Roger 
Plant part: Resin
Apparatus: Explorer still from AlChemia Solutions
Yield: 5%
Physical aspect: Faintly yellow liquid
General composition:

α-Pinene : 44.8%
Limonene : 14.1%
Myrcene : 6.1%
β-Caryophyllene : 4.3%
Sabinene : 3.9%
para-Cymene : 3.2%
α-Thujene : 2.3%
β-Pinene : 1.5%
α-Copaene : 1.5%
α-Phellandrene : 1.1%
[…]
Incensole + Serratol: 0.25%
Toluene: 0.08%

Note: Your report of incense essential oil (Boswellia sp.) mentions the presence of toluene while concluding that the oil is 100% pure and natural? Find out why in this blog post that discusses toluene in essential oils.

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