Essential oils are steam volatile oils distilled from plant materials and represent the typical
flavour and aroma of a particular plant. They are found in flowers, leaves, roots, seeds and barks
and find use principally in perfumery and flavourings. The essential oil content of plant material
is low, typically 1 to 3% of the plant weight. They are thus low-volume, very high value
products. This makes them attractive crops for remote smallholders where high transport costs
prevent the transport of lower value cash crops.
Essential oils contain a complex mix of components and it is this mix that gives the “note” that
experts recognise. Table 1 shows the important constituents of some common essential oils.
Used to make
Table 1 - Essential oils
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