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*Akhlaq Mustafa, Anas Iqbal Alvi, Zaki Ahmad Siddiqui and R. P. Meena


The literature on essential oils has a long history, during which it has developed along two distinct lines: Preparation & application of the oils and identification, structure and synthesis of their components. Even though in a geographical sense the literature is extensive, most of the analytical work has been done in Europe. More than 3000 essential oils are known with about 300 being commercially relevant as perfumes, cosmetic, food, cleaning and pharmaceutical products. A remarkable progress in the development of analytical methods has contributed to a precise and more reliable characterization of essential oils. Nomenclature presents a major problem to the research workers, partly because bacterial exactitude with regard to essential oil plants is a very recent development. The multitude of trivial chemical names also confuses the researcher. This chapter attempts to shed light on the history, chemistry, cautions, isolation as well as the location & function in the plants of essential oils by pointing out biosynthetic aspect of relevant compounds in essential oil composition, their uses and methods of extraction.

Keywords: Aromatic plants, Chemical Composition & Distillation methods, Chemistry of essential Oils, Hydrocarbons, Medicinal values, Terpenes.

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