Which essential oils essentially kill insects

Essential oils, resins and balms

Textbook of General Pharmacognosy pp 399-479 | Cite as

  • Ernst Steinegger
  • Rudolf Hansel


Many plants are characterized by a characteristic smell, which is usually pleasant, less often unpleasant. The appearance of the odor is closely related to a striking physical property of certain plant constituents: their easy volatility1. Even the oldest method of separating the odorous substances from the other plant substances is based on this property of their volatility; if “aromatic” plants are subjected to steam distillation, the overflow separates into water and a water-immiscible mixture of substances with an oily consistency, which is known as essential oil. The technological term essential oils is used to summarize natural products that can be characterized in the following way: Essential oils are volatile, strongly smelling mixtures of substances with an oily consistency that are sparingly soluble in water and are made from vegetable raw materials.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1963

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernst Steinegger
  • Rudolf Hansel
  1. 1.University of BernBernGermany
  2. 2. Institute for Pharmacognosy Free University of BerlinBerlinGermany