Twenty-five Origanum taxa growing in Turkey have been chemically studied by our group at TBAM.
O. onites (Syn. O. smyrnaeum L.) is the most widely traded Origanum species in Turkey. It consists of over 80 per cent of all the oregano exports of Turkey. This species is mainly wildcrafted, but also cultivated in areas exceeding 6000 ha in Denizli, Izmir and Isparta provinces in Western Turkey. During our research into the essential oils of O. onites, carvacrol (67—82 per cent) was found as main constituent in 13 samples. However, four samples from Antalya and Mugla provinces in Southern Turkey yielded oils rich in linalool (80—92 per cent). Mixed types were also encountered in three samples containing carvacrol (36—66 per cent) and linalool (15—52 per cent) as main constituents. In one sample, carvacrol (57 per cent) and thymol (12 per cent) were found as main constituents (Table 4.4) (Ogutveren etal., 1992; Baser etal., 1993; Tumen etal., 1995; Kirimer etal., 1995; Boydag etal, 2000) Composition of the oil of O. onites of Turkish origin has also been previously reported (Gurgen, 1948; Tanker, 1965; Mar-quard etal, 1966; Ceylan, 1976; Buil etal, 1977; Taysi etal, 1978; Vomel and Ceylan, 1979; Scheffer etal, 1986; Akgul and Bayrak, 1987).
Lipids of O. onites have also been studied by our group. The so-called "cyclone powder" which is a waste material of industrial origanum herb processing in origanum mills has at present no commercial value. This fine powder was worked up for the recovery of essential oil and lipids. Cyclone powder yielded by hydrodistillation 1.7 per cent essential oil which contained carvacrol (63 per cent) and thymol (13 per cent) as main constituents. The yield of total lipids varied between 4.2 and 8.4 per cent according to the solvent system used in the extraction. This extract was fractionated into neutral, glyco- and phospholipids and their components were characterized. Main fatty acid components in origanum herb and the cyclone powder were linolenic acid (45 per cent, 19 per cent), palmitic acid (23 per cent, 39 per cent), linoleic acid (14 per cent, 13 per cent), oleic acid (8 per cent, 14 per cent). Possible use of origanum lipids in shampoos and other cosmetic preparations was suggested (Azcan, 1998; Azcan etal., 2000; Azcan etal, 2000a).
Kekik water has in recent years become a commercial commodity in Turkey. It is the aromatic water obtained after removing essential oil from the distillate of oregano herbs. Although kekik water has been known and produced mainly in western and southern parts of Turkey in villages for use as a household remedy, rising demand for it especially in urban areas has forced commercial origanum oil distillers to market it in
Table 4.4 Essential oil composition of Turkish O. onites
Linalool-type 2.6-4.0 (4 samples)
Mixed-type 2.5-2.8 (3 samples)
*Exception 2.4 (1 sample)
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