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Research Article

The Essential Oil Composition of Levisticum officinalis from Iran

Verdian Rizi Mohammad Reza and Hadjiakhoondi Abbas
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The composition of the essential oil from the aerial parts of Levisticum officinalis obtained by hydro distillation, was analyzed by GC and GC-MS. The main components of the oil were β-phellandrene (42.5%), α-terpineol (27.9%), cis-ocimene (7.5%) and dehydro-1,8-cineol (6.8%). Dehydro-1,8-cineol and α-terpineol were two compounds that have not been reported in previous studies.

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  How to cite this article:

Verdian Rizi Mohammad Reza and Hadjiakhoondi Abbas, 2007. The Essential Oil Composition of Levisticum officinalis from Iran . Asian Journal of Biochemistry, 2: 161-163.

DOI: 10.3923/ajb.2007.161.163



Levisticum officinalis (Apiacea), lovage, is a glabrous, perennial herbaceous plant, with a characteristic earthy, celery-like flavour and smell. All parts of the plant being strongly aromatic, this plant is cultivated for its seeds, leaves, roots and essential oil, which are used in the perfuming, food, beverage and tobacco industries (Bylaite et al., 2000 ). As a medicinal plant, it has been used for diaphoretic, expectorant, stomachic and stimulant activities (Venskutonis, 1995; Dauksšas et al., 1998). Lovage root has also been known for centuries as a medicine possessing spasmolytic, diuretic and carminative activities (Szebeni-Galambosi, 1992). A few studies have been published on the volatiles of lovage, some of which concern the essential oil from the plant roots (Stahl-Biskup et al., 1991; Cu et al., 1990; Hogg et al., 2001).

As a part of our ongoing research on the chemical analysis of oils obtained from wild plants of Iran, we investigated the oil of Levisticum officinalis growing in Iran.

Materials and Methods

Plant Material
The aerial parts of Levisticum officinalis were harvested at the flowering stage in the Southeast of Iran in June 2003. A voucher specimen has been deposited at the Herbarium of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences.

Isolation of Essential Oil
The air dried aerial parts of the plant (100 g) were subjected to hydro distillation using a Clevenger type apparatus for 3 h with distilled n-pentane as organic solvent. The oil was dried with anhydrous sodium sulphate and stored at 4-6°C during the time before analysis.

Gas Chromatography
GC analysis was performed on a Shimadzu ISA gas chromatograph, equipped with a split/split less injector (250°C) and a flame ionization detector (250°C). Helium was used as carrier gas (1 mL min-1) and the capillary column used was DB-1 (50 in x 0.2 mm, film thickness 0.32 μn). The column temperature was kept at 60°C for 3 min and then heated to 220°C with a 5°C/min rate and kept constant at 220°C for 5 min.

Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
GC/MS analysis was performed using a Hewlett-Packard 5973 with a HP-5MS column (30 m x 0.25 mm, film thickness 0.25 μm). The column temperature was kept at 60°C for 3 min and programmed to 220°C at a rate of 5°C min-1 and kept constant at 220°C for 5 min. The flow rate of helium as carrier gas was 1 mL min-1. MS were taken at 70 eV.

Identification of the constituents of each oil was made by comparison of their mass spectra and Retention Indices (RI) with those given in the literature and those authentic samples (Adams, 1995). Relative percentage amounts were calculated from FID peak areas using a Shimadzu C-R4A chromatopac without the use of correction factors.

Results and Discussion

The essential oil was light green with distinct sharp odour and the total yield of 1.4% (Table 1). As it is shown in Table 1, the essential oil from Levisticum officinalis was characterized by large amounts of monoterpens (98.3%). The main components in the oil were β-Phellandrene (42.5%) and α-terpineol (27.9%). Other notable constituents were cis-β-ocimene (7.5%) and dehydro-1,8-cineol (6.8%). It is noted that the content of β-Phellandrene in the essential oil of Levisticum officinalis obtained in this study was higher than other studies. It perhaps is related to the climate and growth condition or other related parameters. Dehydro-1,8-cineol and α-terpineol were detected in the oil, which were not reported in any of previously investigated Levisticum officinalis (Stahl-Biskup and Wichtmann, 1991; Cu et al., 1990; Hogg et al., 2001). By contrast, α-phellandrene, citonellal and limonene were not detected in this study.

Table 1: Essential oil composition of the aerial parts of Levisticum officinalis
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1:  Adams, R.P., 1995. Identification of Essential oil Components by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy. 1st Edn., Allured Publishing Co., Illinois, USA., ISBN: 0-931710-42-1

2:  Bylaite, E., J.P. Roozen, A. Legger, P.R. Venskutonis and M.A. Posthumus, 2000. Dynamic headspace-gas chromatography-olfactometry analysis of different anatomical parts of lovage (Levisticum officinale Koch) at eight growing stages. J. Agric. Food Chem., 48: 6183-6190.
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3:  Cu, J., F. Pu, Y. Shi, F. Perineau, M. Delmas and A. Gaset, 1990. The chemical composition of lovage headspace and essential oils produced by solvent extraction with various solvents. J. Essent. Oil Res., 2: 53-59.
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4:  Daukssas, E., P.R. Venskutonis and B. Sivik, 1998. Extraction of lovage (Levisticum officinale Koch.) roots by carbon dioxide. 1. Effect of CO parameters on the yield of the extract. J. Agric. Food Chem., 46: 4347-4351.
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5:  Hogg, C.L., K.P. Svoboda, J.B. Hampson and S. Brocklehurst, 2001. Investigation into the composition and bioactivity of essential oil from lovage (Levisticum officinale W.D.J. Koch). Int. J. Aroma, 11: 144-151.
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6:  Stahl-Biskup, E. and E.M. Wichtmann, 1991. Composition of the essential oil from roots of some Apiaceae in relation to the development of their oil duct systems. Flav. Fragr. J., 6: 249-255.
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7:  Szebeni-Galambosi, Z., B. Galambosi and Y. Holm, 1992. Growth, yield and essential oil of lovage grown in Finland. J. Essent. Oil Res., 4: 375-380.
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8:  Venskutonis, P.R., 1995. Essential oil composition of some herbs cultivated in Lithuania. Proceedings of the 13th International Congress of Flavours, Fragrances and Essential Oils, October 15-19, 1995, Istanbul, Turkey, pp: 108-123

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