Optimum Distillation Time for the Active Components of Chamomile Oil

Essential oil of the German chamomile also referred to as matricaria chamomilla were extracted and analyzed using GC-MS for composition of active components, with the aim of finding the optimum distillation time for the highest essential oil yield as well as the highest yield of the active components.   g

The object to maximize the yield of the oil was achieved by determination of the optimum distillation time done through Clevenger distillation of dry and ground fresh flowers of chamomile plant at same temperature but at varying distillation time. The extractions were done for a duration of one hour, followed by separate extractions at durations of 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 hours respectively. The optimum time was the shortest time that gave the highest yield, which was determined to be 6hrs giving the highest essential oil yield of 0.69%w/w from 0.12%w/w at 1 hour distillation time.

To determine the variation of the concentration of active components with distillation time, the extracts at each distillation hour were also analyzed using GC-MS. The main constituents of German chamomile essential oil were identified by the GC-MS to be limonen-6-ol, and α-Bisabolol oxide A, α-Bisabolol oxide B and (z)-nyne dicyclo ether. All the samples were found to have high α-Bisabolol oxide A content with the five hour distillation time blue oil yield, having the highest content (71.60%).

The quality of oil extracted by Clevenger distillation appeared to be affected at different distillation times. Some components of the essential oil increased in percentage with increase in distillation time while others decreased. This was clearly show by α-Bisaboloxide B being highly concentrated within the three hours distillation but with increase in distillation time the concentration decreased. α-Bisaboloxide A, Enyne dicycloether and limonene-6-ol had highest concentration with five hours distillation time, followed a decrease at six hours distillation time, hence five hours distillation time was determined as the optimum distillation time for the active components of chamomile oil as well as the oil yield since even though six hours distillation gave highest essential oil yield the active components yield was compromised. This clearly leaves five hour distillation as the most ideal distillation time to maximize the essential oil yield as the active components yield is maximized.

Key Words: Sampling, extraction, distillation, characterization and analysis.

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