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A Bimonthly Digest on Natural Products













Adulteration in Rose oilPadma S Vankar                    


Peanuts - A source of medically important resveratrol, Zondag Meredith and Anderson Alfred K


Fibre yielding plants of India- genetic resources, perspective for collection and utilization, Anjula Pandey and Rita Gupta                                                          


Green Page


Flame of the forest cloned, Melwin Pinto                     


Tissue cultured plants list, N. Barathi                              


Cultural practices of tissue cultured Safed musli,


N. Barathi                                                                     


Economics of patchouli cultivatio, N. Barathi                  




Ayurvedic Tips


Skin Care, Dr Shailendra Mani Tripathi                        





Medicinal properties of some wild plant flowers        


Wild plants for prickly heat and boils                                


Rubus ellipticus Smith - A potential source of nutritious beverage                                                                        


Preparation of soil- villagers’ method                          




Internet News


Japanese innovations-square watermelon                    


Avocado may protect against liver damage                 


Technology for removing astringency of persimmon fruit




Larvicide from waste residues of sisal fiber extraction


Reishi mushrooms                                                            


Growers use tunnels to grow sweet cherries                




Bulk use of fly-ash                                                          


Oil/Gas-fired kiln for glass beads industry                         


Medicinal plants for cultivation in Uttaranchal and neighbouring areas                                                        




Classified Digests

































In Brief 


Readers write       






Adulteration in Rose oil

Padma S Vankar


Being one of the most highly priced essential oils, rose oil1 has been subjected to adulteration since the time it was introduced on the market. Formerly adulteration was carried out in a somewhat crude way, by addition of palmrosa oil, guaiac wood oil and spermaceti- the latter to simulate a normal stearoptene content in the adulterated oil. Such conditions can be detected by careful analysis. Today, however, rose oil is often sophisticated in a very clever manner and the analyst may be faced with considerable difficulties in finding the adulterants. The adulterator now has to his disposal a number of natural isolates of lower priced essential oils. The most important of these are geraniol and rhodinol (l-citronellol). If added in moderate quantities, these compounds cannot be detected in rose oil by mere routine analysis. In such cases, the analyst will have to rely upon careful olfactory tests which require much training and experience on a thorough chemical examination of the suspected oil. This then needs to be analyzed on GC-MS for trace analysis of adulterants.




Peanuts - A source of medically important resveratrol

Zondag Meredith and Anderson Alfred K


Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea Linn.) have a long history as a healthy snack food. Products made from peanuts have been used to provide valuable protein for the body. Although it contains a high amount of fat, most of the fat in peanuts is in the form of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Peanuts can be processed into a multitude of products from peanut butter to peanut oil to peanut candy. Due to their versatility and relative stability, these products have been used in various places from the home to the ballpark, to the school lunchroom, and even the hospital kitchen. Now, in addition to being a source of good protein, peanuts can also be cited as a source of the phytochemical, resveratrol. Resveratrol concentration varies between peanut parts, processed products, and cultivars. Several studies have shown that resveratrol may help to prevent cardiovascular disease by inhibiting adhesion of monoclonal antibodies and neutrophils to vein endothelial cells, thus preventing antherosclerosis. Resveratrol also may help prevent cancer in the promotion and progression phase by inhibiting proliferation of cancer cells and vascularization to cancer cells. With this association with resveratrol, peanuts are being touted not only as a health food, but also a functional food, capable of preventing cardiovascular problems and cancer. This overview is intended to review the functional role of resveratrol in peanuts.




Fibre yielding plants of India- genetic resources,
perspective for collection and utilisation

Anjula Pandey and Rita Gupta


The paper provides a brief overview of the major fibre yielding plants and their uses in India. This account includes data mainly based on field experience, market surveys, ethnobotanical information and other relevant literature available on this account.  The enumeration of the species listed under various plant families provides ready reference for use and commercial names of important fibre types. The analysis provides the untapped wealth under this category for widening the base of fibre genetic resources, future collections and utilisation. The promising species thus indicated may provide scope for domestication and future cultivation.




Essential oils as natural cosmetic preservatives



Microbial contamination of cosmetic products is a concern to industry and regulatory agencies. Moreover, it constitutes a threat to consumer safety, as well as the marketing image of cosmetics. The quest for safety is of utmost importance, since cosmetics are used for aesthetic reasons and should carry a low health risk to the consumer. Because of this paramount question of safety, much effort is now focussing on newer approaches to cosmetic preservation, such as the use of natural products.


The use of essential oils in the production of cosmetics and related products may have several advantages, such as enhancing the dermato-cosmetic properties and preservation, as well as the marketing image of the final product. The use of botanical materials such as essential oils in cosmetic formulations at relatively high concentrations is likely to provide skin benefit. The potential of essential oils has not been sufficiently exploited in this regard. Using a challenge test, Muyima and others from South Africa demonstrated the potential application of essential oils, viz. Artemisia afra, Pteronia incana, Lavandula officinalis Chaix, and Rosmarinus officinalis Linn. to be used as natural cosmetic preservatives in an aqueous cream formulation. Except for Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains, the oils displayed remarkable antimicrobial activities against all common test organisms (including bacteria and fungi) and environmental isolates used. All the test microorganisms used in this study were generally more susceptible to the oils during the challenge test in aqueous cream compared to the antimicrobial test performed on agar. The results indicate, therefore, that the oils can be recommended as candidate natural cosmetic preservatives. Artemisia afra oil was the most efficient in reducing the load of artificial contaminations in the aqueous cream formulation within 2-7 days. Since relatively high concentrations of the oils were used, the oils could at the same time serve as natural fragrances in aqueous cream, in addition to assuring protection against microbial contamination (Muyima et al, Phytother Res, 2002, 17, 258-266).




Ayurvedic Tips

 Dr. Shailendra Mani Tripathi


Skin Care


Ayurveda, the science of life also deals with concept of beauty. Proper and nutritious diet, peace of mind and daily routine are the governing bodies of three dosas i.e. vata, pitta and kapha. According to Ayurveda vitiated vata and pitta get settled in to skin and cause darkness and black spots. We are born with a soft and silky skin but as we grow, it grows right along with us and comes in the contact of various climatic and seasonal changes along with our physiology. All that is required of us is a little maintenance to keep our skin healthy. Overexposure to the sun, poor diet, pollutants and stress are the main factors which leave their imprints on skin. If our overall well-being is not optimal, our skin is the first to show it.

For keeping our skin soft, spot less and young, attention should be paid to four basic requirements: nourishment, rehydration, detoxification and stress free attitude.




Eat plenty of sweet, juicy fruits and add multiple grains in your diet (quinoa, millet, barley, amaranth, rye and wheat) to provide a variety of minerals. Variety of cooked vegetables with spices should be taken daily. Green, leafy vegetables provide fiber and nutrients such as iron and calcium, which help to nourish the blood and skin tissue. Take light, easily digestible proteins such as milk, lassi, paneer, cheese, as well as mung dal.

 Mixture of skin-friendly spices like turmeric (3 parts), coriander (6 parts), fennel (6 parts), fenugreek (1 part) and black pepper (1 part) may be included in your daily diet after seasoning these spices in ghee and then adding them in steamed vegetables. Turmeric is the greatest friend of the skin because it is purifying and is a potent antioxidant. Cumin and fenugreek purify the blood and fat tissueand black pepper cleanse sweat (the waste product of fat tissue). All of these have a direct link to the health and appearance of the skin.

Any type of food, if not digested properly and assimilated in to body is harmful hence in addition to taking nutritious food we should do morning and evening walk or any other exercise.




For maintaining moisture and elasticity of skin internal rehydration is must. Drinking water, eating sweet, juicy fruits and including high-quality fats such as ghee or olive oil in your diet is suggested. For external rehydration daily massage with skin massage oill enhances absorption and increases glow and luster.

Take handful of rose petals and place them in a muslin cloth, tie with a string and dip the cloth into warm milk and pat the entire body to deeply moisturize your skin.




Cleaning your colon is prime requisite of detoxification. To avoid constipation take daily walks, eat more fibrous foods, and drink plenty of water.


Stress free attitude


Stress on your mind is immediately reflected on the face. Stressed people have trouble sleeping and lack of sleep causes stress, so it is important to take care of both factors at the same time. Sleep well, do meditation and easy breathing exercises. Maintain positive thinking and amicable atmosphere.

In addition to above basic observations there are many home remedies which are helpful in uplifting and maintaining complexion and keeping skin glow and spot free. Some of them are given below:


Face Packs

1.      Paste prepared from equal part of Lal Chandan (Pterocarpus santalinus Linn. f.), Kuth (Saussurea lappa C. B. Clarke), Lodh (Symplocos racemosa Roxb. bark), Coriander and Bach (Acorus calamus Linn.) are useful for teenage to check pimples and darkness on face.

2.      Mustard, Bach, Lodh and rock salt paste (equal parts) is also good for checking pimples and acne.

3.       A paste prepared from the powder of spines taken out from the bark of semul [Salmalia malabarica (DC.) Schott & Endl.] in milk is very effective for acne and pimples. Results of this paste could be seen after 3 days application. Skin becomes soft and silky.

4.      Paste of Masoor dal, Manjit (Rubia cordifolia Linn.), apical bud of Bar (Ficus benghalensis Linn.) and honey mixed in equal parts and applied as face pack are useful for blackish blue patches (jhai).

5.      Application of only jaiphal after mixing it in milk could remove blackish blue patches on face as well as blackened skin of any part of the body. Aak (Calotropis procera Ait.) latex, turmeric powder, if used in paste form can clean blackened skin persisted for a long time.


6.      The paste prepared from equal parts of yellow matured leaves of Bar, leaves of Chameli (Jasminum officinale Linn.), Lal chandan, Kuth and Lodh is also effective in bringing glow on the face.


  1.   The ancient well known recipe used by many woman to brighten the complexion as well as    lighten dark spots due to pimples is also recommended and it is very effective. To prepare this paste take 1 tbs of lemon juice, 2 tbs of gram flour (ground chick pea), milk-enough to make a thick paste. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder can also be added. The flour particles act as a fine exfoliater, lemon as a brightner, milk as a softner, and the turmeric is used for its antiseptic properties and for toning medium to dark skin. A subsitute for the gram flour can be regular wheat flour, but the end results may vary.

  2.  Ripe Banana peel rubbed on face and hands is good for removing darkness and general         cleaning.


This is to be noted that a thick paste is to be applied on the face and let it remain for 10- 15 minutes or until semi-dry. Slightly massage and rinse off with lukewarm water and finish off with a cold splash.

In addition to these home made face packs, some Ayurvedic formulations and oils are also available in market which can be taken for skin problems under practitioners’ supervision.