“Existence is a priceless gift and the beauties of nature are the priceless gifts of the existence!”Mehmet Murat ildan
Did you know? Kodaikanal is one of the most prominent producers of Eucalyptus Oil in India. Kodaikanal is famous for reasons other than its rare natural beauty as well. The town acquires a significant place in the industry of chocolate, natural products and Eucalyptus oil. The Kodaikanal Eucalyptus forest covers almost 22,000 ha. A trip to Kodaikanal is incomplete if you don’t go home with Kodai’s beloved homemade chocolates and eucalyptus oil.
States that facilitate the production of eucalyptus in India are Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana, and Karnataka. These states produce the majority of the nation’s eucalyptus, meeting the needs of the timber, pulp, and paper sectors. This blog expands on the local production of Eucalyptus oil in Kodaikanal as it’s a core small-scale industry here.
A plant that produces essential oils that are commonly utilised in the medical field is Eucalyptus globulus (one of the species of Eucalyptus). Leaves are often the beneficial component of eucalyptus. The bioactive chemicals derived from essential oils have antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. The extraction technique significantly determines the effect on the yield and bioactive compounds when it comes to the production process of essential oil.
Numerous industries, including those related to health, flavouring, perfume, cosmetics, and medicines, utilize essential oils. In the food industry, essential oils serve as a natural preservative as well as an additional ingredient for aroma and flavour.
Eucalyptus oil is also locally known as Nilgiri Tel. The liquid is clear and possesses a strong woody smell. Aromatherapy has gradually increased its use of eucalyptus oil over time.
Fun Fact: This tall, evergreen tree is referred to as a “gum tree” because its bark exudes gum that resembles honey. Trees like eucalyptus are important for reducing particle pollution. The dust is kept away from us because the particles collect on the leaves instead.
Eucalyptus oil has a multitude of uses; it can be diffused or inhaled to relieve cough and cold symptoms as well as to calm the body. It can also be applied to the skin and hair, calm tense muscles, and shield your skin from UV radiation damage. Eucalyptus essential oil contains numerous anti-fungal characteristics that prevent infection & when applied to hair, encourages healthy hair by stimulating follicles. Additionally, it increases hair volume, and gloss, and relieves itchy scalp.
Eucalyptus, Australian blackwood, and silver Warde, all of which are native to Australia, were introduced to the Nilgiris in the 1850s, according to D Venugopal of the Nilgiri Documentation Center.
Despite strong opposition from the local Europeans based on aesthetics, they were planted primarily to supply the fuel and wood needs of an expanding township and were restricted to a few carefully selected areas far from water supplies.
To supply pulp wood for a rayon industry and a tannin factory in the lowlands, eucalyptus and acacia trees were widely and randomly planted throughout the Nilgiris in the 1950s. They were planted in settlements, catchment regions, grasslands, and on private property.
The Nilgiri region in South India is where the bulk of eucalyptus trees in India are found, and it is from this region that eucalyptus earned its name. The Nilgiris are the Western Ghats’ blue mountain ranges that extend over Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. Commercial farms where eucalyptus trees are grown and harvested can be found in these mountains. When people used to travel to Ooty or Kodaikanal in the 1950s, they used to bring back this oil as a souvenir. Hence, Nilgiri oil gets its name.
It is referred to as “eucaly enna” in Kerala, where “enna” stands for oil. Others refer to it as “neelagiri thailam.” Another name for the Western Ghats, which are home to a large population of eucalyptus trees, is “Neelagiri,” “Nilgiri,” or “Blue Mountains.” ‘Thailam’ also refers to oil. So, another name for eucalyptus oil is Nilgiri oil.
Essential oil extraction techniques can be categorised into two groups: traditional methods and modern ones. Hydro-distillation, steam distillation, and solvent extraction are all parts of the conventional process. The contemporary technique uses supercritical fluid extraction, hydrodistillation with microwave assistance, and extraction with ultrasound assistance.
In Kodaikanal, conventional methods are employed to extract the purest essential oil from the leaves of Eucalyptus. The oil extracted does not expire for 1 year and it’s known to turn yellow with age. Most of the production of pure eucalyptus oil takes place via steam distillation.
The conventional technique for separating volatiles from fragrant plant components is steam distillation. Steam is utilised as stripping gas in a multistage continuous distillation process to extract the oils. The plant matter is passed through with steam. The mixture of heated vapours is gathered and condensed to create a liquid with separate layers of water and oil.
This process of steam distillation is also used for extracting essential oils on an industrial scale from rose petals, camphor, and lavender along with Eucalyptus.
Here’s a video of a distillery in Kodaikanal, explaining how eucalyptus oil is extracted:
Although Kodaikanal is abundant in pure natural products, especially its essential oil, there’s no harm in double-checking to make sure you are not compromising on quality. The test to identify pure and impure eucalyptus oil is fairly simple- Take 1-2 drops of oil and drop them on a piece of plain paper. If the oil leaves a mark in the shape of a circle, we can assume it has been blended with other readily available oils and hence is impure.
Kodaikanal houses several manufacturers for you to carry home this highly beneficial essential oil as a souvenir. All these places are leading stores of Kodaikanal and are loved by their customers for the high quality of products sold.
Store Timings: 9 am to 9 pm
Store Timings: 10 am to 5 pm
Store Timings: 8 am to 8 pm
Store Timings: 8 am to 9 pm
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