Year : 2009  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 312-316 Previous Article Table of Contents Next Article    

Chemical composition of Curcuma Longa leaves and rhizome oil from the plains of Northern India

1 Department of Chemistry, NIMS University, Jaipur, India
2 Department of Chemistry, D.B.S. College, Kanpur-208006, India

Date of Web Publication25-Jan-2010

Correspondence Address:
S C Dixit
Department of Chemistry, D.B.S. College, Kanpur-208006
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© 2009 Awasthi et al; This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI: 10.4103/0975-1483.59319

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Hydro distillation of rhizomes and leaves of Curcuma longa resulted in the isolation of 0.36% and 0.53% of oils (w/v) respectively on a fresh weight basis. GC and GC-MS analysis resulted in the identification of 73 constituents in rhizomes comprising 95.2% of the oil, of which the major ones were ar-turmerone (31.7%), α-turmerone (12.9%), β-turmerone (12.0%) and (Z) β-ocimene (5.5%). In the oils, 75 constituents comprising 77.5% of the oils were identified, the major ones were α-phellantrene (9.1%), terpinolene (8.8%), 1,8-cinceole (7.3%), undecanol (7.1) and p-cymene (5.5%).

Keywords: Curcuma longa; Zingiberaceae, rhizomes, leaves, essential oil composition, GC-MS

How to cite this article:
Awasthi PK, Dixit SC. Chemical composition of Curcuma Longa leaves and rhizome oil from the plains of Northern India. J Young Pharmacists 2009;1:312-6

How to cite this URL:
Awasthi PK, Dixit SC. Chemical composition of Curcuma Longa leaves and rhizome oil from the plains of Northern India. J Young Pharmacists [serial online] 2009 [cited 2010 Apr 8];1:312-6. Available from: /text.asp?2009/1/4/312/59319

   Introduction Top

Curcuma longa L syn C. domestica (Zingiberaceae), commonly known as turmeric, is a genus of 70 species of rhizomateous herbs. It is distributed in India, Thailand, Archipelago and Northern Australia. The tuber roots of a few species of the genus curcuma are economic sources of pharmaceutical and perfumery compounds. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9] C. longa, a perennial herb, is cultivated extensively throughout the warmer parts of the world. It is grown on a large scale in India and China. In India it is cultivated in almost all states, particularly in Tamilnadu, Maharashtra and Bengal. [10] The commercial products of C. longa are turmeric powder, extracts and oleoresins. India is one of the largest producers of turmeric and its oleoresin. [10],[11],[12],[13] In the Indian system of medicine, turmeric is used to some extent as a digestive aid and in the treatment of fever, infections, dysentery, arthritis, jaundice and other fever problems. Traditional Chinese physicians used turmeric to treat liver and gall bladder problems, stop bleeding and treat chest congestion and menstrual discomforts. The oil of turmeric in small doses acts as a carminative stomachic appetizer and tonic. In large doses, however, it appears to act as an anti oxidant. [14] The essential oil of C. longa possess anticancer, [15] anti-inflammatory, [16] antibacterial, antifungal, hepatoprotective, [17] antitumor, hypolipidemic and antithrombic activities.

   Materials and Methods Top

Plant material

Fresh rhizomes and leaves were purchased from Chandra Shekhar Azad University of Agriculture and Technology, Kanpur (India), in the month of June, 2005.

Isolation of essential oils

Fresh rhizomes (305g) and leaves (320g) were hydro distilled in a Clevenger-type apparatus for four hours; each afforded 0.36% and 0.53% of oils respectively on fresh weight basis. The oils thus obtained were dried over anhydrous sodium sulphate and stored in a sealed glass vial at low temperature prior to analysis.

Gas chromatography (GC)

The oils were analyzed on a Hewlett-Packard 5980. A gas chromatograph equipped with a fused silica capillary column (50 X 0.25mm) coated with methyl silicon (thickness 0.17mm) with FID detector. GC conditions were: nitrogen as carrier gas (1ml/min), split ratio 1:80, injection temperature 250°C, FID temp. 300°C and programmed from 80°C to 200°C at a rate of 2°C/min. The retention indices were calculated for all volatile constituents using a homologous series of n-alkanes.

GC/MS analysis

GC/MS data were obtained on a Perkin Elmer Turbo Mass spectrometer instrument using a PE-WAX column (60m X 0.32mm, film thickness 0.25µm). Temperature programmed: five minutes at 70°C, then rising at 2°C/min to 120°C and then 3°C/min from 120-240°C. Carrier gas was helium.

Identification of compounds

Compounds were identified by comparing the retention indices of the peaks with literature values [18],[19],[20],[21],[22],[23] computer matching against the NBS and Wiley libraries spectra.

   Results and Discussion Top

The oils were obtained by conventional hydro distillation of the rhizomes and leaves of C. longa in a Clevenger type apparatus. Each gave oil in 0.36% and 0.53% yield respectively on fresh weight basis. GC and GC-MS analysis resulted in the identification of total 73 and 75 constituents, respectively from the rhizomes and leaves oil.

The relative concentrations of the volatile components identified are presented in [Table 1], according to their elution order on a BP-1 column. The major components of the rhizome oil were ar-turmerone (31.7%), α-turmerone (12.9%), β-turmerone (12.0%) and (Z)-β-ocimene (5.5%). On the other hand the major constituents in the leaf oil were α-phellandrene (9.1%), terpinolene (8.8%), 1, 8-cineole (7.3%) and undecanol (7.1%) and p-cymene (5.5%). On comparing the similarity between the chemical composition of rhizomes and oil, it was observed that out of 73 and 75 constituents identified in the rhizomes and oils respectively, 51 were common in both the oils.

Apart from the above similarity, following differences were also recorded: ar-turmerone (31.7% and 1.2%), α-turmerone (12.9% and 0.5%), and β-turmerone (12.0% and 0.1%), which were major constituents in the rhizomes oil were observed as minor or trace constituents in the leaves oil. Similarly, the other constituents such as α-cadinene (1.2% and 0.7%), β-curcumene (1.3 and 0.5%), humulene epoxide (1.9% and 0.7% were two to three times higher, while τ-cadinol (2.4% and 0.4%) was 6 times higher in rhizome oil. Similarly δ-elemene (1.0% and t), E(α)-atlantone (1.5% and 0.1%) and virdifloral (1.7% and t) were 10 to 17 times higher in rhizome oil.

On the other hand α-phelladrene (9.1% and 0.1%), terpinolene (8.8% and 0.1%), undecanal (7.1% and 0.2%), p-cymene (5.5%and 0.1%), which were present as major components in the leaves essential oil were observed as trace constituents in the rhizome oil, except 1,8-cineole (7.3% and 2.6%), which was three times higher in the leaves oil. Similarly, myrcene (1.6% and 0.2%), iso-bornyl acetate (1.8% and 0.2%) and geranyl butyrate (1.1% and t) were eight to 11 times higher in the oil while carvone (0.9% and 0.5%), tetradecane (1.8% and 0.6%) and ar-curcumene (1.0% and 0.2%) were two to five times higher in the oil than those of rhizomes oil.

Apart from the above differences, Z-(β)-ocimene (5.5%), elimicin(2.0%), caryophyllene oxide (2.1%) were only present in the rhizomes oil, while sabinyl acetate (3.5%), methyl eugenol (3.0%), cinnamaldehyde (1.9%), neral (1.8%), cis-sabinol (1.5%), α-terpineol (1.4%) and β-elimine (1.2%) were only present in the oil.

On comparing our results with the Bhutanese rhizomes oil [24] (eight month old), it was observed that out of 73 and 21 constituents, 13 constituents were common in both types of oil. Zingiberene (1.3% and 1.5%) was the only constituent with similar composition in both types. Although ar-turmerone (31.7% and 25.7%), α-termerone (12.9% and 32.0%), and β-turmerone (12.0% and 18.4%) were major constituents in both the oils, but their percentage did vary to certain extent. ar-turmerone (31.7% and 25.7%) was 1.5 times higher in Indian (our) oil. On the other hand ar-turmerone (0.1% and 1.3%) and p-cymene (0.1% and 0.6%) were six to 13 times higher, while α-termerone (12.9% and 32.0%), β-turmerone (12.0% and 18.4%) , β-bisabolene (0.2% and 0.5%), 1-bisabolene (0.2% and 0.9%) and α-phellandrene (0.2% and 1.1%) were 1.5 to five times higher in the rhizome oil from Bhutan.

On comparing our oil results with those of the Bhutanese oils, it was observed that out of 75 and 49 constituents identified in our oil and that of Bhutanese leaves, 26 constituents were common in both the oils. α-phellandrene, (9.1% and 18.2%), p-cymene (5.5% and 13.3%), 1,8-cineole (7.3% and 14.6%), terpinolene (8.8% and 11.6%) were the major constituents in both the oil, but their percentage did vary to a certain extent. It is interesting to note that caryophyllene (0.6% and 0.5%) was the only constituent which had similar composition.

On the other, hand perilla ketone (1.9% and 0.4%), carvacrol (0.6% and 0.1%), ar-turmerone (0.5% and 0.1%), β-elemene (1.2% and 0.2%), and camphene (0.8% and t) were five to eight times higher, while α-terpineol (1.4% and 0.9%), cis-sabinol (1.5% and 1.0%), α-turmerone (0.5% and 0.3%), zingiberene (1.0% and 0.5%) and thymol (0.7% and 0.2%) were 1.5 to 3.5 times higher in our oil than that of the Bhutanese oil. Curdione(0.3% and 0.5%), germacrone (t and 0.2%), β-sesquiphellandrene (0.1% and 0.4%), and sabinene (0.1% and 0.4%) were two to four times higher while α-pinene (0.1% and 2.6%) and β-pinene (0.2% and 7.2%) were 26 to 36 times higher in Bhutanese oil than in our oil.

It would be worth mentioning here that undecanol (7.1%), a major constituent in our leaf oil, was absent in the Bhutanese leaf oil.

The above variations in the percentage composition of Curcuma rhizome and leaf oils from Kanpur, India with those of Bhutanese oils may be due to the variation in the their ago climatic and geographical regions.

   Acknowledgement Top

The authors are grateful to Principal and Secretary, Board of Management, D.B.S. College, Kanpur for their keen interest and encouragement in this work.

   References Top

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2.Van Steenis-Kruseman MJ. Select Indonesian Medicinal Plants, Organization for Scientific Research in Indonesia, Medan; 1953. p. 49.  Back to cited text no. 2      
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4.Dung NX, Truong PX, Ky PT, Leclercq PA. Constituents of the leaf oil of Curcuma domestica L. from Vietnam. J. Essential oil Res; 1997. p. 677.  Back to cited text no. 4      
5.Richmond R, Pombo-Villar E. Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry coupled with Pseodo-Sadtler retention indices for the identification of components in the Essential Oil of Curcuma longa L J. Chromatogr. A; 1997. p. 303.  Back to cited text no. 5      
6.Garg SN, Bansal RP, Gupta MM, Kumar S. Variation in the Rhizome Essential Oil and Curcumin contants and oil quality in the land races of turmeric, Curcuma longa of North Indian Plains. Flavour Fragr. J; 1999. p. 315-8.  Back to cited text no. 6      
7.Martins AP, Salgueiro L, Gonçalves MJ, da Cunha AP, Vila R, Cañigueral S, Mazzoni V, Tomi F, Casanova J. Essential oil composition and antimicrobial activity of three Zingiberaceae from S.Tomé e Príncipe. Planta Med 2001;67:580-4.  Back to cited text no. 7      
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9.Balcerek M, Mat³awska I. Preventive role of curcumin in lung cancer. Przegl Lek 2005;62:1180-1.  Back to cited text no. 9      
10.Anonymous, The Wealth of India; Raw Material, CSIR; New Delhi; 1950. p. 402.  Back to cited text no. 10      
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12.Zachariah TJ, Baby KN. Effect of Storage of fresh turmeric Rhizome on Oleoresin and Curcumin contents. J. Spice Arom. Crops; 1992. p. 55-58.  Back to cited text no. 12      
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14.Masuda T, Isobe J, Jitoe A, Nakatani N. Antioxidative Curcumions from Rhizomes of Curcuma Xantorrhiza. Phytochemistry; 1992. p. 3645-47.  Back to cited text no. 14      
15.Singh S, Kher A Biological effects of curcumin and its role in cancer chemoprevention and therapy. Anticancer Agents Med Chem 2006;6:259-70.  Back to cited text no. 15      
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17.Kumar V. The Pharma Review Clinical Trials in India: Balancing Economic Opportunity with the Public Health Context. Kongposh Publication Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi.  Back to cited text no. 17      
18.Jennings W, Shibamoto T. Qualitative Analysis of Flavour and Fragrance volatiles by Glass Capillary Column Gas Chromatography. Academic Press: New York.1980.  Back to cited text no. 18      
19.Swinggarm AA, Silverstein RM. Monoterpines, Aldrich Chemicals Co. Inc.: Milwaukee, WI, 1987.  Back to cited text no. 19      
20.Adams RP. Identification of Essential Oils by Ion Trap Mass Spectroscopy. Academic Press: San Diego CA, 1989.  Back to cited text no. 20      
21.Mc-Carron M, Mills AJ, Whittaker D, Sunny TP, Verghese. Chemical composition of rhizome Oils of four Curcuma species from Malaysia. Flavour Fragr J; 1995. p. 355-7.  Back to cited text no. 21      
22.Raina VK, Srivastava SK, Jain N, Ahmed A, Syamasundar KV, Agarwal KK. Essentail Oil composition of Curcuma longa L. C.V. Roma from the plains of Northern India. Flavour and Fragr J; 2002. p. 99-102.  Back to cited text no. 22      
23.Raina VK, Srivastava SK, Syamasundar KV. Rhizome and Leaf Oil composition of Curcuma longa from the lower Himalayan region of Northern India. J. Essential Oil Res; 17, 2005. p. 556-9.  Back to cited text no. 23      
24.Sharma RK, Mishra BP, Sharma TC, Bordloi AK, Pathak MG, Leclercq, PA. Essential Oil of Curcuma longa L from Bhutan J. Essential Oil Res; 1997. p. 589-92.  Back to cited text no. 24      


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