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Focus on . . . Essential Extracts

Plants are an integral part of human existence and although most of those that are cultivated provide basic dietary needs, those that add flavour, fragrance and colour - or medicinal relief - are no less essential. There is growing consumer interest in 'natural' products, in countries often far from where they grow. But is demand destroying natural sources of supply faster than farmers can fill the market niche?

In this edition of New Agriculturist we focus on a few of these diverse essential extracts - where tradition and technology combine.


The essence of success?

Essential oils are generally regarded as high value, low volume commodities and yet many developing countries import large quantities of oils to meet local demand for use in soaps, detergents, perfumes and other household goods. With agriculture providing . . .

From seafood to seaweed

Senegalese coastal communities are harvesting the spoils of the sea to generate extra income, whilst also revitalising the soil on their farms. Fishing has traditionally provided a. . .

New life in an old dye

Five hundred species of plants have a characteristic that the fashionable and the chic find irresistable. The substance extracted from their leaves yields the only natural. . .

The appeal of natural repellents

Recent research has identified particular plant extracts which could help to keep insect pests at bay. Catnip (Nepeta cataria L.), a member of the mint family which drives. . .

Getting into carob

Carob (Ceratonia siliqua L.), a valuable multipurpose tree that is native to the Eastern Mediterranean, has seeds that are difficult to germinate. Traditional methods of . . .

Caribbean elixir

A Caribbean rum that is a particularly favoured fragrance in Trinidad is the product of mixing essential oils with alcohol. Popular as a skin lotion, a stimulating liniment for the frail and elderly and used in. . .

Making too much from medicinals?

More than 80% of the world's population uses natural medicines and in many remote or marginal areas, local people are especially dependent on natural resources for health care. However, the rising. . .

Herbal Health and Happiness

It's late into the evening. It was a long day at work and the homeward traffic is heavy. By the time this executive steers the car into the driveway of home the stresses and strains of a frustrating day are overwhelming. What can relieve the pressure? Will it . . .

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