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May 18, 2008

Book Review: Medicinal and Aromatic Crops

Medicinal and Aromatic Crops: Harvesting, Drying and Processing Edited by Serdar Oztekin and Milan Martinov. Haworth Press: New York. 2007. ISBN 978-1-56022-975-9.

This book was published in 2007, but we recently obtained a copy for our library and realized that it should be in the library, or on the work desk, of anyone who is involved in the production or processing of medicinal or aromatic plants (acronymized in the book as MAP), or even those who have a curiosity about where essential oils come from or how they are or can be produced.

The book starts out with an excellent introduction to the issues involved in aromatic plant production and sustainability as the agricultural system changes from the previous norm of wildcrafted MAP to the more complicated processes of cultivation and the problems of assuring quality, purity, and safety with the transition from Good Wildcrafting Practices (GWP) to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) which are often unknown to the farmers. There is a good discussion of related environmental issues. One shortfall is that there is no discussion of organic production.

The focus of the book is on mechanization, which the editors claim is generally neglected in the literature and in practice for a variety of reasons, but which should be considered not only to improve production quality  but to improve working conditions for workers. Manual and semi-mechanized methods are not neglected, and renewable energy sources are discussed.

The chapter on Extraction gives a good overview of all the processes commonly used for aromatic plants. The discussion of distillation is illustrated by a thorough description of the production of Turkish rose oil.

A chapter on Industrial Utilization of MAP unfortunately relegates Cosmetics, Perfumery, and Aromatherapy to four paragraphs, with Aromatherapy in a single (short) paragraph, hardly doing justice to the usage.

The book closes with a chapter covering the management of MAP agricultural enterprises and an Appendix discussing a software program that has been developed to assist farmers in the decision making process.

The book is well illustrated with photos and drawings, unfortunately in black and white, and is extensively referenced and well indexed.

Posted by Rob on May 18, 2008 in Book/Movie Reviews, Ecological/Cultural Sustainability, Essential Oils/Plant Extractions, Oil Crops, Regulatory Issues | Permalink

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Comments

can i have importance of these crops mailed to my id.

Posted by: srikanth | Aug 21, 2008 6:19:18 AM

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