Anthopogon Oil

Botanical Name (Rhododendron anthopogon D. Don)
Synonyms Rhododendron hypenanthum Balf. f.
Family Ericaceae
Local Name Sunpati
English Name Anthopogon

Plant Description

Rhododendron anthopogon D. Don (Ericaceae) is an evergreen shrub growing at an altitude of 3,000m -4800m asl., harvested in several regions of Nepal. This is probably one of the smallest rhododendrons. Grows to no more than 2-3 ft high. The white or yellow flowers, tinged with pink, grow in small compact clusters of 4-6 and each flower is 2 cm across. The dark green oval leaves are strongly aromatic and densely scaly underneath. This essential oil has an exotic floral aroma with lingering sweet fruity notes. When sampling this oil initially it was love at first whiff!


Anthopogon oil is extracted by the steam distillation of leaves and aerial twigs of Rhododendron anthopogon. The yield percentage of Anthopogon oil ranged from 0.26 to 0.6% on a fresh weight basis.


Leaves and flowers of Anthopogon are used as incense. The pounded leaves and flowers are used in stomach, liver and lung disorders, cold and cough, indigestion, skin diseases, blood purification, and promote heat. Flowers are used in gastritis, cold, sore throat, and phlegm disorders.

Anthopogon oil is reported to have antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitoxic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, and sedative activities. It is used to revitalize the nervous system. The oil is used as a fragrance component in cosmetics and perfumery.

Organoleptic Properties

Appearance: A liquid fluid
Colour: Pale Yellow
Aroma: Sweet herbal,Faintly balsamic

Active Constituents

Anthopogon oil is characterized by a high amount of monoterpene hydrocarbons, mainly α-pinene, β-pinene, and limonene with other minor constituents and the sesquiterpenes, δ-cadinene, α-muurolene, and (E)-caryophyllene.

Other components in trace amounts include α-thujene, camphene, β-myrcene, ρ-cymene, cis-omicene, γ -terpinene, trans-terpinene, α-copane, α-humulene, allo-aromndrene, germacrene D, δ - amorphene, trans- β-ocimene, α-cadinene, α-cadinol, α- bourbonene, β -elemene, sesquithjene, valencene, napyhthalene.

Physico-Chemical Properties

Specific gravity 0.8630 to 0.8804 at 15°C?>
Optical rotation (-) 10.05° to (-) 32.9° at 15 °C?>
Refractive index 1.4785 to 1.4881 at 15 °C?>
Acid number 1.54 to 4.06
Ester number 5.40 to 25.92
Ester number 8.23 to 45.78 (after acetylation) (after acetylation)
Solubility Due to altitudinal and regional variation some oils are soluble in 95% alcohol and some are not

Conservation Status

Global and National status is not known. It is abundant along the Himalayan tract.