Verbenone-Containing Rosemary?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Stuart Yuill Proctor
Posted on: September 20, 2000

I have just discovered your wonderful website and have found it very informative. But, I can’t find where to send queries!

My query is: We are hoping to grow Rosemarinus officinales for essential oil production. I would prefer to grow a variety which produces the verbenone chemotype. I can not find which variety produces this chemotype -- can you help? Do you supply this chemotype?

We live in the South Island of New Zealand, so would need to import seed rather than plant stock.

We have never heard of a verbenone-rich chemotype of rosemary, so I put your question to Rex Talbert who is an expert in rosemary (the ‘Rex’ rosemary variety is named after him). This is his response:

Verbenone is found in some rosemary essential oils but is generally less that 7%. In any reasonable botanical science definition of chemotype, this would hardly qualify. I suspect that this is all sales hype and the typical pseudo science of aromatherapy. In one citation I found the term "verbenoniferum." attached to Rosmarinus officinalis This name according to Dr. Arthur Tucker "has never been published as a legitimate name; it is a made-up sales tactic."

Adulteration of oil of rosemary is common and recently a juiced up version had as much as 27% verbenone, found to be added to an oil that naturally had only 0.5%.

Good luck with this ghost.

I hope that this helps.

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