Unique Selling Points
Essential oils can be defined as a volatile mixture of organic compounds derived by physical means from odorous plant material, such as flowers, herbs, woods, fruits, and roots. Some are specially produced for the production of essential oils (eg. agar, litsea, sappan, lemon, and cajeput).
Essential oils are very interesting natural plant products and among other qualities, they possess various biological properties. The term “biological” comprises all activities that these mixtures of volatile compounds (mainly mono- and sesquiterpenoids, benzenoids, phenylpropanoids, etc.) exert on humans, animals, and other plants.
In Vietnam, many essential oils are made from by-products of other raw materials such as star anise and cinnamon above. Vietnamese essential oils are the basic raw materials for perfumes on a large scale and for flavoring to a lesser extent, as for flavoring a wider range of other ingredients is available. Essential oils in Vietnam can be found in their applications in the food and in the fragrance industry (perfumes, soaps, detergents), and in pharmaceutical products.
Vietnam has a variety of products containing high contents of essential oils such as Amber Vetiver, Black Pepper, Blue Chamomile, Cedarwood, Champaca, Cinnamon, Citronella, Eucalyptus, Frangipani, Ginger, Grapefruit Citrus, Galangal, Geranium, Jasmine, Kaffir Lime, Lavender, Lemongrass, Lemon, Lime, Magnolia, Mandarin, Neroli, Nutmeg, Patchouli, Peppermint, Pine, Pink Grapefruit, Plai, Pomelo, Rose, …
Many studies have shown that many essential oils extracted from Vietnamese plants have antibacterial activity, especially Cassia cinnamon; basil; lemongrass, and mint. Vietnamese cassia oil with high cinnamaldehyde content has a unique aroma that can be stronger and more pleasant than products from China or Indonesia, without the bitterness found in Chinese oil. The oil’s aroma is hot and spicy, with an innate sweetness not present in other varieties of cinnamon.
Vietnam is currently expanding its capacity for the production and export of high-quality essential oils. Distillation of essential oils is for the larger part done in smaller cottage industries near the areas where the raw material is harvested.