The yields and chemical compositions of the essential oils obtained by steam distillation of the fresh and dried (30 and 40 ºC) leaves, stems and roots of Tanaecium nocturnum are reported. The identification and quantification of the volatile constituents were accomplished by GC/MS and GC/FID, respectively. The essential oils obtained from the various parts of the plant were constituted mainly of benzaldehyde. Large losses and variations in the quantities of the components during the drying process were observed. The presence of mandelonitrile in higher concentration in the stem and roots indicates that this species produces cyanogenic glycosides.
A method is proposed for the determination of the moisture content of aromatic plants. This method is based on the co-distillation of the starting material in a modified Clevenger apparatus with four organic solvents (toluene, cyclohexane, dichloromethane and carbon tetrachloride). The results were compared with those obtained by oven drying at 105 ºC and steam distillation of the essential oil. The efficiencies of the methods were shown to be equivalent. The solvent distillation method was more practical, especially with respect to operating time (2 h).