Species Used Commercially in the World as Oregano



Calamintha potosina Schaf.

Coleus amboinicus Lour. (syn. C. aromaticus Benth)

Coleus aromaticus Benth. Hedeoma floribunda Standl. Hedeoma incona Torr. Hedeoma patens Jones

Hyptis albida HBK.

Hyptis americana (Aubl.) Urb. (H. gonocephala Gris.)

Hyptis capitata Jacq. Hyptis pectinata Poit. Hyptis suaveolens (L.) Poit. Monarda austromontana Epling Ocimum basilicum L.

Origanum compactum Benth. (syn. O. glandulosum Salzm, ex Benth.)

Origanum dictamnus L. (Majorana dictamnus L.)

Origanum elongatum (Bonent) Emberger et Maire

Origanum floribundum Munby (O. cinereum Noe)

Origanum grosii Pau et Font Quer ex letswaart

Origanum majorana L.

Origanum microphyllum (Benth) Vogel

Origanum onites L. (syn. O. smyrneum L.)

Origanum scabrum Boiss et Heldr. (syn. O. pulchrum Boiss et Heldr.)

Origanum syriacum L. var. syriacum (syn. O. maru L.)

Origanum vulgare L. subsp. gracile (Koch) letswaart (syn. O. gracile

Koch, O. tyttanthum Gontscharov) Origanum vulgare ssp. hirtum (Link) letswaart (syn. O. hirtum Link) Origanum vulgare ssp. virens (Hoffmanns et Link) letswaart (syn. O. virens Hoffmanns et Link) Origanum vulgare ssp. viride (Boiss.) Hayek (syn. O. viride) Halacsy

(syn. O. heracleoticum L.) Origanum vulgare L. subsp. vulgare (syn. Thymus origanum (L.)

Kuntze) Origanum vulgare L. Poliomintha longiflora Gray Salvia sp.

Satureja thymbra L.

Thymus capitatus (L.) Hoffmanns et Link (syn. Coridothymus capitatus (L.) Rchb.f.)


Lantana citrosa (Small) Modenke Lantana glandulosissima Hayek

Lantana hirsuta Mart. et Gall. Lantana involucrata L.

Lantana purpurea (Jacq.) Benth. & Hook. (syn. Lippia purpurea Jacq.) Lantana trifolia L.

Commercial Name/s Found in Literature

Oregano de la sierra, oregano, origanum Oregano, oregano brujo, oregano de Cartagena, oregano de Espana, oregano Frances Oregano de Espana, oregano, Origanum Oregano, Origanum Oregano

Oregano, Origanum Oregano, Origanum Oregano

Oregano, Origanum

Oregano, Origanum

Oregano, oregano cimarron, Origanum

Oregano, Origanum

Oregano, Origanum

Oregano, Origanum

Oregano, Origanum

Oregano, Origanum

Oregano, Origanum

Oregano, Origanum


Oregano, Origanum

*Turkish oregano, oregano, Origanum

Oregano, Origanum

Oregano, Origanum

Oregano, Origanum

Oregano, Origanum

Oregano, Origanum, oregano verde

*Greek oregano, oregano, Origanum

Oregano, Origanum

Oregano, orenga, Oregano de Espana



Oregano cabruno, oregano, Origanum *Spanish oregano, oregano, Origanum

Oregano xiu, oregano, Origanum Oregano xiu, oregano silvestre, oregano, Origanum

Oreganillo del monte, oregano, Origanum Oregano, Origanum Oregano, Origanum Oregano, Origanum continued

TABLE 3.1 (continued)

Species Used Commercially in the World as Oregano


Lantana velutina Mart.&Gal. Lippia myriocephala Schlecht.&Cham. Lippia affinis Schau.

Lippia alba (Mill) N.E. Br. (syn. L. involucrata L.)

Lippia berlandieri Schau.

Lippia cordiostegia Benth.

Lippia formosa T.S.Brandeg.

Lippia geisseana (R.A.Phil.) Soler.

Lippia graveolens HBK

Lippia helleri Britton

Lippia micromera Schau.

Lippia micromera var. helleri (Britton) Moldenke

Lippia origanoides HBK

Lippia palmeri var. spicata Rose

Lippia palmeri Wats.

Lippia umbellata Cav.

Lippia velutina Mart. et Galeotti

Borreria sp. Scrophulariaceae

Limnophila stolonifera (Blanco) Merr.

Eryngium foetidum L.

Coleosanthus veronicaefolius HBK




Eupatorium macrophyllum L. (syn. Hebeclinium macrophyllum DC.) *Oregano species with economic importance according to Lawrence (1984).

Commercial Name/s Found in Literature

Oregano xiu, oregano, Origanum



Oregano, Origanum Oregano

Oreganillo, oregano montes, oregano, Origanum Oregano, Origanum Oregano, Origanum

*Mexican oregano, oregano cimarron, oregano Oregano del pais, oregano, Origanum Oregano del pais, oregano, Origanum Oregano

Oregano, origano del pais Oregano

Oregano, Origanum

Oreganillo, oregano montes, oregano, Origanum Oregano, Origanum

Oreganos, oregano, Origanum Oregano, Origanum

Oregano de Cartagena, oregano, Origanum

Oregano del cerro, oregano del monte, oregano del campo Oregano, Origanum

In comparison with sage, the genus Origanum is much smaller and consists of 43 species and 18 hybrids according to the actual classification (Skoula and Harborne, 2002) with main distribution areas around the Mediterranean. Some subspecies of O. vulgare only are also found in the temperate and arid zones of Eurasia up to China. Nevertheless, the genus is characterized by a large morphological and phytochemical diversity (Kokkini, 1996; Baser, 2002; Skoula and Harborne, 2002).

The occurrence of several chemotypes is reported, for example, for commercially used Origanum species, from Turkey (Baser, 2002). In O. onites, two chemotypes are described, a carvacrol type and a linalool type. Additionally, a "mixed type" with both basic types mixed may occur. In Turkey, two chemotypes of Origanum majorana are known, one contains cis-sabinene hydrate as chemo-typical lead compound and is used as marjoram in cooking ("marjoramy"), while the other one contains carvacrol in high amounts and is used to distil "oregano oil" in a commercial scale. Variability of chemotypes continues also within the "marjoramy" O. majorana. Novak et al. (2002) detected in cultivated marjoram accessions additionally to cis-sabinene hydrate the occurrence of polymorphism of cis-sabinene hydrate acetate. Since this chemotype did not influence the sensorial impression much, this chemotype was not eliminated in breeding, while an "off-flavor" chemotype would have been certainly eliminated in its cultivation history. In natural populations of O. majorana from Cyprus besides the "classical" cis-sabinene hydrate type, a chemotype with a-terpineol as main compound was also detected (Novak et al., 2008). The two extreme "off-flavor" chemotypes in O. majorana, carvacrol-, and a-terpineol-chemotype are not to be found anywhere in cultivated marjoram, demonstrating one of the advantages of cultivation in delivering homogeneous qualities.

The second "oregano" of commercial value—mainly used in the Americas—is "Mexican oregano" (Lippia graveolens HBK., Verbenaceae) endemic to California, Mexico, and throughout Central America (Fischer, 1998). Due to wild harvesting, only the few published data show essential oil contents largely ranging from 0.3% to 3.6%. The total number of up-to-now-identified essential oil compounds comprises almost 70 with the main constituents thymol (3.1-80.6%), carvacrol (0.5-71.2%), 1,8-cineole (0.1-14%), and p-cymene (2.7-28.0%), followed by, for example, myrcene, g-terpinene, and the sesquiterpene caryophyllene (Lawrence, 1984, Dominguez et al., 1989, Uribe-Hernandez et al., 1992, Fischer et al., 1996; Vernin, 2001).

In a comprehensive investigation of wild populations of L. graveolens collected from the hilly regions of Guatemala, three different essential oil chemotypes could be identified, a thymol, a car-vacrol, and an absolutely irregular type (Fischer et al., 1996). Within the thymol type, contents of up to 85% thymol in the essential oil could be obtained and only traces of carvacrol. The irregular type has shown a very uncommon composition where no compound exceeds 10% of the oil, and also phenylpropenes, for example, eugenol and methyl eugenol, were present (Fischer et al., 1996; Fischer, 1998). In Table 3.2, a comparison of recent data is given including Lippia alba commonly called "oregano" or "oregano del monte" although carvacrol and thymol are absent from the essential oil of this species. In Guatemala, two different chemotypes were found within L. alba: a myrcenone and a citral type (Fischer et al., 2004). Besides it, a linalool, a carvone, a camphor—1,8-cineole, and a limonene-piperitone chemotype have been described (Dellacassa et al., 1990; Pino et al., 1997; Frighetto et al., 1998; Senatore and Rigano, 2001).

Chemical diversity is of special interest if on genus or species level both terpenes as well as phe-nylpropenes can be found in the essential oil. Most Lamiaceae preferentially accumulate mono-(and sesqui-)terpenes in their volatile oils but some genera produce oils also rich in phenylpropenes, among these Ocimum sp. and Perilla sp.

The genus Ocimum comprises over 60 species, of which Ocimum gratissimum and O. basilicum are of high economic value. Biogenetic studies on the inheritance of Ocimum oil constituents were reported by Khosla et al. (1989) and an O. gratissimum strain named "Clocimum" containing 65% of eugenol in its oil was described by Bradu et al. (1989). A number of different chemotypes of basil (O. basilicum) has been identified and classified (Vernin, 1984; Marotti et al., 1996) containing up to 80% linalool, up to 21.5% 1,8-cineole, 0.3-33.0% eugenol, and also the presumably toxic compounds methyl chavicol (estragole) and methyl eugenol in concentrations close to 50% (Elementi et al., 2006; Macchia et al., 2006).

Perilla frutescens can be classified in several chemotypes as well according to the main mono-terpene components perillaldehyde, elsholtziaketone, or perillaketones, and on the other side phe-nylpropanoid types containing myristicin, dillapiole, or elemicin (Koezuka et al., 1986). A comprehensive presentation on the chemotypes and the inheritance of the mentioned compounds was given by this author in Hay and Waterman (1993). In the referred last two examples not only the sensorial but also the toxicological properties of the essential oil compounds are decisive for the (further) commercial use of the respective species' biodiversity.

Although the Labiatae family plays an outstanding role as regards the chemical polymorphism of essential oils, also in other essential oil containing plant families and genera a comparable phyto-chemical diversity can be observed. Asteraceae (Compositae)

Only a limited number of genera of the Asteraceae are known as essential oil plants, among them Tagetes, Achillea, and Matricaria. The genus Tagetes comprises actually 55 species, all of them endemic to the American continents with the center of biodiversity between 30° northern and 30° southern latitude. One of the species largely used by the indigenous population is to

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