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Davana

Introduction
The davana plant is a small and aromatic herbaceous plant which is native to the Southern part of India, especially to the states of Karnataka,Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. It is also known by its botanical name of Artemisia Pallens. In the regional languages of the south, the davana is known by several names as "davanam" in Tamil, "davanamu" in Telugu and "davana" in Kannada. Its leaves and flowers are highly valued in the making of floral decorations and oils.
 

Belonging to the daisy family, the davana plant is around 40-60 metres in height with bluish green leaves and small yellow flowers. Its most valuable by-product is the davana oil. This annual south Indian plant generally grows near sandalwood trees and is charachterized by a fruity fragrance and freshness. The highly priced davana oil has not found much popularity in India. It is largely exported to various countries like France, USA, Germany, Japan and The Netherlands. In the mid 20th century, the plant had created a stir among perfumers in the West and it started to be commercially cultivated from the 1970s onwards. This plant is rarely grown in the wild as its seeds are small with delicate seedlings which require extreme care and nurture and so the plant is cultivated mostly in gardens and fields.

 

Uses
Since time immemorial, the davana plant has been used for various religious purposes and has been traditionally offered to Lord Shiva. It is also utilized in traditional Ayurvedic medicinal preparations. The davana flowers traditionally lend their intoxicating fragrance for garlands, floral decorations, bouquets and also for the various religious purposes. Davana oil is used in the making of high quality perfumes, cosmetics and are also widely used in food industries, flavouring tobacco, pastries and some beverages. It is used in the highly valued eau de parfums, body creams and bath oils.

 

Plant Cultivation

  • The davana plant is mainly cultivated in order to make garlands and for making oils. The davana plant is generally grown in red and loamy soils and requires soils rich in organic content. Light rainfall conditions are required for it proper growth and it does not flourish in heavy rainfall, particularly near the harvest time. For making garlands, the crop can be pulled out from the field during its second or third month after planting. During the months of October and November, the davana plant is, firstly, grown in a nursery bed of 2 metres. The pre-germinated seeds are generally sown in the fields with required amounts of manure. For making garlands, the plant should be taken out within 3 months but for producing oil, it should be detached from the field when it starts to bear flowers. Generally, half a kilogram of seeds is planted in an acre.
  • Then, the seedlings are transplanted into the main field, which is well ploughed and irrigated prior the process of transplantation. The plant takes about 3-4 months to come to harvest. The plant is harvested around the month of March. It has been found that closer spacing of the seeds results in higher herbage yield and higher oil production as against wide spacing of seeds. Light irrigation is given daily till the seeds are well formed. More than the leaf or stem, it is the flowers which contributes most in the production of the oil.
 

Davana Essential Oil
The oil of the davana plant is very popular. The steam distillation process is used to make this essential oil which has a brown viscous consistency and gives out a charachteristic rich fruity odor. Aromatherapy considers davana oil as an aphrodisiac. Highly soothing to the brain and the nervous system, the davana essential oil helps to fight depression and other stress related symptoms. It fights infections, wounds and tetanus wounds. The davana essential oil is considered stimulating to the endocrine system. It can effectively cure viral infections such as cough & cold, influenza, measles, etc. If used in fumigants or sprays or vaporizers, it works as a good disinfectant. It is useful for countering headaches and pains in the joints and can also lower blood pressure levels. It is used in food

preparations like desserts and pastries. It has strong, woody and fruity notes reminiscent of the apricot fruit. Other than giving a boost of energy and elevating the mood, the regular use of this oil results in silky smooth and healthy skin.
 
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