Unveiling the Art of Lemongrass Oil Business: From Fields to Liquid Gold

Lemongrass oil, derived from the aromatic Lemongrass plant (Cymbopogon citratus), has transcended its traditional uses to become a sought-after commodity in the global market. With its invigorating aroma and versatile applications, Lemongrass oil has carved a niche for itself in various industries, ranging from aromatherapy and skincare to culinary ventures. Lemongrass oil includes a solid lemon-like scent due to high citral substance (75-90%). The least commercial prerequisite is 70% citral substance. The major quality checking measures are its citral substance and its solvency in alcohol.

This is an important element in toiletry products such as toilet soaps, bath salts, etc. It is additionally utilized in artificial lemon enhancing and within the make of ionenes. Ionenes are exceptionally vital for the generation of counterfeit enhance, aromas, and cleansers and as crude fabric for vitamin A fabricating. The oil is of a reddish-yellow to reddish-brown colour, with a solid, lemon smell. It is additionally utilized in pharmaceutical arrangements, such as torment emollient, disinfectants, and mosquito repellent cream.

Lemongrass grows well in both tropical and subtropical climates. In any case, perfect conditions for growing lemon grass are warm and humid climate with adequate daylight and equitably conveyed over most part of the year. Lemon grass can also be grown in semi‐arid regions getting low to moderate precipitation. It can grow well over intermediate fertile soils and reasonable irrigation. Well drained sandy soil is most appropriate for the development of the plant. Lemongrass has a high-water requirement. Where yearly precipitation surpasses 650 mm, irrigation is not essential. Hand-weeding and hoeing are exceptionally imperative as weeds influence the surrender and quality of the oil. For the most part, 2 to 3 weeding's are fundamental during the year. Lemon grass is widely grown within the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, parts of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and within the northern region and Assam.

Applications of Lemongrass Oil:

  • Aromatherapy: The fresh smell and taste of lemon essential oil is popular for aromatherapy. Lemon oil is known to reduce stress, anxiety and promote mental clarity.
  • Skin Care: With its antibacterial and antifungal properties, lemon oil is a common ingredient in skin care products. It helps to warm and purify the skin, making it an excellent addition to creams, oils and serums.
  • Edible Uses: In the culinary world, lemon oil adds a citrus flavor to different types of food. It is used in dressings, dressings and desserts to enhance the overall flavour profile.
  • Natural Insect Repellent: The insect repellent properties of lemongrass oil make it an ideal spray, insect repellents and candles. The sweet-smelling natural alternative to synthetic insecticides.

Market Aspects: Trade Performance and Potential of Lemongrass Oil Market

At present, India is a major exporter of lemongrass oil exporting to more than 80 countries. Between 1997-02 and 2017-20, the worldwide request for Indian lemongrass oil has been expanded from 80.28 thousand kg to 2552.42 thousand kg. Whereas India earned the outside trade from lemongrass oil trade has expanded by 413.65 lakh to 30874.49 lakh. Among the beat nine bringing in nations or major goals of Indian lemongrass oil contributed 81.62%, in which North America region: U.S. and Canada imported (44.18%); Europe: U.K., France, Germany, and Spain (11.84%); Asia Pacific: Australia, China, and Singapore (4.08%). The compound annual growth rate both in quantity and value of lemongrass oil has been registered at 16.13 and 28.04 percent it indicating good potential and higher profit for Indian lemongrass oil. The persistent increment within the household, as well as worldwide request for lemongrass oil, has opened up wide openings for winning remote trade and advancing of Indian smell industry. The expanding region beneath the development of lemongrass given work openings for rural individuals and particularly for rural laborers and resource-poor people groups. It is additionally given year-round income, superior alternatives for trim broadening, and components for utilization of negligible arrive.

Technical specification of the processing unit

Lemongrass oil is extracted by steam distillation. The Regional Research Laboratory, Jorhat has developed the technology for the same purpose. The main raw material is lemongrass, in addition to fuel and water in the distillation process. The share of oil is only 0.6%. A little overheating or improper condensation can cause very low potency and damage some delicate aromatic components. The distillation process consists of two units, a tilting still and a condenser. The distillation unit is associated to the condenser through a pipe at the top. The condenser is a wild copper tube cooled by running water. The condenser is connected to the oil accumulators. At First, the distillation unit is filled with water up to the desired level over which the grid is placed. After that, the lemon grass collected from the field is filled on top of the grill and the lid is closed. The lid must be airtight. The still is then heated by a heat source below the still. The type of heat source depends on the availability of fuel. The mixture of oil and water vapor flowing out of the still passes through the condenser. The mixture gets cooled in the condenser and condenses. After this, the mixture of water and oil is collected together in the accumulator. The essential oil is then separated from water based on the specific gravity.

Processing Method:

  • Harvesting
  • Cleaning
  • Drying
  • Distillation
  • Purification
  • Essential Oil Extraction
  • Packaging


The crop is cut into small pieces and filled into the stills of a container. Prior to the distillation process grass is set to wilt for 24 hours, the wilting process improves the overall yield of essential oils. Drying of crop also decreases moisture content by 30% which further helps in the distillation process.

Drying plays a crucial role in the extraction of lemongrass oil, as it contributes to the overall quality and efficiency of the extraction process. The importance of drying in lemongrass oil extraction can be understood through several key factors:

  • Water Content Reduction:

Fresh lemongrass plants typically have a high water content, which can dilute the essential oil and make extraction less efficient. Drying the plant material helps reduce the water content, ensuring a higher concentration of essential oil in the final product.

  • Prevention of Microbial Growth:

Drying lemongrass before extraction helps prevent microbial growth. The presence of moisture in the plant material can create an environment conducive to the growth of bacteria, fungi, or molds, which could negatively impact the quality and safety of the extracted oil.

  • Enhanced Oil Release:

Drying the lemongrass contributes to the breakdown of the cell walls and membranes in the plant tissue. This facilitates the release of essential oil during the extraction process, as the oil glands become more accessible when the plant material is dried.

  • Improved Oil Yield:

The removal of water through drying can lead to a more efficient extraction process, resulting in a higher yield of lemongrass oil. This is economically beneficial for the oil extraction industry as it maximizes the production output from a given amount of raw material.

  • Preservation of Aromatic Compounds:

Drying helps preserve the volatile aromatic compounds present in lemongrass. The essential oil derived from properly dried lemongrass is more likely to retain its natural fragrance and therapeutic properties, ensuring a high-quality end product.

Water and Steam Distillation:

Water and steam distillation is a traditional and widely used method for extracting essential oils from plant materials, including herbs, flowers, and spices. This process is particularly common for obtaining essential oils from delicate botanicals that may be sensitive to higher temperatures, preserving the aromatic and therapeutic properties of the oil. Water and steam distillation is a gentle method that helps preserve the delicate aromatic compounds in essential oils. This is crucial for obtaining high-quality oils with potent fragrance and therapeutic properties. This method is particularly suitable for extracting essential oils from plants that are sensitive to heat, ensuring that the final product retains its natural characteristics.

  • Process:

Water Introduction: In this method, water is typically added to the plant material, often in the form of fresh or dried herbs. The water serves as a medium to facilitate the release of essential oil from the plant.

  • Heating: The mixture is then heated to generate steam. The steam carries the volatile essential oil components away from the plant material.
  • Condensation: The steam containing the essential oil is directed through a cooling system, usually a condenser. As the steam cools, it condenses into water, and the essential oil separates from the water, forming a concentrated aromatic liquid.
  • Separation: Since essential oils do not dissolve in water, they float on the surface and can be separated easily. The resulting product is a combination of essential oil and water, known as a hydrosol or floral water.
  • Collection: The essential oil is collected, and any remaining water is separated through a process such as decantation or centrifugation.

Lemongrass essential oil is extracted by steam distillation that is the most common category of distillation. In water and steam distillation method, the steam can be produced either in a separate boiler or generated within the still, although separated from the plant material. Similar to water distillation, water and steam distillation is widely used in rural areas. It also does not require large investments and costs compared to water treatment. In addition, the equipment used is the same as that used for water protection, but the plant material is supported by a perforated grid over the boiling water. In fact, it is common for people who have been using water conditioners to end up switching to water and steam conditioners.

Machine and Equipment Required:

The processing of various products in a bakery involves the following general machine and equipment:

  • Weighing Machine
  • Water and Steam Distillation Unit
  • Food Grade Conveyors
  • HPLC and GPC System Setup
  • Other Miscellaneous Equipment for Handling Purpose

Licences and Registrations:

  • FSSAI Registration and License
  • GST Registration
  • MSME Udyog Aadhar
  • Trademark or Brand name as may be Required by the Manufacture
  • NOC from Fire & Pollution Control Board

Challenges and Opportunities in the Lemongrass Oil-Making Business

While the Lemongrass oil-making business presents lucrative opportunities, entrepreneurs must navigate challenges unique to the industry. Climate variability, for instance, can impact Lemongrass cultivation, requiring businesses to adopt adaptive strategies. Additionally, ensuring a sustainable supply chain and ethical sourcing practices is crucial in an era where consumers prioritize transparency and ethical considerations.

On the flip side, the growing trend towards natural and organic products provides a fertile ground for Lemongrass oil entrepreneurs. Collaborations with eco- conscious retailers, participation in wellness events, and exploring international markets contribute to expanding the business's reach and impact.

Conclusion: Nurturing Growth in the Aromatic Landscape

As the Lemongrass oil making business continues to thrive, entrepreneurs find themselves at the intersection of tradition and innovation. The journey from cultivating Lemongrass in the fields to bottling its aromatic essence represents more than a business venture—it is a commitment to well-being, sustainability, and the artistry of essential oil craftsmanship.

For those considering entering the Lemongrass oil making business, the key lies not only in understanding the technical aspects of cultivation and distillation but also in embracing the spirit of the industry. Nurturing a brand with purpose, prioritizing quality, and staying attuned to market trends pave the way for success in this aromatic landscape where Lemongrass oil reigns supreme.

SWOT Analysis

1. Strengths:

  • Natural and Sustainable Product
  • Has a wide range of applications, including aromatherapy, skincare, and culinary uses.
  • Lemongrass oil is associated with various health benefits, such as stress relief, anti-inflammatory properties, and antimicrobial effects.
  • Growing Demand for Natural Products

2. Weaknesses:

  • Dependency on Agricultural Factors
  • Seasonal Variability: Lemongrass growth and oil extraction may be seasonal, leading to fluctuations in supply.

3. Opportunities:

  • Rising Interest in Aromatherapy
  • Collaborations with Cosmetic and Skincare Brands
  • E-commerce Expansion

4. Threats:

  • Competition from Synthetic Alternatives
  • Fluctuating Raw Material Costs

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