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                                         Information @ a Glance
  • Tagetes is a genus of 52 species of annual and perennial herbaceous plants in the daisy family. Tagetes is an annual herb up to 60 cm high with soft, oval, pale leaves and bright orange daisy-like flowers.

  • Tagetes is an ingredient of many foot treatment preparations and is also used extensively in French perfumes.

  • The tagetes essential oil is obtained by steam distillation from the fresh flowering herb and also an absolute by solvent extraction from the flowering herb.


  • Tagetes oil is extracted from the leaves, stalks and flowers, picked when the seeds are just starting to form.
  • Flowers were continuously extracted with light petroleum (bp. 40-60°C) using a Soxhlet apparatus. The solvent was removed under vacuum. Extraction of the brownish residue was with steam distilled, gave the tagetes oil.
  • Four major extraction technologies are used predominantly in the extraction of tagetes essential oils are distillation, solvent extraction, cold pressing and carbon dioxide (super critical) extraction.


  • Tagetes is native to South America and Mexico, but now grows wild in Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America. The oil is produced mainly in South Africa, France, Argentina and Egypt.
  • Tagetes minuta is a native plant in Argentina and is known as suico or chinchilla and has been used in popular as anthelmintic, diuretic, antispasmodic and to treat stomach and intestinal diseases
  • Cutting starts when plants reach a height of 1m, if the crop has too dense a sowing rate the plants would compete for sunlight producing too much stem and not enough flower.  The Mexican Marigold will not hybridise under its current growing sitatuion due to the diversity of the genetic pool. Tagete Mantuta is grown as a part of a three year crop rotation to minimise disease problems Maize year 1, Wheat year 2, Tagette year 3


  • Tagetes oil is valuable in keeping insects at bay, and can help with parasitic and fungal infestation. It could help with chest infections, coughs and catarrh, dilating the bronchi, facilitating the flow of mucus and dislodging congestion.
  • Tagetes oil is useful in cases of skin infections, and has a healing effect on wound, cuts, calluses and bunions.
  • Tagetes minuta oil is in great demand as finds application in tobacco flavouring, medicinal use, in agarbattis and also used by pharmaceutical companies.
  • Essential oil of Tagetes minuta is used by pharmaceutical companies for preparing value added compounds


  • Tagetes minuta is an introduced weed which grows mainly in the first few years on reverted cultivated land. Test distillations should be done with samples sent to potential buyers. Extraction rates are normally 0.1-0.4%.  If the material is situated reasonably close to a still and can be collected economically, the variable costs are low and production can be profitable. The world market offtake is around 15 tons p.a. and prices are $50/kg and on an upward trend.
  • Africa’s market share of the global market for aromatic oils is less than 1%. The essential oil sector of this market was estimated by one source as at some $US 13.2 billion. Another quoted the global market at $US 18 billion for the same period. China was the world’s leading producer of essential oils at just less than 17 000 tons and the quoted that  the only African country amongst the top producers at 210 tons for the same period.


  • Tagetes minuta  is an annual, herbaceous essential oil plant. Tagetes minuta oil finds a good market as an ingredient in the perfumery and flavor industries. The oil has been reported to show 100% inhibitory effect on Gram + bacteria, 95% inhibitory effect on Gram - bacteria and 100% inhibitory effect on fungi and also ocimenone at a concentration of 40 ppm as found to cause 100% mortality of mosquito larvae.
  • The New World peoples have been using Tagetes minuta as a flavorful beverage, a medicinal tea, and a condiment since pre-contact times. A beverage is prepared from Tagetes minuta by steeping a half-handful of the dried plant in hot water for 3 to 5 min.

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