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Salicin (Molecule of the Month for February 2012)


Salicin is an alcoholic β-glucoside. Salicin is an anti-inflammatory agent that is produced from willow bark.

Salicin is closely related in chemical make-up to aspirin. When consumed, the acetalic etherbridge is broken down. The two parts of the molecule, glucose and salicylic alcohol, then are metabolized separately. By oxidizing the alcohol function the aromatic part finally is metabolized to salicylic acid.

Salicin elicits bitterness like quinine, when consumed.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
(2R,3S,4S,5R,6S)-2-(Hydroxymethyl)-6-[2-(hydroxymethyl)phenoxy]oxane-3, 4,5-triol



Picture of Salicin

click on the picture above to interact
with the 3D model of the
Salicin structure
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Picture of Salicin


Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for February 2012 )