Home > Eugenol (Molecule of the Month for April 2007 )

Picture of Eugenol

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Picture of Eugenol

C10 H12 O2

Eugenol is an allyl chain-substituted guaiacol. Eugenol is a member of the allylbenzene class of chemical compounds. It is a clear to pale yellow oily liquid extracted from certain essential oils especially from clove oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, and bay leaf. It is slightly soluble in water and soluble in organic solvents. It has a pleasant, spicy, clove-like odor. Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum, syn. Eugenia aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllata) are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. It is native to Indonesia and used as a spice in cuisine all over the world. The name derives from French clou, a nail, as the buds vaguely resemble small irregular nails in shape. Cloves are harvested primarily in Zanzibar, Indonesia and Madagascar; it is also grown in India, and Sri Lanka. The compound responsible for the cloves' aroma is eugenol. It is the main component in the essential oil extracted from cloves, comprising 72-90%. Eugenol has pronounced antiseptic and anaesthetic properties.

Eugenol is used in perfumeries, flavorings, essential oils and in medicine as a local antiseptic and anaesthetic. It was used in the production of isoeugenol for the manufacture of vanillin, though most vanillin is now produced from phenol or from lignan.

Combining zinc oxide and eugenol forms zinc oxide eugenol which can be used as a filling or cement material used in dentistry. It is classified as an intermediate restorative material and has anaesthetic and antibacterial properties. It is sometimes used in the management of dental caries as a "temporary filling".

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)




Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for April 2007 )