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Anethol, the main compound in Vietnamese anise essential oil

19/04/2024 vipsen

1. Concept of Anethol

Anethol (or trans-anethol) is a derivative of the aromatic compound allylbenzene and appears widely in plants as an essential oil. It belongs to the phenylpropanoid group of organic compounds. This is an organic compound widely used as a flavoring agent.

Anethol produces the characteristic smell of star anise and fennel. Closely related to anethole is its Methyl Chavicol (estragole) isomer, a compound that accounts for up to 85% of Vietnamese basil essential oil (Basil is a herbaceous plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family).

2. Characteristics of Anethol

Chemical formula: C10H12O

CAS: 4180 – 23 – 8 (cis isomer) and 25679 – 28 -1 (trans isomer)

Molecular mass: 148.205 g/mol

Density: 0.998 g/cm3

Melting point: 20 to 21 °C (68 to 70 °F; 293 to 294 K)

Boiling point: 81 at 2mmHg

Anethol Chemical Formula

The full chemical name of Anethol is trans-1-Methoxy-4-(prop-1-enyl) benzene. Chemically, it is an aromatic, unsaturated ether. It exists as both cis–trans isomers (the symbol E–Z), involving a double bond outside the ring. Isomers are more abundant and are preferred over trans isomers.

Anethole, the finished product after fractional distillation of anise essential oil, is a clear, colorless to light yellow liquid with a sweet flavor similar to anise. Anethole is poorly soluble in water but well soluble in ethanol. This characteristic causes some anise-flavored alcohol to become cloudy when diluted with water; this is called the ouzo effect.

Anethol also appears as white crystals at room temperature. Anethol has a sweet taste as well as aroma, and its sweetness is 13 times that of sugar. However, it still gives a pleasant sweet feeling even at high concentrations.

3. Anethol in nature

Anethole appears widely in nature. It contributes to the distinctive flavors of star anise, bitter fennel, camphor, magnolia, and many other plants.

Vietnamese Star Anise

4. Application of Anethol

4.1 Pharmaceuticals

Anethol has strong antibacterial properties, fighting bacteria and fungi. In the laboratory, anethol is effective against tapeworms and gastrointestinal larvae. Therefore, this compound is used in anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, immune-boosting, open wound treatment and antioxidant drugs.

4.2 Food and beverages

Anethole is used in the food and pharmaceutical industries and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA-US) has granted safety certification. It has also been experimentally shown that anethole is non-toxic at low doses and it is considered non-genotoxic and non-carcinogenic, and therefore it is safe. The compound is used as a flavor additive and as a scent in products such as candy, baked goods, chewing gum, cigarettes, etc. Besides, Anethol is also used in spices, sauces… to help increase the appeal of the flavor of the dish.

Thanks to its ouzo effect, Anethol is used in many alcoholic beverages. It is used in wines of several famous brands such as Arak, Aguardiente, Absinthe, Anisette and Pastis, Greek Ouzo, Mastika and Macedonian, Jägermeister, Sambuca…

4.3 Pesticides

Anethol is effective in destroying helminth eggs, insects as well as larvae. Besides, the scent of Anethol helps repel insects that are harmful to plants. Therefore, anethol is a natural active ingredient used in pesticides in agriculture.

4.4 Cosmetics, health care

Thanks to its antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties, Anethole is widely used in products such as soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, skin cream, acne medication…

The scent of Anethol can overpower bad odors, so Anethol is also used as a natural food preservative.

VIPSEN worker is preparing material to produce Anise oil

5. Anise essential oil produced at VIPSEN essential oil factory

VIPSEN is one of the leading researchers and manufaturers of natural essential oils in Vietnam. Essential oil products are produced using advanced methods, achieving high quality with 100% natural ingredients, without additives or mixtures.

Vietnamese anise essential oil products are world famous thanks to their high Anethol content (80-90%). Anise essential oil is produced by VIPSEN from selected raw materials, harvested from famous raw material growing areas in Lang Son, Vietnam. The production process from planting and harvesting raw materials to producing and preserving finished products is always closely monitored by VIPSEN’s team of experienced experts and technicians. VIPSEN’s anise essential oil products are not only popular in Vietnam but are also exported to many countries around the world.

For further information, please contact:

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Email: Export@Vipsen.vn

Address: D7-TT9, Forosa street, Xuan Phuong new urban area, Xuan Phuong, Nam Tu Liem, Hanoi

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