Sunday, March 19, 2017


Safrole is one of the many allylic and propenylic benzene derivatives which occurs naturally in many spices, herbs and vegetables. Safrole, 4 ally-1, 2-methylenedioxy-benzene, C10H10O2, a natural component of the sassafras plant is prohibited to be used in human food.

Its derivatives, isosafrole and dihydrosafrole, as well as oil of sassafras and sassafras bark are also prohibited.

Sassafras leaves and (camphor) tree are permitted as natural flavorings provided they are safrole free.

Safrole is a component of many natural essential oils. It is found in trace concentrations in massoia bark to an excess of 90% in ocotea. Ocotea is Brazilian sassafras.

Safrole was a common flavoring in beverages, especially root beer, but this practice was discontinued after safrole was determined to induce liver damage in rats. Although banned as a food additive, sassafras bark is still being used as a herbal tea or folk medicine.
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