Methyl chavicol, chemically known as 1-methoxy-4-prop-2-enylbenzene, estragole, or p-allylanisole, is a special metabolite belonging to the class of phenylpropanoids found in essential oils of medicinal and food plants. It is an isomer of anethole, differing with respect to the location of the double bond. It is a colourless liquid which turns yellow if impure. Estragole is the primary constituent of essential oil of tarragon (comprising 60–75%), basil, pine oil, turpentine, fennel, anise (2%), Clausena anisata and Syzygium anisatum.
The French or sweet basil has a high linalool and lower methyl chavicol content with the exotic basil having the highest methyl chavicol content. It is for this reason that the sweet is often preferred for aromatherapy. Principal chemical components found in essential oils of basil include methyl chavicol (22–88%), methyl eugenol (0.3–6%), linalool (1.1–46%), limonene (2.0–4.9%), cis-ocimene (0.2–2.6%) and citronellol (0.6–3.9%).
Estragole is used in perfumes and as a food additive for flavor. Upon treatment with potassium hydroxide, estragole converts toanethole. Its natural scent is oily and sharp, similar to the smell of anise and tarragon.
Colourless to light yellow liquid
Anisic-type, spicy, green
0.960-0.968 @ 25°C
1.519-1.524 @ 20°C
100% Pure and Natural
Soluble in alcohol, insoluble in water