The Chemistry of Eugenol

Every year when Christmas time comes up, we are surrounded by a plethora of scents at home or in shopping centres. The most distinctive of these are from spices, and especially cloves which contain eugenol as pictured below.


Eugenol or 2-Methoxy-4-(prop-2-en-1-yl) phenol is a pale yellow oily liquid at room temperature. It belongs to the homologous series of phenylpropene which make up many essential oils. Eugenol is mainly present in cloves which are the flower buds of the S. aromaticum tree, accounting for around 80% and gives them their characteristic smell as spices.

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