Sciencemadness Discussion Board

The essential oil

Betty Ford - 15-1-2004 at 15:56

This subject matter has been discussed in many other forums previously to this, and after much research I have discovered that sassafras seems to be completely unobtainable in the u.k. The nearest I have come to locating this precious oil is in the form of an alcohol extract- which I believe after reading posts on said subject available, but with the safrole taken out. Is it true that one can no longer go down this route for exotic soap making or are there any internet sites left in the u.k that can still offer sassafras in its pure form? Essentially, should I give up and find another hobby??- please pm me if you can help.

guaguanco - 15-1-2004 at 16:03

Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Ford
The nearest I have come to locating this precious oil is in the form of an alcohol extract- which I believe after reading posts on said subject available, but with the safrole taken out. Is it true that one can no longer go down this route for exotic soap making or are there any internet sites left in the u.k that can still offer sassafras in its pure form? Essentially, should I give up and find another hobby??- please pm me if you can help.

I suspect a search through google will yield suppliers that will sell you raw, unmodified oil of sassafras. Whether or not this material is legal in the UK I couldn't tell you.
Should you wish to isolate the safrole (to make extremely exotic ... soap) there are references on the web to tell you how to do that.

If you are really and honestly and truly interested in chemistry....Forge Onward!

Hermes_Trismegistus - 15-1-2004 at 16:22

You will find that there are many ways to skin a cat, and a skinless cat is a thing of beauty.

Sassafras oil is very difficult to procure. There seems to have been some difficulty with society's seedier element using it for some purpose other than its original intent. That will discourage about 95% of those hapless individuals who try to make whatever they make with it, because Johnny Lawman knows that those 95% are just following some shady internet recipe.

The real thorn-in-the-side to John Law has always been clandestine chemists, usually ones with at least some university education. Those guys are simply impossible to stop. Because the beauty of chemistry is that fact that you can make ANYTHING, out of just about anything, IF you are clever enough, and put the effort into researching methods. When John Law closes off one route, those shady individuals just go a different way.

A chemical "recipe" is just like a set of directions, it WILL get you where you want to go. But if you REALLY want to get somewhere, get off the beaten path, and maybe have a few adventures, you need to take the time to learn to use a map and compass. Then no-one can stop you from getting where you want to go, only slow you down or make you work harder to get there.

You will be able to check a map before you leave to see if someone gave you bad directions (there are lots of nasty people in the world that like to do that). And if you do get into trouble you can often get yourself out.


I don't know if you just thought you would impress all your friends making and maybe selling this particular specialty soap that you mentioned. But its not as easy as that, to a chemist it is easy as pie, to a non-chemist, it could be fatal (really!)

But if you really love the stuff and want to try making all sorts of special soaps, and you aren't afraid of books or hard work....take up the hobby and you'll soon be rolling in all the different types of soap your little heart desires.

Betty Ford - 15-1-2004 at 17:07

My interests have come a long way from the basic impulse of people trying to make either a fast buck or impress there friends. It`s like why do people climb mountains?- A greater interest has evolved from my initial endevours but as I know so little still, I have to ask these questions. Thankyou for you humbling comments, at least I’m learning that there are many paths to choose- and that a skinnless cat is a beautiful sight.
…..Back to the maps and compass….

it is

embezzler - 29-1-2004 at 14:33

it is available online look for a us company that deals with magic and essential oils do no order too much. due to the safrole content it is a watched substance but that wouldnt be of any interest to you would it......it is also quite expensive.

Quantum - 29-1-2004 at 20:55

Why is it watched? Is it a mind altering substance?

Hermes_Trismegistus - 29-1-2004 at 22:49

Embezzler, Betty was asking about the UK

Quantum.......sassy's used for making exotic soaps.

don't eat soap, you won't get high, you'll get sick.(UTFSE):P

sassafrass

embezzler - 30-1-2004 at 03:14

in response to quantum..it is not in itself a mind altering substance but the safrole in it can be used as a precourser for some of the nastys....to h-t the soaps are real nice, not surprising that it can not be bought in the uk but it can be bought INTO the uk in small quantities.
dont eat the soap safrole is also rated as a toxic chemical cant remember if it was described as carcinogenic or not.

[Edited on 19-1-2005 by vulture]

tom haggen - 23-10-2004 at 21:05

Safrole is a List I chemical due to the fact that it is a precursor to a schedule I or II controlled substance. Unfortunately this resource has been quite abruptly cut off. I've been doing some research, and haven't really seen any back doors to obtaining this chemical other that fractional distillation of the natural oils. But those seem to be hard to obtain also. Judging on the fact that most of The MDMA in the US seems to be imported I'm sure that these oils will be impossible to obtain in the states. Furthermore, no shady chemists have posted any methods of a back route around the regular method of obtaining this chemical. Although, that is just a matter of time:cool:

FrankRizzo - 25-10-2004 at 14:14

Hmm...what tasty beverage used to contain sassafras? If you do a bit of research, you'll find whatever you desire.

mycoguy - 14-1-2005 at 00:58

Frank, you'll also find out pretty soon that many of these flavorings are safrole-free, or artificial flavorings. Most likely safrole-free, if any thing.

Ah HA!

Hermes_Trismegistus - 14-1-2005 at 08:53

I knew it!

It was only a matter of time.

After seeing the dramatic rise in price of some other common lab reagents I decided to invest in some that might experience a substantial rise in value.

I purchased 2 kg of refined chinese sassy oil with a particularly high safrole content ~98.5 from the now defunct "e-ssential oils" which used to operate out of Vancouver Canada.

That was almost 2 years ago, I really thought that I might have my head up my ass at the time I made that investment.

I'm certainly glad to see that price is finally rising and availability is slipping.

Hermes.

HRH_Prince_Charles - 14-1-2005 at 10:01

I believe that a licence is now required to sell this oil in Canada.

http://www.urbanlegend.ca/stories/sassafras.shtml

[Edited on 14-1-2005 by HRH_Prince_Charles]

Hmm

Hermes_Trismegistus - 14-1-2005 at 15:03

Well I guess I'll just have to make a private sale now won't I.

Religion

Icarus - 14-1-2005 at 17:29

Sassafras is also an essential component of religious worship as a Wiccan.

I would assume that, the Wiccans among you, have strict laws in your countries protecting your right to religious observance. :)

Darkfire - 14-1-2005 at 17:47

Sasafras plants are fairly common and i know at least one person on this board has taken tree root to the finished product. If safrole isnt your way, small scale extraction of black peper, then desctructive boiling with dilute NaOH, then oxydation with KMnO4 will yeild you the aldahyde.

chochu3 - 15-1-2005 at 00:00

You may wanna to look into some plant sources such as juniper virginia, camphor, or illicium v. For more info find a wb archive of rhodiums site.

MD-propenylbenzene, yummy.

CycloKnight - 25-1-2005 at 07:14

Well Betty, so much for removing water from esters...
I am also in the UK.
We in the UK are safrole starved - but there are other ways.
Importing has not been a problem, though steam distillation of the leaves of Piper Auritum is quite doable, though I haven't tried it yet.
I was working on a project for the removal of essential oil from the roots of Sassafras Albidum grown hydroponically, by extracting the hydroponic tank water with solvents - I'll let you know if that works! (I mean intelligently, obviously exracted water will be properly cleansed before put back into the tank)I believe it will work, but that is still ongoing! It will be a safrole factory!! The plant will be kept under a grolight (thats a 400w high pressure sodium, bubba!), and pruned to remain a shrub, not a tree.
I've been growing using hydroponics for years, and some of that Sassafras essential oil of the roots MUST end up in the tank water, how can it not work? Either way, hydroponics produces the most roots anyway, so if the tank water produces dismal yields of safrole (I mean, essential oil, root beer flavouring...) then I will steam distill the roots, though it will kill the plant. But hey, his sacrifice will not be without purpose.
I'm sorry, but the grignard route to safrole in a pain in the butt.

[Edited on 2-13-2005 by Polverone]

phillipwolfe - 26-1-2005 at 22:21

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sassaf20.html
---Synonyms---Sassafras varifolium. Laurus Sassafras. Sassafrax. Sassafras radix.
---Parts Used---Bark-root and the root, pith.
---Habitat---Eastern United States, from Canada to Florida, and Mexico.

The name 'Sassafras,' applied by the Spanish botanist Monardes in the sixteenth century, is said to be a corruption of the Spanish word for saxifrage

JohnWW - 27-1-2005 at 02:39

Does anyone here know of someone who sells sassafras seeds? The plant would certainly grow here in New Zealand. Also black pepper (piper nigrum) seeds, seeing as there is a related native plant in New Zealand that, unfortunately, is unlikely to have much safrole in it, but probably has sufficient kavalactone to be usable as a substitute for Polynesian kava.

Sassafras Albidum

CycloKnight - 28-1-2005 at 13:23

Sold by Sandeman Seeds.

http://www.sandemanseeds.com/acatalog/Trees_S.html

Darkfire - 2-2-2005 at 23:01

Quote:
Originally posted by JohnWW
Does anyone here know of someone who sells sassafras seeds? The plant would certainly grow here in New Zealand. Also black pepper (piper nigrum) seeds, seeing as there is a related native plant in New Zealand that, unfortunately, is unlikely to have much safrole in it, but probably has sufficient kavalactone to be usable as a substitute for Polynesian kava.
Piper negrum yeilds pipironal the aldhyde route to mdma. After Cleavage with NaOH and oxydation with kmno4.

Anyone care to translate from German?

S.C. Wack - 3-2-2005 at 14:14

You keep saying that, so I am going to put this here.

This is the original article on piperonal from oxidation (and much more) of piperic acid, AFAIK, which hasn't been translated anywhere that I've seen. The oft-footnoted Ber. one, 23 2372 (1890) doesn't seem to say anything about isolation of piperonal, they are more interested in the other products of the cleavage of the K piperate. If even piperonal was formed in that one. But I don't speak German so you might want to look in Gallica for yourself.

BTW, in the late 80's I was required to purchase a booklet written by some professor, it contained syntheses of various things. One of the syntheses was piperonal from piperine. Full details and a couple of different routes were given. PCC, THF, KMnO4, and a common PTC were used in those two routes, I don't remember which one was slightly best.

We never did that experiment, and that booklet was lost during A Series of Unfortunate Events. Even many years ago I was unable to find a copy anywhere. Does anyone else remember this booklet?

So anyways, this is Ann. 152, 25-58 (1869) This was made from old photocopies of microfilm, so it looks bad. Anything synthetically useful here, from KMnO4 or otherwise?

Attachment: piperine.djvu (614kB)
This file has been downloaded 2047 times


CherrieBaby - 11-3-2005 at 01:47

CycloKnight said "steam distillation of the leaves of Piper Auritum"
- forget it. Piper Auritum needs a greenhouse to grow in the UK. In the height of summer, your greenhouse will get very hot and the Piper auritum may need to be watered twice a day on the hottest days. You should have a system of automatic ventillation on hot days. You will need a heating system on those cold winter days. You may need artificial lighting on those short winter days. Piper auritum is great for gardeners who like troublesome plants or live in a tropical or Mediterranean climate with mild winters. It is useless for chemists. Betty would be better off growing Sassafras - at least can survive the UK climate.

To germinate Sassafras seeds you need cold stratification (2-5C) for at least a month (2 are better) in moist conditions (too moist and fungi will kill the seed). Tricky.

Betty Ford - "sassafras seems to be completely unobtainable in the U.K."
- I'm sure there are people who can get it but you probably need a legitimate reason. It is not illegal but the essential oil suppliers operate a cartel and are strongly encouraged by the government to "self-regulate"; which means being very careful about who they sell to. Very much like the situation with chemicals (but worse). Sassafras oil is NOT illegal and, so, perfectly legitimate to own.

According to Dutch police reports the majority of MDMA is still made from piperonyl acetone. The precursor being imported from the far east in mislabelled containers at a price about twice that of the market. All their sassy oil clampdown hasn't stopped the street price of 'pills' from falling to just a third of the price of 10 years ago. (the bulk price has fallen even further).

[Edited on 11-3-2005 by CherrieBaby]

Cognos - 19-3-2005 at 13:14

You need to Google a bit harder... A safrole containing oil (90%+) is available from an aromatherepy supplier in the UK... 30ml for about £8 and they have an online ordering system so you don't need to even call them or anything. You'd need to spend about 80 quid for a decent amount which is a little steep relatively speaking. Possibly ordering 10 bottles might be a bit hot, who knows.

mycoguy - 20-3-2005 at 00:54

Quote:
Originally posted by Cognos
You need to Google a bit harder... A safrole containing oil (90%+) is available from an aromatherepy supplier in the UK... 30ml for about £8 and they have an online ordering system so you don't need to even call them or anything. You'd need to spend about 80 quid for a decent amount which is a little steep relatively speaking. Possibly ordering 10 bottles might be a bit hot, who knows.


80 quid for 300ml? WTF? YOU need to google harder!

Cognos - 20-3-2005 at 06:24

So what price have you seen for a 90%+ oil, from a UK supplier who will sell to the general public?? Of course one could order it much cheaper from oversees based companies, but that adds extra risks. If one was in the business of making exotic soap, then considering the amount that could be produced from 270ml of safrole, it is still a bargain at £80 for an obscure, less well known and therefore less suspicious (than sassafras) safrole containing oil.

[Edited on 20-3-2005 by Cognos]

Nerro - 21-3-2005 at 15:07

Eugenole is very similar to safrole. There must be a simple way make safrole out of it. You only need to remove 2 H+.

Is Eugenole easier to come by?

UPDATE!

After UTFSE I discovered (aye matey!) that clove-oil containes 82%~87% eugenole! That should be usefull.

[Edited on 21/3/2005 by Nerro]

This should be useful.

FrankRizzo - 21-3-2005 at 16:03

http://chemlabs1.tripod.com/chemistry/methylenation.html

The site also contains an easy microwave syth.

http://chemlabs1.tripod.com/chemistry/eugenol2safrol.html

[Edited on 22-3-2005 by FrankRizzo]

mycoguy - 21-3-2005 at 23:35

eugenol can also be had OTC, for use in some soft of temporary dental filling. Or so I've heard.

JohnWW - 22-3-2005 at 01:14

Eugenol mixed with some sort of zinc and/or magnesium oxide cement, I think, is in the temporary dental filling.

Nerro - 22-3-2005 at 04:45

correct. It can be found in temporary fillings as as a means of dumbing out the pain you might suffer in a hollow tooth. (what's the word again?)

But as I said, clove oil exists out of 82%~87% eugenole :)

CherrieBaby - 22-3-2005 at 10:42

Quote:

clove-oil containes 82%~87% eugenole!
- not that much. A % of that will be acetyl-Eugenol (~8%) which is NOT the same as Eugenol even thought it can be converted to such. 99% Eugenol can be got from Clove oil via an A/B extraction. Kings Chemistry Survival Guide By Jared B. Ledgard, (ubiquitously available on the net) has a suitable extraction procedure from Cloves which can be modified for Clove Oil. Here is another method from an old Rhodium mirror:
http://chemlabs1.tripod.com/chemistry/guest.eugenol.txt
(Experimental Organic Chemistry"; Durst, Gokel, Durst, Gokel; McGraw Hill; 1980; p. 467.)
Quote:

You only need to remove 2 H+.
- You need to remove the methoxy group and then to add a methylenedioxy group. You can't just remove the two H's (no chemistry I know of will do that).

Eugenol is piss easy to get hold of and those unable to get Eugenol you can get Oil of Cloves from the local Chemist shop or buy larger quantities after a Google search.

This conversion has been haggled over for years on the net. The final conclusion was to do a microwave demethylation using pyridine HCl (perhaps something less nasty will work instead like tri-ethylamine HCl or piperidine HCl? - won't know till it's tried). There are other demethylations too, including other microwave demethylations. Maybe I should post a review?

You need to consider the work-up. Organic base.HCl demethylation should be easy to extract allyl-catechol from, which makes it a winner in my book. This has already been discussed here in post 3373.

The best methylenation looks to be one of those using PTC (from the point of view of OTC reagents) although there was a recent US patent
http://l2.espacenet.com/espacenet/viewer?PN=US5936103&CY...
(USP 5936103) with high yields done in N-methylpyrrolidone solvent.

The relevant Rhodium document to read is
https://www.synthetikal.com/Rhodiums_pdfs/chemistry/methylen...

sassy...

sg43 - 15-4-2005 at 18:29

Hrm.....I donno if this helps but
http://www.sassafrasoil.com/ seems to look pretty good, high prices but they seem to provide alot bigger quanitys...if anyone know if this is a real source please let me know.

Nerro - 16-4-2005 at 01:48

LOL! $1000 for 4,5kg of the oil.

If I were Betty Ford I would jsut buy eugenole somewhere and convert it. As I understand it you don't need any huge quantities anyway. It should be a viable enough way to make your soaps.

[Edited on Mon/Dec/2005 by Nerro]

WHOA!

sg43 - 16-4-2005 at 09:26

4-5 KILOS! are yous serious? first of all you only need about 8-16oz of it....and secondly im sure that would raise some red flags LOL!

JohnWW - 17-4-2005 at 19:22

It would raise some red flags"? Of course, because the stuff is good for you.

tom haggen - 17-4-2005 at 19:44

Heres a synth you safrole buffs might be interested in....

Attachment: Synthesis of Safrole - [www_rhodium_ws].mht (8kB)
This file has been downloaded 2650 times


Just cause im a nice guy

sg43 - 17-4-2005 at 20:24

Im going to let you guys in on a litte secret: http://www.asianexports.cn/products/essentials.html

You can thank me later!!:cool:

ADP - 27-11-2005 at 15:36

Is it not possible to extract sassifras oil from Sassafras Albidum roots?

Perhaps the roots could be cut and soaked in a solvent such as ethanol for some time and then filtered and distilled to obain sassifras oil which is very high in safrole?

Odin - 27-11-2005 at 17:02

safrole is a precurser for MDMA,MMDA as well as MDA.
Safrole and Safron is extracted from the oil from sassafras or can be obtained from the flower ' Crocus Sativa '
I dont have to go into the detail of the amount of flowers required to obtain a satisfactory yield of extract.
Having a field of these flowers is the equivilent of having possesion of a Class A Precurser in Canadian Drug Laws for the purpose of clandistine activities

evil_lurker - 27-11-2005 at 23:59

I'm from the southern USA, and have probably at least a kilogram of sassy growing in frong of my house.

Mind you that is a LOT of digging and steam distilling.

ADP - 29-11-2005 at 17:43

So the general method for the extraction would be simply steam distillation of roots. I like the root beer smell.

moecat - 3-12-2005 at 20:21

Quote:
Originally posted by ADP
Is it not possible to extract sassifras oil from Sassafras Albidum roots?

Perhaps the roots could be cut and soaked in a solvent such as ethanol for some time and then filtered and distilled to obain sassifras oil which is very high in safrole?

I like to think there's little difference between a steam distilled oil and the vacuum distillate of say....a hexane extraction.

[Edited on 4-12-2005 by moecat]

hell.fire - 11-12-2005 at 20:29

There are many sources for safrole. Ive found at least 5 sources in the UK. Here's a clue search Star Anise it contains safrole and you can get 1kg of the actual plant for £12. There's loads of plants available just keep searching google it takes time and patience to find reliable sources but it will pay off in the end. ;)

CherrieBaby - 12-12-2005 at 00:19

Star Anise contains anethole in larger quantities, which has very similar properties to safrole and is very difficult to separate. Anethole undergoes similar reactions to iso-safrole and will give PMMA. You will end up getting a very different experience to the expected MDMA one.

I hope no one follows your advice and uses Star Anise.

hell.fire - 12-12-2005 at 04:52

Wow your right ive done more searching in to it and it would seem your right. But still tere's loads of plants left seriously it just takes time. According to Rhodium nut-meg can be used it contains 120 - 2,720 ppm in Seed not much but there's some there all you have to do is separate the mycristin (sp) form the safrole.

EDIT: Lol just been doing some more searching on google and i've found sassafras albidium available in the UK.



'albidum'
very upright tree spreading by suckers with aromatic leaves and good autumn colour. A rare tree in the UK
Small £9.75 or Large £22.50 or Specimen £45.00

[Edited on 12-12-2005 by hell.fire]

Fast Green FCF - 27-5-2015 at 15:35

Quote: Originally posted by CherrieBaby  
Star Anise contains anethole in larger quantities, which has very similar properties to safrole and is very difficult to separate. Anethole undergoes similar reactions to iso-safrole and will give PMMA. You will end up getting a very different experience to the expected MDMA one.

I hope no one follows your advice and uses Star Anise.


Boiling Point of Anethole = 233-235 deg C

Boiling Point of Safrole = 232-234 deg C

Boiling Point of Isosafrole = 253 deg C

Althought it is true you can't easily separate it from the safrole, the isosafrole will be easy to purify with a simple fractional distillation.

Shikimol69 - 6-6-2015 at 18:58

It is now very difficult to get essential oil with significant safrole content. Forget about sassafras, nowadays camphor oil is really easy to source, more specifically brown camphor oil.
But I will tell you something : if you buy brown camphor oil you will have a very bad surprise. Sellers, from east to west, apply specific treatments that are destructive for safrole and this is never specified. They don't remove it, and can still claim that oils afford all benefits of safrole (what I seriously doubt, if the molecule can't be found intact it just lost its properties). BUT you can ask to some of these companies to send you unmodified oil with high crude safrole content. The price will not be the same, it will rise just as the risk to get caught by the nice people at the customs!
BTW, any UK seller listing oils with high safrole content just lie (also rectified oil or just "fragrance"), safrole is banned over the international platform...

[Edited on 7-6-2015 by Shikimol69]