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Eugenol

BP: 253C@760mm - 124C@10mm
MP: -9C

 

Eugenol is the main ingredient in most types of clove oil. It is responsible for the majority of the smell as well as the analgesic properties. For chemists it is moderately useless unless you're experimenting with phenethylamines. At the time of writing this, it's main attraction is a 6 step route to MDMA using mostly OTC precursors, without any DEA attention. However, I'm sure shortly after posting my method, it will become regulated just like everything else. Pure eugenol can be anything from a water-white to slightly yellow clear liquid. It is very pleasant smelling in low concentrations, but can become overpowering in large concentrations. An interesting point of eugenol is it's immediate topical anesthetic properties, used conveniently for quick pain relief of tooth aches. It can be applied to a cotton swab and introduced to the area around the tooth to numb the pain. Upon it touching your tongue, it will give a quick but intense tingly sensation (almost painful) abruptly followed by numbness.

Eugenol from Essentail Oil

Essential oils can be purchased in large quantities (at the time of writing this) which contain eugenol. These include Clove oil, cinnamon oil, nutmeg oil, and bay leaf oil. By far, the best oil is clove oil, with eugenol being the major constituent. If through clove oil, take note that there are three different types of clove oil: Bud oil, Stem oil, and leaf oil. Bud oil can contain anywhere from 60-90% eugenol. Stem oil can contain anywhere from 90-95% eugenol, and leaf oil can contain anywhere from 80-90% eugenol. Stem oil is hard to find, but leaf oil is usually quite easy (at the time of writing this). For this write-up, I used leaf oil.

Materials
Equipment
Eugenol containing essentail oil Distillation Equipment (vacuum recommended)

Into a 500ml boiling flask, pour ~120ml (4oz) of your essential oil. Drop a stir bar in (note A) and set-up for vacuum distillation (note B). In the receiver flask, mark your theoretical minimum volume of eugenol. This means mark it at 68ml for bud oil, 91ml for leaf oil, and 102ml for stem oil. Put it all together and pull the tightest vacuum you can with your vacuum pump. Use a nomograph to predict the boiling point with what you can pull and heat up to that. It is recommended to discard the first ml, however with a vacuum set-up, it's simply not worth it. Distill your product until you hit your theoretical minimum, then pay close attention to the thermometer and the contents of the boiling flask. You wont know the boiling point of the next compound in there, so you have to watch out for a change over. If boiling subsides or reduces, then resumes and the temperature has shot of 5 degrees, you can safely assume it is now distilling a new product. Count your blessing and stop it early, as opposed to trying to sqeeze every last drop out. You should now have a decent amount of >98% pure eugenol in the flask. Redistill with fractioning column for a higher purity, but this is usually sufficient for everything. It should be a clear to slightly yellow liquid, with the characteristic clove smell to it. Without a magnetic stirrer, I obtained 90ml (~96g) of pure eugenol from 4oz of leaf clove oil.

Clove oil: $18.34 / 4oz (~120ml)
Yeild: 90ml (~96g)
Cost: $0.19/gram ($0.20/ml)

 

 

 

Note A: If you do not have a magnetic stirrer, and you choose to use vacuum, you must take alternative measures. Use a larger boiling flask to compensate for bumping. The use of a fractioning column would be ideal, but if you had one of those you would probably have a magstirrer. Use an excessive amount of boiling chips to help create nucleation points. If observed bumping is still too hard, have the thermometer stick into the liquid and touch the inside of the flask. As the temperature increases, move the thermometer slightly to scrape the inside of the flask. This will create a nucleation point as long as you keep doing it, and will reduce bumping significantly.

Note B: You can distill at atmospheric pressure if you do not have a vacuum pump. Decomposition of the eugenol will be negligable, however purity might suffer slightly. The main concern would be oil bath temperatures. To get the essential oil around it's atmospheric boiling point (253C) the oil bath would have to be around 260-270, which is about 500F. The oil will burn and smoke. It could be a potential fire hazzard depending on the oil. Generic vegetable oil seemed to do well for me in my tests, with minimal smoking but significant burning.