|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2009)|
|CAS number||clarification needed][|
|Jmol-3D images||Image 1|
|Molar mass||222.23 g/mol|
|Melting point||30 °C|
|Boiling point||294 °C|
|Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)|
|(what is: / ?)|
Apiol is an organic chemical compound, also known as parsley apiol, apiole or parsley camphor. It is found in the essential oils of celery leaf and all parts of parsley. Heinrich Christoph Link, an apothecary in Leipzig, discovered the substance in 1715 as greenish crystals reduced by steam from oil of parsley. In 1855 Joret and Homolle discovered that apiol was an effective treatment of amenorrea or lack of menstruation.
In medicine it has been used, as essential oil or in purified form, for the treatment of menstrual disorders. It is an irritant and in high doses it is toxic and can cause liver and kidney damage.
Plants containing apiol were used by women in the Middle Ages to terminate pregnancies. Its use was widespread in the USA, often as ergoapiol or apergol, until a highly toxic adulterated product containing apiol and tri-ortho-cresyl phosphate (also famous as the adulterant added to Jamaican ginger) was introduced on the American market.
The toxic effects of pure crystalline apiol are disputed. It causes a "relatively safe abortion" in pregnant women if taken in small quantities. It also restores the cycle of menstruation. A larger dose does not cause an abortion, it causes nausea and damages the liver and kidneys.
Now that other methods of abortion are available apiol is almost forgotten in the West, but it is still produced and is used in the Middle East.
- Krishnamurthy, K. (2008). Chemistry of Spices. Calicut, Kerala, India: Biddles Ltd. pp. 380 & 404. ISBN 9781845934057.
- Edward Shorter: A history of women's bodies New York 1982 Bulletin géneral de thérapeutique médicale, No. 158, 1909 (A history of apiol and abortions)
- Apiol chemical information from chemindustry.com
- Apiol in the ChemIDplus database
- Essential oil from fennel plants--studies on the composition