Linalool is a colorless monoterpenol which is found in more than 200 medicinal plants and herbs, and in some trees including birch. Because of the very pleasant floral scent this well-known terpene has a wide range of applications. Linalool is found in many essential oils of plants, such as lavender, cannabis, rosewood, coriander and mint.
The odor is only detectable when the molecules are mixed with gas or air. This makes them volatile so that the smell receptors in the nose, of which there are about 10 million, can be activated. Linalool is also known under the names ß-linalool, licareol, coriandrol and linalyl alcohol.
Well-known for the scent of lavender
Linalool is best known for the popular scent of lavender. But, like the terpene limonene, linalool exists of two enantiomers (stereoisomers) which each spreads its own specific aroma:
- (R) - (+) - Linalool or licareol - Found in lavender, laurel and sweet basil
- (S) - (-) - Linalool or coriandrol - Found in coriander, palmarosa and sweet orange
Although both stereoisomers react very similar and have the same properties, such as the same density or a similar boiling point, they spread two different scents. (S)-Linalool is typified as a sweet floral scent, while (R)-linalool is observed as a real lavender fragrance.
What beneficial effect does linalool have?
- Anticonvulsant (reduces epilepsy)
- Anti-tumor properties
- Anxiolytic (known as a tranquilizer and inhibits anxiety)
- Antihistamine (suppresses allergic reactions)
- Antiviral (effective against viruses)
The monoterpenol linalool is known as a starting material, also referred to as a precursor, which is of great worth in the formation of vitamin E. It has traditionally been used as a medication to incite sleep and to relieve pain. In addition, it is also used for the treatment of anxiety and psychosis, and it may reduce epileptic seizures.
Also, it is used to combat all kinds of pests, such as fleas, mosquitoes, fruit flies, or cockroaches. Due to the special fragrance linalool is also widely used in the perfume and cosmetics industry. The pleasant scented terpene is used in 60 to 80% of all soaps, lotions and shampoos.
Chemical data of linalool
- The chemical formula of linalool is: C10H18O
- The molar mass is: 154.56 g/mol
- The systematic name is called: 3,7-dimethyl-1,6-octadien-3-ol
- Boiling point: 198 °C / 388 °F
- Melting point: <−20 °C / −4 °F
- Flash point: 55 - 75 °C
- Ignition temperature: 235 °C
- Vapor pressure: 0.17 mmHg (25 °C)
- Density: 0.8700 g/cm³
- Appearance: Liquid
- Color: Colorless
- Perfectly soluble in ethanol, diethyl ether and chloroform
- Linalool is poorly soluble in water (only 1.5 gr. is soluble in a liter of water)
In which plants and herbs does linalool occur?