Author Topic: 80% safrole in piper auritum leaf oil  (Read 2442 times)

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  • Guest
80% safrole in piper auritum leaf oil
« on: June 30, 2002, 07:48:00 AM »
piper auritum kunth

englisch: sacred pepper, mexican pepper leaves, rootbeer plant
spanisch: hoja santa, yerba santa, acuyo

the essential oil of the leafs (0.2% in the fresh leafs)
contains the odoriferous safrole (up to 80%)


  • Guest
70-90% safrole from piper auritum
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2002, 07:54:00 AM »
Juniapa-hinojo sabalero

piper auritum H. B. K.


Grows wild in abundance in open areas in tropical Central
and Southern America. ...

On steam distillation leaves give a mobile clear liquid with a
characteristic odour of "root beer". Yield of oil has been
reported at 0.17% with a safrole content of 70% (Gupta).

As an alternative to sassafras oil or as a source of essential
oil containing Safrole ...

In Panama it is used as a food condiment and as a fish bait
(Joly). In Mexico it is used as a house plant because of the
heart shaped colourful leaves.

Natural cultivation as secondary vegetation after clearing the
high perennial evergreen forest.

Wilting prior to distillation is required

By hydrodistillation of the dried herb. Water/steam or steam
distillation is satisfactory. The temperature of the condensate
is critical as emulsion or top/bottom separation can result.

The sun dried exhausted herb can be utilized as a fuel.

Safrole up to 90%

Forty components have been identified (Gupta)


GUPTA, MAHABIR P., ARIAS, TOMAS D., "Safrole, The Main Component
of the essential oil from Piper auritum of Panama". "Journal of
Natural Products" Vol 43 no 2
Mar -Apr pp 3303431.

JOLY, L.G. "Feeding and Trapping Fish with Piper auritum".
"Economic Botany 1981 Vol 35 No 4 pp 383-390


  • Guest
safrole in piper auritum
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2002, 08:00:00 AM »
journal of natural products, 1985 48(2), 330
"safrole, the main component of the essential oil from piper auritum of panama"


  • Guest
piper auritum seed germination
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2002, 08:06:00 AM »
funct ecol, 1993 7(4): 395-402
"effect of maternal light environment on seed germination in piper auritum"
a orozco-segovia, m e sanchez-coronado, c vazquez-yanes

funct ecol, 1993 7(5): 585-590
"light environment and phytochrome controlled germination in piper auritum"
a orozco-segovia, m e sanchez-coronado

new phytologist, 1982 92: 477-485
"phytochrome control of seed germination in two tropical rain
forest pioneer trees: cecropia obustifolia and piper auritum
and its ecological significance"

c vazquez-yanes, h smith


  • Guest
The oil is available, but it's quite expensive.
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2002, 08:54:00 AM »
The oil is available, but it's quite expensive. If you can cultivate it, it would be a great source. Oil costs 240 usd for 4 oz.

We'll soon find out if I'm a chemist or not!


  • Guest
Can piper auritum bee cultivated?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2002, 11:09:00 PM »
Polythene Sam was kind enough to repost parts of my "Who Eats Parsnips?" thread after the Zonez folded.

If you are fortunate enough to live in a warm moist region, the more relevant question is not whether you can cultivate Piper auritum, but whether you can stop its propagation when you decide you've got enough safrole for now.

It is grown and/or wildcrafted throughout Mexico, half of Texas, and Central America as a food plant. It is also naturalized in a lot of places (Florida, Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji) it's not wanted. That's because the people in those places don't know how to bake fish in it. It is the herb Hoja santa.

a half a pints a half a pound a half a world a half a round
Sidearm n. Flask neck tube.


  • Guest
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2002, 11:54:00 PM »
Anybody with a good source for seeds?


  • Guest
grows as far north as zone 8
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2002, 06:53:00 AM »
Piper auritum grows as far north as zone 8 - check out:

USA Zone Map


European Zone Map


But it will grow slowly up here. An ambient day temperature of up to 35C is OK for them (greenhouse). They like lots of water. Foliar feed once a week. A garden full of them might get you as much as 1 oz of sassy oil a year (or so I estimate). I can't yet tell because I don't have a garden full of them!

propagation is by:
a) suckers
b) cuttings
c) seeds

Suckers - Difficult to take suckers without damaging the root system of the parent plant - which will retard the growth of the parent plant. Not recommended unless you have at least 5 underground shoots to repot. Don't expect the parent plant to do so well for at least a month afterwards as it repairs it's roots.

Cuttings - Easy. By 'cutting' I mean taken from a shoot above ground. When a side branch has at least 3 leaves it can be cut as near to the main stem as possible. Wet base. Dip in hormone to depth of ~ 15mm. Put in wet vermiculate (soaked once a day thereafter). Keep pots in moist incubator. Mist leaves as often as possible. Roots form in 2-3 weeks. Examine after 3 weeks. Plant out in peat-compost after roots are at least 25mm long.

Seeds - Who can say where you can find them. I'll post a list of suppliers here but don't even try until the Autuum. Seeds may not be produced by plants grown outside their normal environment and may not be fertile unless first digested by a Costa Rican bat!

Note: this can only be a hobby to all but the farmers here.