Properties and Uses of Methyl Cinnamate

Aug. 06, 2022

Methyl cinnamate is the methyl ester of cinnamic acid and is a white or clear solid with a strong aromatic odour. It occurs naturally in a variety of plants, including fruits (e.g. strawberries) and some culinary spices (e.g. Sichuan pepper and some basil). The oil-producing eucalyptus tree has the highest concentration of methyl cinnamate (98%), ranging from 2% to 6% fresh weight in the leaves and shoots.


Methyl cinnamate is used in the flavor and fragrance industry. It has a fruity and strawberry flavor. Sweet, aromatic, fruity and reminiscent of cinnamon and strawberries. It is known to attract the males of various orchid bees, such as the cyanobacteria (Aglae caerulea). Methyl cinnamate is used as a fragrance ingredient in cosmetics and household products. In whitening and sunscreen, the effect of methyl cinnamate is obvious. It is also used in soaps, detergents, flavor agents and pastries.

Crystals of methyl cinnamate are extracted from cinnamon eucalyptus using steam distillation. Methyl cinnamate has a fruity aroma similar to that of strawberries with a corresponding sweetness. It can be prepared by esterifying cinnamic acid with methanol using HCL as a catalyst; or by adding HCL to a boiling solution of cinnamonitrile in methanol.

Methyl cinnamate has a fruity aroma similar to that of strawberries with a corresponding sweetness. White to pale yellow fused crystals.

Properties and Uses of Methyl Cinnamate

Chemical properties

It appears as white to slightly yellow crystals with a cherry and fragrant ester aroma {or gas. It has a melting point of 34°C, a boiling point of 260°C, a refractive index (nD20) of 1.5670 and a relative density (d435) of 1.0700. It is soluble in ethanol, ether, glycerol, and propylene glycol. It is found mainly in non-volatile oils and mineral oils and is insoluble in water.

The natural product is contained in basil oil (up to 52%), galangal oil and cinnamon oil.

Method of preparation

It is prepared by the esterification of cinnamic acid with methanol. A mixture of cinnamic acid, methanol and sulphuric acid (or hydrochloric acid) is heated to reflux for 5 hours, then an excess of methanol is added. The acid layer is cooled and separated, washed with water and 10% sodium carbonate solution and then washed with water to neutral. The crude product was recrystallised or vacuum distilled [collecting 132-134°C (2.0 kPa) fractions] to give methyl cinnamate in about 70% yield.


Reportedly found in the oil of the rhizome of Malvaceae, in the oil of the leaves of Acacia sylvestris. In the oil of Narcissus jonquilla L.; in the rhizome oil of the rhizomes of asparagus. Two isomers (cis and trans) are naturally present. Also reported in cranberry, guava, pineapple, strawberry fruit and jam, cinnamon leaves, camembert, cocoa, avocado, plum, prune, wild berry, poppy, plum brandy, rhubarb, bailey (Aegle marmelos Correa), lo and bourbon vanilla.

As a Methyl cinnamate supplier,Wuhan LANDMARK Industrial Co., Ltd. has an independent research and development center, with independent research and development capabilities and rich production experience, advanced production technology, complete testing equipment. The company specializes in the research, development, production and sales of cinnamon series flavors and fragrances, fine chemicals, and food additives. The company's main products are: cinnamic acid, cinnamaldehyde, cinnamon alcohol, methyl cinnamate, ethyl cinnamate, benzaldehyde and so on. 

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