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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Apiol \A"pi*ol\, n. [L. apium parsley + -ol.] (Med.) An oily liquid derived from parsley.


n. (context organic chemistry English) A particular aromatic compound found in parsley


For the phenylpropene derivative, see apiole.

Apiol, also known as 'liquid apiol' or 'green oil of parsley' is the extracted oleoresin of parsley, rather than the distilled oil. Due to its similarity to the term apiole, care should be taken to avoid confusion. Apiol is an irritant and, in high doses, it can cause liver and kidney damage. Cases of death due to attempted abortion using apiol have been reported.

Hippocrates wrote about parsley as a herb to cause an abortion. Plants containing apiole were used by women in the Middle Ages to terminate pregnancies.

Its use was widespread in the US, 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.

Now that safer methods of abortion are available, apiol is almost forgotten.