ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Coumarin: Origin, History, Risks and Uses

Updated on June 21, 2015


Coumarin is a natural substance found in many plants such as sweet clover, cinnamon, licorice, tonka beans, lavender, strawberries, apricots and cherries. Generally, the geographical location of the substance will be primarily where the source plants are located. Sweet clover are found growing in arid and open areas. Originally, sweet clover is native to North Africa, Europe and temperate zone of Asia. Through time, it has been imported to North America for cultivation. Other geographical areas where the source plants or seeds that produces coumarin are found include Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Madagascar, Southern Europe, Central America, Northern South America, Cape Verde, Canary Islands, Southwest Asia to Southeast India, Armenia, Italy and North America.

Sweet Clover, Source of Coumarin


True Cinnamon

Cinnamon Sticks


History of Coumarin

Historically, coumarin was extracted in the 1800s by various scientists. First, a German named A. Vogel in 1820 followed by Nicholas G. Guibourt in the same year. Later on, a French Pharmacist also isolated the same product as coumarin. It derived its name from a French term for the tonka bean, coumarou, which was one of the sources it was isolated as natural product in 1820.

Medicinal Uses

Coumarin has been used in many applications. Some of which are medicinal in nature while others are as cosmetics, for social use as in alcohol drinks, and food products. Natural coumarin that are isolated may not be added to food products. Only about 2 milligrams of coumarin per kilogram of food is added to flavouring foods especially when it is from a part of a plant. Due to liver concern, it has been banned as a flavorant food additive. In pharmaceutical applications, coumarin, a vitamin K blocker, has been employed as a reagent in the manufacturing of a number of pharmaceuticals such as warfarin and in some other rodent poisoning substances. Some of the disease categories in which coumarin has been found to be useful include cancer, hypertension, arrthymia, inflammatory process, osteoporosis, asthma and edema. Certain anticoagulant class like 4-hydroxycoumarin has been formulated to exhibit higher strength and concentration and thereby possess long half life in the resident body. This makes them excellent product as pesticides. Coumarin by itself actually seem to function as a pesticide around its parent plant.

Coumarin Sources, Products and Structure


Other Uses

Coumarin has been used for many other purposes other than medical use. It has been employed in perfumes, fabric conditioners, aroma enhancers, alcoholic drinks, as spice for cinnamon, dye lasers, as a sensitizer, toilet soap, tooth paste and hair preparations.

Issues with Coumarin

Despite all the benefits provided by coumarin, it has its downside. Consumption of cinnamon-flavored foods, drinks, or food supplements may pose a higher risk of liver damage according to report in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. There are variations in the coumarin content of cinnamon products. Ceylon cinnamon foundin Sri Lanka tends to have lower coumarin while cinnamon found in Indonesia and China, known as Cassia cinnamon, appear to have very high coumarin content. Therefore, it is possible that people who consume more of cassia cinnamon may face the risk of liver damage.


Many products have been supported by the addition of coumarin. As a result, products like warfarin, pesticides, toilet soap, hair preparation items and sensitizers have been useful in our society. Source plants for coumarin also have been grownacross the world. Sweet clover and lavender can be located in non original locations just as other plants. Coumarins are extracted from its source plant and are used in products like soap and hair preparation products. As of date, there has not been much direct report regarding side effect other than liver concern.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)