Sandalwood can be found in the southern tropical forests. It grows in India, Southeast Asia and Ceylon. Its unique wood is very valuable in these countries, because it has long been used to rejuvenate, enhance immunity, get rid of pathogenic bacteria.
In addition, it is well established in aromatherapy. Wood-oriental scent of sandalwood relieves stress and tension, helps prevent headaches.
On the basis of the acid contained in this exotic plant, they make a food additive E166 - a dye, which is called so-sandalwood.
Main characteristics of food supplements
You can often hear the name sandalwood, but it has long been considered obsolete. This dye has other names: Santal, Santalin, Santalwood.
In the middle of the twentieth century, the International Agricultural Organization assigned this substance the E166 index, which attributed it to the category of food additives. This product belongs to the group of dyes, but at the same time has remarkable properties of a preservative. Previously, such a pigment was mined exclusively by natural means. For this, the characteristic burgundy color of the core of sandalwood was crushed. However, now the cutting of this exotic plant is prohibited, because due to its valuable properties, it is on the verge of extinction. It is used exclusively for the extraction of unique essential oil, which is widely used in the perfume industry.
Therefore, red pigments for the manufacture of such a food additive are isolated from other tree species with red wood. The resulting raw material is treated with ethyl alcohol or ether, and then extracted with various solvents, which usually are: chloroform, hexane or lead acetate. Since chemical processes are used to produce this food additive, it is included in the group of synthetic substances.
Santalin has a bright saturated red color and looks like a crystalline powder, and sometimes a liquid. It is very soluble in acids and alkalis, as well as in ethers and ethyl alcohol. Absolutely insoluble in cold water, slightly soluble in hot. The smell of such a substance is absent.
In alkaline solutions, the additive E166 changes color to purple. Also, violet hue gets chips when interacting with air, and eventually turns into blue.
An interesting fact is that there are about thirty five sandalwood species. Some of them are quite entertaining, for example, a log wood has the same red wood as other members of its kind, but when it is processed it turns out a blue dye, rather than the expected red color.
Use of food supplement E166
In Russia, the food additive E166 is not produced and is not supplied. And some concerns in Germany use this synthetic dye in the manufacture of paints for fabrics. Among these stand out:
- Brauns Heitmann GmbH;
- Kreul and others.
Sandalwood dye is not widely used in the Russian Federation. But in the industry of India it can be found in the composition of various spices, toothpastes, tea blends and many powders that are used for fumigating the premises.
In addition, this food dye is widely used in the cosmetic industry. Based on it, they prepare balsams, perfume soap and hair dyes. By the way, such an additive is also available in luxury products made in Germany and France. Basically there it is used for the manufacture of hair dye.
In the textile industry, sandalwood-based dyes are often used to dye fabrics produced by German factories.
Previously, this food coloring E166 was very often used for painting icons, but due to the very high cost of raw materials, the use of this substance had to be stopped.
If you combine this substance with salts of iron oxide, you can get black and purple ink, which is very popular in China and beyond.
Harmful and dangerous properties of food coloring E166
Until now, scientists in various countries are studying this substance and its effects on the human body. At the moment, it is reliably known that the addition of sandalwood is toxic and can cause poisoning when taken in food.
In addition, some negative effect of this food dye on the work of the endocrine glands was noticed. The use of E166 in the food industry is prohibited on the territory of the Russian Federation and some other countries, since its influence on the human body has not yet been fully studied.
Sandalwood is a beautiful bright red dye obtained by synthesizing chemicals. In the international classifier of food additives is marked with the sign E166. However, it is unlikely that an appropriate marker can be found on any foodstuffs, since the use of this food additive in the Russian Federation and abroad is prohibited. Scientists have not yet figured out what harm such a synthetic substance can do to human health, but it is known for certain that there is no benefit from it.
Such a substance is used exclusively for industrial purposes for the production of hair dyes and fabrics. Eating it can cause poisoning and malfunction of some endocrine glands.