White, crystalline solid organic compound used chiefly to make aspirin and other pharmaceutical products, including methyl salicylate (oil of wintergreen, for medicines and flavourings), phenyl salicylate (for sunburn creams and pill coatings), and salicylanilide (a cutaneous fungicide). Its molecular structure, with the formula CH(OH)COOH, consists of a six-membered aromatic ring (see aromatic compound) having a hydroxyl group (OH) and a carboxyl group (COOH) bonded to adjacent carbon atoms; as such, it is both a phenol and a carboxylic acid. It and certain derivatives occur naturally in some plants, particularly species of Spiraea and Salix (willow). Large amounts are used in producing certain dyes.
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