Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)
What is it?
Benzoic acid (C7H6O2) is a colorless crystalline copound. It is one of the benzoates, which also includes sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate. Among the foods in which benzoic acid occurs naturally are cranberries, prunes, plums, cinnamon, ripe cloves, and most berries. As an inactive ingredient in the pharmaceutical industry, it is used as antimicrobial preservative, antifungal, and tablet and capsule lubricant. Benzoic acid has been used in combination with salicylic acid, as in Whitfield's ointment, for use as an antifungal for athlete's foot and ringworm. Benzoic acid is also a precursor to many chemical reactions yielding organic compounds. When absorbed systemically, it is conjugated to glycine in the liver and excreted as hippuric acid; it is not considered highly toxic.