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The Therapeutic Benefits of Essential Oils



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The Therapeutic Benefits of Essential Oils
Abdelouaheb Djilani1 and Amadou Dicko2
1LSBO, BADJI MOKHTAR-Annaba University,
2LCME, Metz University,
1. Introduction
Since ancient times, essential oils are recognized for their medicinal value and they are very
interesting and powerful natural plant products. They continue to be of paramount
importance until the present day. Essential oils have been used as perfumes, flavors for
foods and beverages, or to heal both body and mind for thousands of years (Baris et al.,
2006; Margaris et al., 1982; Tisserand, 1997; Wei & Shibamoto 2010). Record findings in
Mesopotamia, China, India, Persia and ancient Egypt show their uses for many treatments
in various forms. For example, in the ancient Egypt, the population extracted oils by
infusion. Later; Greeks and Romans used distillation and thus gave aromatic plants an
additional value. With the advent of Islamic civilization, extraction techniques have been
further refined. In the era of the Renaissance, Europeans have taken over the task and with
the development of science the composition and the nature of essential oils have been well
established and studied (Burt, 2004; Peeyush et al., 2011; Steven, 2010; Suaib et al., 2007).
Nowadays, peppermint, lavender, geranium, eucalyptus, rose, bergamot, sandalwood and
chamomile essential oils are the most frequently traded ones.
2. Definition and localization of essential oils
Essential oils (also called volatile or ethereal oils, because they evaporate when exposed to
heat in contrast to fixed oils) are odorous and volatile compounds found only in 10% of the
plant kingdom and are stored in plants in special brittle secretory structures, such as glands,
secretory hairs, secretory ducts, secretory cavities or resin ducts (Ahmadi et al., 2002; Bezić
et al., 2009; Ciccarelli et al., 2008; Gershenzon et al., 1994; Liolios et al., 2010; Morone-
Fortunato et al., 2010; Sangwan et al., 2001; Wagner et al., 1996). The total essential oil
content of plants is generally very low and rarely exceeds 1% (Bowles, 2003), but in some
cases, for example clove (Syzygium aromaticum) and nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), it reaches
more than 10%. Essential oils are hydrophobic, are soluble in alcohol, non polar or weakly
polar solvents, waxes and oils, but only slightly soluble in water and most are colourless or
pale yellow, with exception of the blue essential oil of chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and
most are liquid and of lower density than water (sassafras, vetiver, cinnamon and clove
essential oils being exceptions) (Gupta et al., 2010; Martín et al., 2010). Due to their
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molecular structures (presence of olefenic double bonds and functional groups such as
hydroxyl, aldehyde, ester); essential oils are readily oxidizable by light, heat and air (Skold
et al., 2006; Skold et al., 2008). Some examples of oxidations are illustrated in figure 1.
β-caryophyllene caryophyllene oxide
Fig. 1. a. Oxidation (ox.) of β-caryophyllene by air at room temperature.
linalyl acetate
1: 7-hydroper-oxy-3,7-dimethylocta-1,5-diene-3-yl acetate
2: 3,6-hydroperoxy-3,7-dimethylocta-1,7-diene-3-yl acetate
3: 6,7-epoxy-3,7-dimethyl-1-octene-3-yl acetate
4:7-hydroxy-3,7-dimethylocta-1,5-diene-3-yl acetate
Fig. 1.b. Oxidation (ox.) of linalyl acetate and linalool by air at room temperature.
3. Extraction of essential oils
Oils contained within plant cells are liberated through heat and pressure from various parts
of the plant matter; for example, the leaves, flowers, fruit, grass, roots, wood, bark, gums
and blossom. The extraction of essential oils from plant material can be achieved by various
methods, of which hydro-distillation, steam and steam/water distillation are the most
common method of extraction (Bowles, 2003; Margaris et al., 1982; Surburg & Panten, 2006).
Other methods include solvent extraction, aqueous infusion, cold or hot pressing, effleurage,
The Therapeutic Benefits of Essential Oils
supercritical fluid extraction and phytonic process (Da Porto et al., 2009; Hunter, 2009;
Lahlou, 2004; Martínez, 2008; Pourmortazavi & Hajimirsadeghi, 2007; Surburg & Panten,
2006). This later process has been newly developed; it uses refrigerant hydrofluorocarbons
solvents at low temperatures (below room temperature), resulting in good quality of the
extracted oils. Thus, the chemical composition of the oil, both quantitative and qualitative,
differs according to the extraction technique. For example, hydro-distillation and steam-
distillation methods yield oils rich in terpene hydrocarbons. In contrast, the super-critical
extracted oils contained a higher percentage of oxygenated compounds (Donelian et al.,
2009; Eikani et al., 2007; Reverchon, 1997; Wenqiang et al., 2007).
Essential oils are highly complex mixtures of volatile compounds, and many contain about
20 to 60 individual compounds, albeit some may contain more than 100 different
components (Miguel, 2010; Sell, 2006; Skaltsa et al., 2003; Thormar, 2011), such as jasmine,
lemon and cinnamon essential oils.
The major volatile constituents are hydrocarbons (e.g. pinene, limonene, bisabolene),
alcohols (e.g. linalol, santalol), acids (e.g. benzoic acid, geranic acid), aldehydes (e.g. citral),
cyclic aldehydes (e.g. cuminal), ketones (e.g. camphor), lactones (e.g. bergaptene), phenols
(e.g. eugenol), phenolic ethers (e.g. anethole), oxides (e.g. 1,8 cineole) and esters (e.g. geranyl
acetate) (Deans, 1992). All these compounds may be classified into two main categories:
terpenoids and phenylpropanoids (Andrade et al., 2011; De Sousa, 2011; Griffin et al., 1999;
Lis-Balchin, 1997; Sangwan et al., 2001) or also into hydrocarbons and oxygenated
compounds (Akhila, 2006; Halm, 2008; Hunter, 2009; Margaris et al. 1982; Pourmortazavi
and Hajimirsadeghi, 2007; Shibamoto, 2010). This latter classification seems less complex,
and for the current book chapter, we have adopted it. The fragrance and chemical
composition of essential oils can vary according to the geo-climatic location and growing
conditions (soil type, climate, altitude and amount of water available), season (for example
before or after flowering), and time of day when harvesting is achieved, etc (Andrade et al.,
2011; Deans et al., 1992; Margaris et al., 1982; Pengelly, 2004; Sangwan et al., 2001). In
addition, there is another important factor that influences the chemical composition of
essential oils, namely the genetic composition of the plant. Therefore, all these biotope
factors (genetic and epigenetic) influence the biochemical synthesis of essential oils in a
given plant. Thus, the same species of plant can produce a similar essential oil, however
with different chemical composition, resulting in different therapeutic activities. These
variations in chemical composition led to the notion of chemotypes. The chemotype is
generally defined as a distinct population within the same species (plant or microorganism)
that produces different chemical profiles for a particular class of secondary metabolites.
Some examples of various chemotypes are given in Table 1:
Plant Chemotype 1 Chemotype 2 Chemotype 3
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) Thymol Thujanol Linalool
Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) Menthol Carvone Limonene.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) Camphor 1,8 cineole Verbenone
Dill (Anethum graveolens L.) Carvone Limonene Phellandrene
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Mill.)Linalool Linalyl acetate β-Caryophyllene
Table 1. Main chemotypes of some aromatic plants
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4. Trade of essential oils
The knowledge of composition of essential oils and their therapeutic properties have
contributed to the development of their cultivation and markets. Although only 100 species
are well known for their essential oils, there are over 2000 plant species distributed over 60
families such as Lamiaceae, Umbelliferae and Compositae which can biosynthesize essential
oils. They are about 3,000 essential oils, out of which approximately 300 are commercially
important and are traded in the world market (Baylac and Racine, 2003; Burt, 2004;
Delamare et al., 2007; Sivropoulou et al., 1995; 1996; 1997).
Essential oils constitute a major group of agro-based industrial products and they find
applications in various types of industries, such as food products, drinks, perfumes,
pharmaceuticals and cosmetics (Anwar et al., 2009a; 2009b; Burt, 2004; Celiktas et al., 2007;
Hammer et al., 2008; Hay & Svoboda, 1993; Hussain et al., 2008; Teixeira da Silva, 2004).
The world production and consumption of essential oils is increasing very fast (Lawless,
1995). Despite their high costs (due to the large quantity of plant material required),
essential oil production has been increasing. The estimates of world production of essential
oils vary from 40,000 to 60,000 tonnes per annum and represent a market of approximately
700 million US $ (Verlet, 1994).
The predominately produced essential oils for industry purposes are from orange, cornmint,
eucalyptus, citronella, peppermint, and lemon (Hunter, 2009) but the more commonly
domestically used ones include lavender, chamomile, peppermint, tea tree oil, eucalyptus,
geranium, jasmine, rose, lemon, orange, rosemary, frankincense, and sandalwood. The
countries that dominate the essential oils market worldwide are Brazil, China, USA,
Indonesia, India and Mexico. The major consumers are the USA, EU (especially Germany,
United Kingdom and France) and Japan.
5. Bioavailability of essential oils
The term bioavailability, one of the principal pharmacokinetic properties of drugs, is used to
describe the fraction of an administered dose of unchanged drug that reaches the systemic
circulation and can be used for a specific function and/or stored. By definition, when a drug
is administered intravenously, its bioavailability is 100%. However, when a drug is
administered via other routes (such as oral), it has to pass absorption and metabolic barriers,
before it reaches the general circulation system, and its bioavailability is prone to decrease
(due to gastro-intestinal metabolism, incomplete absorption or first-pass metabolism).
Bioavailability is measured by pharmacokinetic analysis of blood samples taken from the
systemic circulation and reflects the fraction of the drug reaching the systemic circulation. If
a compound is poorly absorbed or extensively metabolised beforehand, only a limited
fraction of the dose administered will reach the systemic circulation. Thus, in order to
achieve a high bioavailability, the compound must be of sufficiently high absorption and of
low renal clearance (measurement of the renal or other organ excretion ability).
Various factors can affect bioavailability such as biochemical, physiological,
physicochemical interactions; habitual mix of the diet; individual characteristics (life-stage
and life-style) as well as the genotype. In the case of essential oils, the comprehension of
their bioavailability by studying their absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion in
The Therapeutic Benefits of Essential Oils
the human body is necessary. Unfortunately, there exists only limited data on the
bioavailability of essential oils, and most studies are based on animal models.
All ndings confirm that most essential oils are rapidly absorbed after dermal, oral, or
pulmonary administration and cross the blood-brain barrier and interact with receptors in
the central nervous system, and then affect relevant biological functions such as relaxation,
sleep, digestion etc. .....
Most essential oil components are metabolized and either eliminated by the kidneys in the
form of polar compounds following limited phase I enzyme metabolism by conjugation
with glucuronate or sulfate, or exhaled via the lungs as CO2. For example, after oral
administration of (-)-menthol, 35% of the original menthol content was excreted renally as
menthol glucuronide (Bronaugh et al., 1990; Buchbauer, 1993; Hotchkiss et al., 1990; Jirovetz
et al., 1992; Kohlert et al., 2000).
The same happens with thymol, carvacrol, limonene and eugenol. After their oral
administration, sulphate and glucuronide forms have been detected in urine and in plasma,
respectively (Buchbauer et al., 1993; Guénette et al., 2007; Michiels et al., 2008). The fast
metabolism and short half-life of active compounds has led to the belief that there is a
minimum risk of accumulation in body tissues (Kohlert et al., 2002).
6. Therapeutic benefits of essential oils
The feeding with aromatic herbs, spices and some dietary supplements can supply the body
with essential oils. There are a lot of specic dietary sources of essential oils, such as
example orange and citrus peel, caraway, dill; cherry, spearmint, caraway, spearmint, black
pepper and lemongrass. Thus, human exposure to essential oils through the diet or
environment is widespread. However, only little information is available on the estimation
of essential oil intake. In most cases, essential oils can be absorbed from the food matrix or
as pure products and cross the blood brain barrier easily. This later property is due to the
lipophilic character of volatile compounds and their small size.
The action of essential oils begins by entering the human body via three possible different
ways including direct absorption through inhalation, ingestion or diffusion through the skin
6.1 Absorption through the skin
Essential oil compounds are fat soluble, and thus they have the ability to permeate the
membranes of the skin before being captured by the micro-circulation and drained into the
systemic circulation, which reaches all targets organs (Adorjan & Buchbauer, 2010; Baser &
Buchbauer, 2010).
6.2 Inhalation
Another way by which essential oils enter the body is inhalation. Due to their volatility, they
can be inhaled easily through the respiratory tract and lungs, which can distribute them into
the bloodstream (Margaris et al., 1982; Moss et al, 2003). In general, the respiratory tract
offers the most rapid way of entry followed by the dermal pathway.
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6.3 Ingestion
Oral ingestion of essential oils needs attention due to the potential toxicity of some oils.
Ingested essential oil compounds and/or their metabolites may then be absorbed and
delivered to the rest of the body by the bloodstream and then distributed to parts of the
body. Once essential oil molecules are in body, they interrelate with physiological functions
by three distinct modes of action:
- Biochemical (pharmacological): Interacting in the bloodstream and interacting
chemically with hormones and enzymes such as farnesene.
- Physiological: By acting (for example phytohormones) on specific physiological function.
For example, the essential oil of fennel contains a form of estrogen-like compounds that
may be effective for female problems such as lactation and menstruation.
- Psychological: by inhalation, the olfactory area of the brain (limbic system) undergoes
an action triggered by the essential oil molecules and then, chemical and
neurotransmitter messengers provide changes in the mental and emotional behavior of
the person (Buchbauer, 1993; Johnson, 2011; Shibamoto et al, 2010). Lavender and
lemon essential oils are examples for their sedative and relaxant properties.
Biological activity of essential oils may be due to one of the compounds or due to the entire
mixture. In the following, we present effects of different classes of compounds present in
essential oils together with their major properties and we give some examples of essential
oils and their potential therapeutic activities.
7. Classes of essential oil compounds and their biological activities
7.1 Hydrocarbons
The majority of essential oils fall into this category; these contain molecules of hydrogen and
carbon only and are classied into terpenes (monoterpenes: C10, sesquiterpenes: C15, and
diterpenes: C20). These hydrocarbons may be acyclic, alicyclic (monocyclic, bicyclic or
tricyclic) or aromatic. Limonene, myrcene, p-menthane, α-pinene, β-pinene, α-sabinene, p-
cymene, myrcene, α–phellandrene, thujane, fenchane, farnesene, azulene, cadinene and
sabinene are some examples of this family of products. These compounds have been
associated with various therapeutic activities (Table 2). Some structures of these compounds
are given in figure 2.
7.2 Esters
Esters are sweet smelling and give a pleasant smell to the oils and are very commonly found
in a large number of essential oils. They include for example, linalyl acetate, geraniol acetate,
eugenol acetate and bornyl acetate (Figure 3). Esters are anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic,
sedative, and antifungal (Table 2).
7.3 Oxides
Oxides or cyclic ethers are the strongest odorants, and by far the most known oxide is 1,8-
cineole, as it is the most omnipresent one in essential oils. Other examples of oxides are
bisabolone oxide, linalool oxide, sclareol oxide and ascaridole (Figure 4). Their therapeutic
benefits are expectorant and stimulant of nervous system (Table 2).
The Therapeutic Benefits of Essential Oils
p-Cymene Cadinene Fenchane Farnesene
Fig. 2. Structures of some hydrocarbons commonly found in essential oils.
Fig. 3. Structures of some esters commonly found in essential oils.
Fig. 4. Structures of some oxides commonly found in essential oils.
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Class of
Example Bioactivities Literature
drocarbons Limonene, m
pinene, pinene, sabinene,
cymene, myrcene,
Stimulant, antiviral,
Ozbek, 2003; Pen
2004; Bowles, 2003;
Svoboda & Hampson,
1999; Deans et al.,
1992; Griffin et al.,
1999; Edris, 2007;
Baser & Buchbauer,
Esters linal
l acetate,
acetate, eugenol acetate,
bornyl acetate
sedative, antifungal,
anaesthetic, anti-
, 2004; De
Sousa et al., 2011;
Sugawara et al., 1998;
Peana et al., 2002 ;
Ghelardini et al., 1999;
De Sousa, 2011.
Oxides bisabolone oxide, linalool
oxide, sclareol oxide,
, 2004;
Ghelardini et al., 2001;
De Sousa, 2011.
Lactones nepetalactone, ber
antiviral; Antipyretic,
, 2004; De
Sousa, 2011; Miceli et
al., 2005 ; Gomes et al.,
Alcohols linalol,menthol,borneol,
santalol, nerol, citronellol,
antiseptic, tonifying,
anaesthetic; anti-
, 2004;
Sugawara et al., 1998;
De Sousa, 2011;
Ghelardini et al., 1999;
Peana et al., 2002.
Phenols th
mol, eu
carvacrol, chavicol
lytic, anaesthetic,
irritant, immune
, 2004;
Ghelardini et al., 1999;
De Sousa, 2011.
citral, m
antimicrobial, tonic,
calming, antipyretic,
sedative, spasmolytic
& Deans,
2000; Pengelly, 2004;
Ketones carvone, menthone,
pulegone, fenchone,
camphor, thujone,
tic, cell
sedative, antiviral,
analgesic, digestive,
, 2004; De
Sousa et al. 2008; De
Sousa, 2011; Gali-
Muhtassib et al., 2000
Table 2. Different classes of essential oils compounds and their bioactivities.
The Therapeutic Benefits of Essential Oils
7.4 Lactones
Lactones are of relatively high molecular weight and are usually found in pressed oils. Some
examples of lactones are nepetalactone, bergaptene, costuslactone, dihydronepetalactone,
alantrolactone, epinepetalactone, aesculatine, citroptene, and psoralen (Figure 5). They may
be used for antipyretic, sedative and hypotensive purposes, but their contraindication is
allergy, especially such involving the skin (Table 2).
Fig. 5. Structures of some lactones commonly found in essential oils.
7.5 Alcohols
In addition to their pleasant fragrance, alcohols are the most therapeutically beneficial of
essential oil components with no reported contraindications. They are antimicrobial,
antiseptic, tonifying, balancing and spasmolytic (Table 2). Examples of essential oil alcohols
are linalol, menthol, borneol, santalol, nerol, citronellol and geraniol (Figure 6).
7.6 Phenols
These aromatic components are among the most reactive, potentially toxic and irritant,
especially for the skin and the mucous membranes. Their properties are similar to alcohols
but more pronounced. They possess antimicrobial, rubefacient properties, stimulate the
immune and nervous systems and may reduce cholesterol (Table 2). Phenols are often found
as crystals at room temperature, and the most common ones are thymol, eugenol, carvacrol
and chavicol (Figure 7).
7.7 Aldehydes
Aldehydes are common essential oil components that are unstable and oxidize easily. Many
aldehydes are mucous membrane irritants and are skin sensitizers. They have characteristically
sweet, pleasant fruity odors and are found in some of our most well known culinary herbs such
as cumin and cinnamon. Therapeutically, certain aldehydes have been described as: antiviral,
antimicrobial, tonic, vasodilators, hypotensive, calming, antipyretic and spasmolytic (Table 2).
Common examples of aldehydes in essential oils include citral (geranial and neral), myrtenal,
cuminaldehyde, citronellal, cinnamaldehyde and benzaldehyde (Figure 8).
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Fig. 6. Structures of some alcohols commonly found in essential oils.
Fig. 7. Structures of some phenols commonly found in essential oils.
Fig. 8. Structures of some aldehydes commonly found in essential oils.
The Therapeutic Benefits of Essential Oils
7.8 Ketones
Ketones are not very common in the majority of essential oils; they are relatively stable
molecules and are not particularly important as fragrances or flavor substances. In some
cases, ketones are neurotoxic and abortifacients such as camphor and thujone (Gali-
Muhtassib et al., 2000) but have some therapeutic effects. They may be mucolytic, cell
regenerating; sedative, antiviral, analgesic and digestive (Table 2). Due to their stability,
ketones are not easily metabolized by the liver. Common examples of ketones found in
essential oils include carvone, menthone, pulegone, fenchone, camphor, thujone and
verbenone (Figure 9).
Fig. 9. Structures of some ketones commonly encountered in essential oils.
In Table 2; the different classes of these compounds are summarized with their bioactivities
based on various biological studies cited in literature.
8. Mechanism of the biological activities of essential oils
So far, there is no study that can give us a clear idea and be accurate on the mode of action
of the essential oils. Given the complexity of their chemical composition, everything
suggests that this mode of action is complex, and it is difficult to identify the molecular
pathway of action. It is very likely that each of the constituents of the essential oils has its
own mechanism of action.
8.1 Antibacterial and antifungal action
Because of the variability of amounts and profiles of the components of essential oils, it is
likely that their antimicrobial activity is not due to a single mechanism, but to several sites of
action at the cellular level. Then, different modes of action are involved in the antimicrobial
activity of essential oils.
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One of the possibilities for action is the generation of irreversible damage to the membrane
of bacterial cells, that induce material losses (cytoplasmic), leakage of ions, loss of energy
substrate (glucose, ATP), leading directly to the lysis of bacteria (cytolysis) and therefore to
its death. Another possibility of action is inhibition of production of amylase and protease
which stop the toxin production, electron flow and result in coagulation of the cell content
(Bakkali et al., 2008; Burt 2004; Di Pasqua et al., 2007; Hammer et al., 2008).
Antifungal actions are quite similar to those described for bacteria. However, two additional
phenomena inhibiting the action of yeast are worth mentioning: the establishment of a pH
gradient across the cytoplasmic membrane and the blocking of energy production of yeasts
which involve the disruption of the bacterial membrane.
8.2 Antiviral activity
The complex mixture of essential oils usually shows a higher antiviral activity than
individual compounds (due probably to synergism phenomena); with exception of β-
caryophyllene which is the most famous antiviral compounds found in many different
essential oils from different plant families. Different mechanisms of antiviral activity of
different essential oils and their constituents seem to be present. The antiviral activity of the
essential oil is principally due to direct virucidal effects (by denaturing viral structural
proteins or glycoproteins). Proposed mechanisms suggest that essential oils interfere with
the virus envelope by inhibiting specific processes in the viral replication cycle or by
masking viral components, which are necessary for adsorption or entry into host cells, thus,
they prevent the cell-to-cell virus diffusion (Saddi et al., 2007).
9. Therapeutic properties of some essential Oils
9.1 Chamomille essential oil (Matricaria chamomilla):
9.1.1 Main active compounds: Bisabolol and chamazulene (Cemek et al.; 2008; Kamatou &
Viljoen, 2010).
9.1.2 Properties: anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-pruritic, healing, decongestive
(decongest the skin) and antispasmodic (Bnouham, 2010; Tolouee et al., 2010, Alves et al.,
2010; Mckay & Blumberg, 2006).
9.2 Anise essential oil (Pimpinella anisum):
9.2.1 Main active compound: Anethole (Andrade et al., 2011; Mata et al., 2007;)
9.2.2 Proprieties: antispasmodic, emmenagogue, stomachic, carminative, diuretic, general
cardiac stimulant. (Jaiswal et al., 2009; Muchtaridi et al., 2010; Nerio et al., 2010; Tabanca et
al., 2006).
9.3 Nutmeg essential oil (Myristica fragrans):
9.3.1 Main active compounds: Sabinene, 4-terpineol and myristicin (Muchtaridi et al., 2010).
9.3.2 Properties: Antimicrobial, pesticidal activity, general tonic, brain and circulatory,
hepatoprotective, aphrodisiac, Stimulating the digestive, carminative and digestive systems
Analgesic, Emmenagogue, Antiseptic, anti-parasitic (Sankarikutty & Narayanan, 1993;
Spricigo et al., 1999; Tomaino et al., 2005).
The Therapeutic Benefits of Essential Oils
9.4 Cedar essential oil (Cedrus libani):
9.4.1 Main active compound: Limonene (Cetin et al., 2009).
9.4.2 Properties: Larvicidal, Lymphotonic, draining powerful diuretic, Regenerative blood,
Healing, astringent, Scalp Tonic, Antifungal, Anti-mosquito and anti-moth Decongestant
and antiseptic respiratory Relaxing and comforting (Dharmagadda et al., 2005; Kizil et al.,
2002; Loizzo et al., 2008; Svoboda et al., 1999)
9.5 Dill essential oil (Anethum graveolens):
9.5.1 Main active compound: Carvone (Lazutka et al., 2001; Kishore et al.,1993)
9.5.2 Properties: Antispasmodic in gastrointestinal disorders, fluidity of bronchial
secretions. (Bakkali et al., 2008; Edris, 2007; Jirovetz et al., 2003; Sridhar et al., 2003.)
9.6 Garlic essential oil (Allium sativum):
9.6.1 Main active compound: Diallylle disulfide (Kendler, 1987; Thomson & Ali, 2003)
9.6.2 Properties: Protects and maintains the cardiovascular system, hypoglycemic, Regulates
blood pressure vermifuge, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic, insecticidal
and larvicidal, antioxidant (Klevenhusen et al., 2011; Lazarević et al., 2011; Lau et al., 1983;
Park & Shin, 2005)
9.7 Clove essential oil (Syzygium aromaticus):
9.7.1 Main active compound: Eugenol and eugenyle acetate (Silva & Fernandes, 2010; Fichi
et al., 2007)
9.7.2 Properties: Antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, general stimulating, hypertensive
aphrodisiac, light stomachic, carminative, anesthetic. (de Paoli et al., 2007; Koba et al., 2011;
Machado et al., 2011; Politeo et al., 2010).
9.8 Cinnamon essential oil (Cinnamomum cassia):
9.8.1 Main active compound: Cinnamaldehyde (Hseini & Kahouadji, 2007; Vyawahare et al.,
9.8.2 Properties: Powerful, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and parasiticide, uterine tonic,
anticoagulant, insecticide. (Cheng et al., 2004; Geng et al., 2011; Unlu et al., 2010).
9.9 Sweet orange essential oil (Citrus sinensis):
9.9.1. Main active compound: Limonene (Hosni et al., 2010; Viudamartos et al., 2008)
9.9.2. Properties: Antiseptic, sedative, stomachic, carminative, tonic, excellent food flavoring
(Anagnostopoulou et al., 2006; Ezeonu et al., 2001; Singh et al., 2010).
9.10. Eucalyptus essential oil (Eucalyptus globulus):
9.10.1. Main active compound: 1,8-cineole (Nerio et al., 2009; Vilela et al., 2009)
9.10.2. Properties: Anticatarrhale, expectorant and mucolytic, antimicrobial, Antiviral
(Ben-Arye et al., 2011; Ben Hadj et al., 2011; Caballero-Gallardo et al., 2011; Gende et al.,
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9.11. Peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita):
9.11.1. Main active compound: menthol and menthone (Sala, 2011; Alexopoulos et al., 2011).
9.11.2. Properties: Tonic and stimulant, decongestant, anesthetic and analgesic antipruritic,
refreshing, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, mucolytic, emmenagogue (De
Sousa, 2011; Kumar et al., 2011; Sabzghabaee et al., 2011; Singh et al., 2011).
9.12. Lavender essential oil (Lavandula officinalis):
9.12.1. Main active compound: Linalol and linalyle acétate (Hajhashemi et al., 2003; Lee et
al., 2011).
9.12.2. Properties: antispasmodic, sedative, relaxing, analgesic, anti-inflammatory,
antimicrobial (Kloucek et al., 2011; Pohlit et al., 2011; Woronuk et al., 2011; Zuzarte et al.,
9.13. Tea tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia):
9.13.1. Main active compound: Terpinène-1-ol-4. (Van Vuuren et al., 2009 ; Hammer et al.,
9.13.2. Properties: Antimicrobial, antiviral, antiasthenic, neurotonic, lymphatic, decongestant,
radioprotective, antispasmodic (Garozzo et al., 2009; Lobo et al., 2011; Mickienė et al., 2011).
9.14. Lemon essential oil (Citrus limonum):
9.14.1. Main active compound: limonene (Fisher & Phillips, 2008; Kim et al., 2003)
9.14.2. Properties: Strengthen natural immunity, metabolism regulator, tonic nervous
system, antimicrobial, antiviral, digestive tonic carminative and purgative (Koul et al., 2008;
Pavela et al., 2005; Pavela et al., 2008; Ponce et al., 2004).
10. Conclusion
According to literature, we can say that the essential oils and their components have many
uses, both in pharmacology and in food. In addition, they are endowed with interesting
biological activities and have a therapeutic potential. For example, essential oils exhibit
antimicrobial activities, antiviral activities with broad spectrum, and may be useful as
natural remedies and it seems that essential oils can be used as a suitable therapy for many
pathologies. In the cosmetic and in the food industry, essential oils uses are an integral part,
as they may play different roles. Therefore, economic importance of essential oils is
indisputable. It appears therefore imperative to preserve our natural, diverse flora and
support its protection in order to keep this inexhaustible source of molecules destined for
multiple targets.
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... The inhibition of plasmid transfer and transformation by THCA and cannabispiro compounds may be characterized by restricting mating pair formation, zygote growth, trans-conjugal DNA synthesis, DNA penetration, and the synthesis of plasmid DNA during cell growth [88]. As a whole, the antibacterial efficacy of EOs and extracts has been shown to involve damaging the cytoplasmic membrane, ion leakage, loss of energy sources such as glucose and ATP, and coagulation of cell contents by inhibiting the production of amylase and protease [117,202]. All these inevitably cause lysis of bacteria and bacterial death. ...
... The exploration of active compounds in plant extracts with substantial antifungal activity is, therefore, required to fight against drug-resistant fungi. Antifungal attributes may be ascribed to polyphenolic compounds and oxygenated monoterpenes [117], and they exert similar modes of action to those of bacteria, including irreversible impairment of the cell septum, oozing and coagulation of cellular materials [196], but additionally, producing a pH gradient across the cytoplasmic membrane and preventing energy production of yeasts are worth mentioning [202]. ...
... β-caryophyllene, a terpene compound present in C. sativa and many other EOs, is widely claimed to have antiviral activity. EOs, as blends of myriad metabolites, inhibit viral nucleic acid (DNA/RNA) synthesis and alter structural proteins to arrest the virucidal effect and inhibit specific processes in the viral replication cycle that prevents cell-to-cell virus diffusion [202,203]. ...
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Abstract: Antimicrobial resistance has emerged as a global health crisis and, therefore, new drug discovery is a paramount need. Cannabis sativa contains hundreds of chemical constituents produced by secondary metabolism, exerting outstanding antimicrobial, antiviral, and therapeutic properties. This paper comprehensively reviews the antimicrobial and antiviral (particularly against SARS-CoV-2) properties of C. sativa with the potential for new antibiotic drug and/or natural antimicrobial agents for industrial or agricultural use, and their therapeutic potential against the newly emerged coron-avirus disease (COVID-19). Cannabis compounds have good potential as drug candidates for new antibiotics, even for some of the WHO's current priority list of resistant pathogens. Recent studies revealed that cannabinoids seem to have stable conformations with the binding pocket of the M pro enzyme of SARS-CoV-2, which has a pivotal role in viral replication and transcription. They are found to be suppressive of viral entry and viral activation by downregulating the ACE2 receptor and TMPRSS2 enzymes in the host cellular system. The therapeutic potential of cannabinoids as anti-inflammatory compounds is hypothesized for the treatment of COVID-19. However, more systemic investigations are warranted to establish the best efficacy and their toxic effects, followed by preclinical trials on a large number of participants.
... Since ancient times, essential oils (EOs) have been recognized for their medicinal value; they are very interesting and powerful natural plant products that continue to be of paramount importance at present day [1]. Carvalho et al. [2] reported that, nowadays, consumers around the world are increasingly focused on health and beauty and the renewed consumer interest in natural cosmetic products creates the demand for new products and reformulation of others with botanical and functional ingredients. ...
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Laurel (Laurus nobilis L.) is a strict endemic species of natural vegetation of the Mediterranean region, which is known for its medicinal, aromatic, forestry, ornamental and culinary properties. This species produces valuable essential oil (EO). The content of EO and its composition depend on different factors, e.g., genetic, cultural practices and environmental conditions. Among these, salt stress is a major limiting factor, which affects almost all plant functions. Similar to essential oils (EOs), biotic and abiotic stresses may stimulate or inhibit the emission of volatile compounds (VCs) in plant materials, suggesting that these substances can be responsible on stress defense strategies. Therefore, an experiment was conducted to assess the effect of different NaCl concentrations (0, 50, 100 and 150 mM) of the irrigation water on VCs of laurel leaves. Our results showed that salt stress affected the volatile metabolites compounds, mainly the major ones. For instance, 1,8-cineole and linalool were negatively affected by high salinity levels, while the opposite was observed for α-terpenyl acetate and methyl eugenol. The proportion of grouped compounds of laurel VCs also differed among the studied treatments. The relative content of oxygenated monoterpenes and monoterpene hydrocarbons, respectively the first and the second largest groups, decreased with increasing NaCl concentration. Differently, the relative amount of sesquiterpene hydrocarbon group increased, especially at 100 mM NaCl. These findings indicate that the cultivation of laurel in marginal lands, characterized by high salinity or low-quality water, must be carefully evaluated because it significantly varies the quality of its products.
... Aroma oils were first used in ancient Egypt. Since then, they have been used worldwide in the treatment of diseases (antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory), and to improve conditions such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment through active treatments such as inhalation, skin absorption, or ingestion [2][3][4]. Aromatherapy is recognized as a field of alternative medicine with the aim of maintaining human homeostasis, using oil extracted from plant leaves, stems, and roots as the main ingredients [5,6]. In addition, people encounter various fragrances in daily life through olfactory stimulation that can initiate physiological effects on mood, stress, and work ability [7]. ...
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This study investigated the effects of olfactory stimulation with aroma oils on the psychophysiological responses in women. Ten aromatic oils (lavender, rosemary, rose, eucalyptus, jasmine, geranium, chamomile, clary sage, thyme, and peppermint) were used on 23 women aged between 20 and 60 years. They inhaled the scent for 90 s through a glass funnel attached to their lab apron, 10 cm below their nose, while the pump was activated. Electroencephalography, blood pressure, and pulse rate were measured before and during inhalation of the aroma oils. The relative alpha (RA) power spectrums indicating relaxation and resting state of the brain significantly increased when lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, jasmine, chamomile, clary sage, and thyme oils were inhaled compared to those of before olfactory stimulation. The ratio of alpha to high beta (RAHB), an indicator of brain stability and relaxation, significantly increased when rosemary, jasmine, clary sage, and peppermint oils were inhaled. The relative low beta (RLB) power spectrum, an indicator of brain activity in the absence of stress, significantly increased when stimulated with lavender, rosemary, rose, and geranium scents. Further, systolic blood pressure significantly decreased after introduction of all 10 types of aromatic oils, which indicates stress reduction. Thus, olfactory stimulation with aroma oil had a stabilizing effect on the prefrontal cortex and brain activity and decreased systolic blood pressure.
... In addition, minor compounds of EOs may possess synergistic effects with other components resulting in antibacterial properties (Burt, 2004;Marino et al., 2001) and therefore it is difficult to differentiate and analyze individual effect of these factors (Terblanche and Kornelius, 2000). Djilani and Dicko (2012) reported annual EO production of 40,000-60,000 tonnes with estimated market value of 700 million USD, indicating that production and consumption of EOs is increasing all over the world. Combination therapy using antibiotics and EOs together represent a potential area of research for future investigations (Polly et al., 2014). ...
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The antimicrobial-resistance (AMR) is a serious global concern. The development of antimicrobial resistance appeared soon after the discovery of 'Penicillin' in 1928 and at present, the microbes are already equipped to resist against fifth generation of antibiotics available in the market. Antimicrobial resistance is responsible for death of millions of people each year leading to heavy losses to the global economy. This situation is alarming and further intensified due to substantial drop in the invention of new antibiotics. The current antibiotic discovery model is not delivering new agents at a rate that is sufficient to combat emergence of antimicrobial resistance. Therefore, there is need to explore for alternative strategies to combat microbes with special focus on drug resistance microorganisms. Although, development of new antimicrobials is always a first priority, alternative antimicrobials can be effectively used to reduce the dependence on antibiotics to mitigate onset and spread of AMR. One of these alternative antimicrobials is essentials oils. Essential oils are aromatic liquids which have been used in traditional Indian medicine and food production since ancient times. Their importance has resurfaced in the current scenario due to the emergence of drug resistance in microbes and demand for chemical preservative free food from general public.
... Eos, also referred to as ethereal oils, are volatile and odorous oils present in only 10% of the plant kingdom and are stored in plants in special brittle secretory structures, for instance glands, secretory hairs, secretory ducts, secretory cavities or resin ducts. EOs have been used as perfumes, flavors in foods and beverage ingredients, or to heal both the body and mind since ages and even today they continue to be of paramount importance [1]. ...
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In this study, the essential oils (EOs) obtained from three endemic Prangos species from Turkey (P. heyniae, P. meliocarpoides var. meliocarpoides, and P. uechtritzii) were studied for their chemical composition and biological activities. β-Bisabolenal (12.2%) and caryophyllene oxide (7.9%) were the principal components of P. heyniae EO, while P. meliocarpoides EO contained sabinene (16.7%) and p-cymene (13.2%), and P. uechtritzii EO contained p-cymene (24.6%) and caryophyllene oxide (19.6%), as the most abundant components. With regard to their antioxidant activity, all the EOs were found to possess free radical scavenging potential demonstrated in both DPPH and ABTS assays (0.43–1.74 mg TE/g and 24.18–92.99 mg TE/g, respectively). Additionally, while no inhibitory activity was displayed by P. meliocarpoides and P. uechtritzii EOs against both cholinesterases (acetyl- and butyryl-cholinesterases). Moreover, all the EOs were found to act as inhibitors of tyrosinase (46.34–69.56 mg KAE/g). Molecular docking revealed elemol and α-bisabolol to have the most effective binding affinity with tyrosinase and amylase. Altogether, this study unveiled some interesting biological activities of these EOs, especially as natural antioxidants and tyrosinase inhibitors and hence offers stimulating prospects of them in the development of anti-hyperpigmentation topical formulations.
... Dodecane, phellandrene Hydrocarbon Antimicrobial activity [15] Bornanone Terpene Anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antimicrobial, anticancer [15] αpinene, β-pinene, sabinene, myrecene, β-ocimene Monoterpenes Antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidants [16] Eucalyptol, citronelal, eucamalol, linalool, α-terpineol Alcohols Antioxidant, insecticide, acaricide, herbeside [17] Bisabolane, elemane, germacrane, humulane, chamazulene Sesquiterpenes Antibacterial, antifungal, antiinflammatory, antioxidant [18] Cinnanaldehyde, benzaldehyde, myrtenal Aldehyde Antifungal, circulatory, antiinflammatory, cardiovascular [19] Geranyl acetate, bornyl acetate, linalyl acetate, eugenol acetate Ester Antispasmodic, antimicrobial [20] Pulegone, fenchone, thujone Ketone Antiviral, gastrointestinal, regenerating cells, analgesic [21] Carvacrol, tymol Phenol Antibacterial, strengthening immune system [22] Essential Oils -Advances in Extractions and Biological Applications composites in a vast number of the essential oils and are known for their affable smell and give sweet smell to the essential oils. The common ester bearing essential oils include linalyl acetate, geraniol acetate, eugenol acetate and bornyl acetate. ...
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It is a common perspective that medicinal plants have played and continue to perform an undeniably major role in the lives of people worldwide. Essential oils are the key constituents of medicinal herbs and their biological activities have been discovered since ancient times and are enormously utilised in multiple industries. The essential oils possess important biological properties like antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral, insecticidal, etc. Because of these unique features they are more acceptable and are utilised in various fields throughout the world. In the cosmetics industry they play an important role in the development of perfumes while in the food industry they have been used as food preservatives. Essential oil components are interestingly utilised for pharmaceutical applications. The most investigated properties are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, wound-healing, anxiolytic activities etc. The current thrust area is evaluation for aromatherapy and anti-cancer, as it is noted that essential oils reported in plants may prevent, inhibit, or even reverse formation of cancerous cells. The aim of this chapter is to provide a concise and comprehensive overview on the therapeutic and pharmaceutical potential of essential oils in the current scenario.
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Essential oils (EOs) are volatile compounds generated from diverse parts of plants and includes a variety of aromatic and organic bioactive molecules. Because of their qualities, essential oils have a significant economic value. They are widely employed in a variety of sectors, including the fragrance and medical applications. Also, for their medicinal characteristics, they are predominantly employed in the perfumery business and have a great economic worth. The manufacture of bioactive nanoparticles (NPs) by reducing metal ions with secondary metabolites of plant essential oils is a one-step process with many environmentally beneficial. Nanomaterial’s production using essential oils is a quick and simple procedure that requires no harmful chemicals. throughout this study, we covered recent advancements in the creation of most commonly used nanostructures employing EOs, as well as their hypothesized formation mechanisms.
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e global consumption of plant-based cosmetics has shown spectacular growth in recent years because of rising consumer awareness regarding the long-term health benefits of natural ingredients. As the global demand for herbal cosmetics increases, there are ample opportunities for Sri Lanka as a tropical Asian country to expand its productions and global exports along with its unique biodiversity and inherited traditional knowledge. erefore, the present review attempts to give an overview of the widely used medicinal plants in the global herbal cosmetic industry and strengths, challenges, and possible solutions for the development of the herbal cosmetic industry of Sri Lanka. Information was collected using electronic search (using Pub Med, Science Direct, Web of Science, Google Scholar, TEEAL, and Scopus) for articles published in peer-reviewed journals, industrial reports, market surveys, and library search for local books on ethnobotany. Important plant-derived ingredients used in the global herbal cosmetic industry are essential oils, colorants, oils, fats, and waxes. e traditional usage of 108 medicinal plant species (belonging to 58 families) in cosmetic treatments was identified from the local books of Sri Lanka. Of these, 49 plant species were reported as new ingredients for the herbal cosmetic industry. However, the lack of ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacological surveys to identify the cosmetic potential plants, insufficient or absence of continuous supply of raw materials for production in line with the existing demand, the lack of quality control of raw materials and finished cosmetic products, improper systematic cultivation systems for medicinal plants, poor postharvest practices, and the lack of innovations are major challenges encountered in Sri Lanka for the development of the herbal cosmetic industry. In conclusion, addressing these vital knowledge gaps is a timely requirement of the country for the sustainable development of the herbal cosmetic industry in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, assembling of the multidisciplinary cooperation of botanists, chemists, toxicologists, researchers, and biologists is crucial to analyze the interesting functional properties, efficacy, and effectiveness of documented medicinal plants with cosmetic potential.
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Compounds useful for drugs, cosmetics, and food have been obtained directly or indirectly from living organisms over the years. However, there has been a renewed interest in getting useful compounds from living organisms, especially plants. Essential oils, interchangeably called volatile oils, are bioactive compounds found in minute quantities in some plants. Essential or volatile oils have been known for years to find usefulness in foods, drugs (antimicrobial, antifungal), and cosmetics. This review attempts to summarize information on the essential oil from Ficus species concerning their morphology, pharmacology, bioactivity, and application. This was achieved by gathering information on essential oils from different Ficus species. Essential oils from Ficus species are a good source of bioactive compounds for use in drug, food, and cosmetic industries. It is worthy to note that Nigerian Figs were characterized by the high presence of phytol and 6,10,14-trimethyl-2-pentadecanone, and these compounds are, therefore, seen as markers. Furthermore, this review presents numerous insights on how to best harness the different potentials of the essential oils and possibilities to be examined.
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The present work examined the in vitro antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of the essential oil and methanol extract from Achillea biebersteinii Afan. (Asteraceae). The essential oil exhibited antimicrobial activity against 8 bacteria, 14 fungi and the yeast C. albicans, whereas methanolic extract remained inactive. The antioxidative capacity of the samples was evaluated by using DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) and β-carotene/linoleic acid assays. In both assays, the extract showed better antioxidative capacity than the oil. The extract reduced the stable free radical DPPH with lower IC 50 value (89.90 μg/ml) than the oil (8900 μg/ml). In the β-carotene/linoleic acid assay, the samples were not effectively able to inhibit the linoleic acid oxidation, exhibiting only 22.7% (the extract) and 16% (the essential oil) inhibitions at 2 mg/ml, far below than that of BHT (97.0%). Total phenolic constituent of the extract was 51 μg/mg (5.1%, w/w) as gallic acid equivalent. GC-MS analysis of the essential oil resulted in the identification of 64 components representing 92.24% of the oil. Piperitone, camphor and 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol) were the main constituents.
Peptic ulcer is the most common gastrointestinal disorder in clinical practice. It mostly occurs due to imbalance between aggressive factor and the maintenance of mucosal integrity through endogenous defense mechanism. Moreover, changes in lifestyle, increase in stress and prolong use of NSAID's found to be responsible for increasing incidences of peptic ulcer. The modern medicines have its own limitations especially against ulcers with complex pathology indicating need of substitute medication from alternative system of medicine. This review has presented the recent research advancements of herbal medicine as an antiulcer agent with the view to aid the further research to prepare ideal antiulcer agents and or formulation.
Since active compounds in herbal plants are usually present in low concentrations, a great deal of research has been done to develop more effective and selective extraction methods for the recovery of the desired compounds from the raw materials. In conventional extraction methods such as hydrodistillation (steam distillation) and solvent extraction, there are few adjustable parameters to control the selectivity of the extraction processes. Therefore, the development of alternative extraction techniques with better selectivity and efficiency is a highly desirable target. The high price of organic solvents and increasing concern over environmental factors also drive the development of new processing techniques. Since the late 1970s, supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) has been used to isolate natural products but for a long time this technique was only applied to a few products. The development of processes and equipment over the last three decades is today beginning to pay off and industries are becoming more and more interested in supercritical techniques. Consequently, supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) was introduced as an environmentally responsible and efficient extraction technique for solid materials. This technique has been extensively studied for the separation of active compounds from herbs and other plants as well as for the samples for the alimentary industry. Supercritical extraction of bioactive compounds from leaves of sunflower and antioxidants compounds has been studied.