Linalool and linalyl acetate are the principal components of many essential oils known to possess several biological activities, attributable to these monoterpene compounds. In this work, we evaluated individually the anti-inflammatory properties of (-) linalool, that is, the natural occurring enantiomer, and its racemate form, present in various amounts in distilled or extracted essential oils. Because in the linalool-containing essential oils, linalyl acetate, is frequently present, we also examined the anti-inflammatory action of this monoterpene ester. Carrageenin-induced edema in rats was used as a model of inflammation. The experimental data indicate that both the pure enantiomer and its racemate induced, after systemic administration, a reduction of edema. Moreover, the pure enantiomer, at a dose of 25 mg/kg, elicited a delayed and more prolonged effect, while the racemate form induced a significant reduction of the edema only one hour after carrageenin administration. At higher doses, no differences were observed between the (-) enantiomer and the racemate; a further increase in the dose of both forms did not result in an increased effect at any time of observation. The effects of equi-molar doses of linalyl acetate on local edema were less relevant and more delayed than that of the corresponding alcohol. These finding suggest a typical pro-drug behavior of linalyl acetate. The results obtained indicate that linalool and the corresponding acetate play a major role in the anti-inflammatory activity displayed by the essential oils containing them, and provide further evidence suggesting that linalool and linalyl acetate-producing species are potentially anti-inflammatory agents.