Pharmaceutical and therapeutic potentials of essential oils and their individual volatile constituents: a review

Phytother Res. 2007 Apr;21(4):308-23. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2072.


Essential oils and their volatile constituents are used widely to prevent and treat human disease. The possible role and mode of action of these natural products is discussed with regard to the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis and thrombosis, as well as their bioactivity as antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidants and antidiabetic agents. Their application as natural skin penetration enhancers for transdermal drug delivery and the therapeutic properties of essential oils in aroma and massage therapy will also be outlined.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Pharmaceutic
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Aromatherapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Massage
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Oils, Volatile / administration & dosage
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use*


  • Adjuvants, Pharmaceutic
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Oils, Volatile