Essential Oils and Their Constituents: An Alternative Source for Novel Antidepressants

Molecules. 2017 Aug 3;22(8):1290. doi: 10.3390/molecules22081290.


Depression is a disease that has affected a high proportion of the world's population and people of different ages, incapacitating them from good performance at work and in social relationships, and causing emotional disorders to millions of families. Therefore, the search for new therapeutic agents is considered a priority for the discovery of more effective forms of treatment. In this review, studies of essential oils and their constituents in experimental models related to depression are discussed. The mechanisms of action of the oils and the presence of psychoactive constituents in their chemical compositions are discussed. The data in the review show the therapeutic potential of essential oils and their chemical constituents for use in depressive disorders. Advanced studies using humans are needed to confirm the antidepressant properties described in animals.

Keywords: animal models; antidepressant; major depression; natural products; oil; terpene.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents* / chemistry
  • Antidepressive Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Oils, Volatile* / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile* / therapeutic use


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Oils, Volatile