Essential oils in medicine: principles of therapy.
Essential oils (EOs) are extremely complex mixtures containing compounds of several different functional-group classes. A specificaromatic profile should be determined by gas-chromatography-mass detection methods, to define standards for their safety andefficacy. The chemical constituents of the essential oils, their flavour and their taste act both alone and in synergy, always determining a global psychosomatic action. The main therapeutic activities of the EOs are reported as spasmolythic, revulsive, anti-inflammatory and decongestant, immunomodulant, anti-microbial, anti-mycotic, expectorant, mucolythic, anti-oxidant, psychotrope, analgesic and acaricide. The use, posology, route of administration as well as toxicity and adverse effects are reviewed.
PMID:18693566 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]