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Keywords:

  • essential oils;
  • cancer;
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • antimicrobial;
  • antidiabetic;
  • penetration enhancer;
  • aromatherapy;
  • massage therapy

Abstract

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. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.