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Int J Pharm. 2002 Apr 26;237(1-2):209-14.

Effect of different terpene-containing essential oils on permeation of estradiol through hairless mouse skin.

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Department of Bioorganic Chemistry and Biopharmaceutics, University of Pisa, Via Bonanno 33, I-56126 Pisa, Italy.


Purpose of the present investigation was to evaluate six terpene-containing essential oils for their capacity to promote permeation of estradiol (ES) through hairless mouse skin in vitro. Tests on cajuput, cardamom, melissa, myrtle, niaouli and orange oil, all used at the 10% w/w concentration in propylene glycol (PG), evidenced niaouli oil (NIA) as the best permeation promoter for ES. Tests on the main terpene components of NIA (1,8 cineole, alpha-pinene, alpha-terpineol and D-limonene), evaluated neat (10% w/w in PG) or in admixture, confirmed the better promoting activity of whole NIA. The present data point to the validity of complex terpene mixtures, such as that composing NIA, as transdermal penetration enhancers for moderately lipophilic drugs like ES.

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