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Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2018;18(13):1815-1827. doi: 10.2174/1871520618666181002130240.

Biochemical and Pharmacological Applications of Essential Oils in Human Health Especially in Cancer Prevention.

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Cancer Biology Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences (Zoology), Dr. Harisingh Gour Central University, Sagar - 470003 (M.P.), India.
Amity Institute of Microbial Technology, Amity University, Noida - 201313 (U.P.), India.



Essential oils (EOs) are aromatic, volatile and concentrated hydrophobic liquids extracted from plant material. EOs are also called as ethereal oils, volatile oils or aetherolea. EOs also play a crucial role in plant defence and signalling processes. They are mostly used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products for flavouring food, drinks, adding scents to incense and household cleaning products. EOs have a long medicinal history.


Reported research literature and online contents related to the use of EOs for their biochemical pharmacological applications in cancer prevention therapy were reviewed. The most relevant and updated citations were included in this review.


This review elaborates the various types of EOs, their biochemical characteristics, and pharmacology. Medicinal benefits of essential oil products range from various skin treatments to different types of therapies for cancer and are dependent entirely on historical backgrounds of use of EOs for these properties. EOs have antimicrobial, anticancer, antioxidant, antiparasitical, insecticidal, anti-inflammatory, viricidal, fungicidal, wound healing, antihypertensive, analgesic properties and other medicinal properties. The efficiency of EOs in medical treatments and treatment of cancers are these days a subject of interest in most countries.


This review elaborated the potentials of EOs in regulating cancer cell growth and have explored the probable EOs that can be used in drug development.


Essential oils; anticancer; apoptosis; biomedical effects; hydrophobic liquids; natural prevention.

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