ESSENTIAL OIL: THEIR ROLE IN HEALTH – A REVIEWHTML Full Text
ESSENTIAL OIL: THEIR ROLE IN HEALTH - A REVIEW
Nahida Tun Nisa
Department of Botany, Government College for Women M. A. Road Srinagar - 190006, Jammu and Kashmir, India.
ABSTRACT: The therapeutic potential of essential oil-bearing plants have been realized. Like herbal remedies, essential oils and their constituents cover a wide field of performance. These include antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anticancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. The field of aroma and smell is so attracting that Nobel Prize (2004) in physiology and Medicine was awarded for unlocking the secrets of smell. Thanks to Prof. Richard Alex of Columbia University, and Linda B. Buck, who unlocked the secrets of the olfactory system at the molecular level. These odor bearing substances pass through nasal passage are detected by particular neurons called olfactory cells present in the upper part of nasal epithelium which contains five (5) million neurons. Essential oils are chemically a mixture of organic compounds belonging to different chemical entities such as terpenes, phenols, aliphatic compounds, benzoyl compounds, and heterocyclic compounds. Terpenes are classified as mono, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes based on isoprene units. Oxygenated terpenes are the chief odor transporters of the essential oils. They include the alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, esters, ethers, etc.
Medicinal plants, Aromatic, Essential oil, Bioactive, in-vitro, in-vivo
INTRODUCTION: A variety of medicinal plants have been subjected to detailed chemical test leading to the isolation of pure bioactive molecules pharmacologically evaluated. As a result, new drugs have been discovered along with new applications. These bioactive molecules are employed as therapeutic agents, starting material for the synthesis of drugs, models for the synthesis of pharmacologically active compounds and new reagents for molecular biological investigation.
At present, there are 125 clinically useful drugs of the known constitution which have been isolated from about 100 species of higher plants. It has been estimated that about 5000 plant species have been studied in detail as possible sources of new drugs 1, 2. Polyphenols and flavonoids are the common antioxidants, natural products found in medicinal plants. Herbal medicines have been used since ancient times as they contain pharmacological and biological active ingredients 3.
Bioprospection of plant species experiments in many laboratories for the recognition of new therapeutic molecules which may be useful for some health problems- such as drug-resistant infectious diseases, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, neurological and psychiatric disorders. Production of plant-based drugs in bulk is one of the important criterion for the pharmaceutical industry in India as well 4. Some of the important plant-based drugs used in modern medicine are shown in Table 1.
TABLE 1: IMPORTANT PLANT BASED DRUGS USED IN MODERN MEDICINE 1, 2
|Drug||Name of plant species||Activity|
|Base material for steroid synthesis/ cortisone drugs|
|Digitalis lantana;||Cardio tonic|
|Ergotamine / Ergot alkaloids||Claviceps purpurea||Post-partium-hemoerrhage|
|Guggulsterones / Gugallipid||Commiphora mukul||Hypocholerolemic|
|Hypericin / Hyperfolin||Hypericum perforatum||Antiviral and Antidepressant|
|Hyoscine and Hyoscyamine||Hyoscyamus niger, Hyoscyamus muticus||Parasympathetic|
|Morphine / Codeine / Papaverine||Papaver somniferum||Sedative|
|Taxol / Topotecan /
|Campthotheca acuminata/ Mapia foetida||Anticancer|
|Valepotriates||Valeriana wallichiana||Sedative / Tranquilizer|
Lavendula officinalis Chaix (Labiatae) is one of the most important plants of nowadays. Lavender is the spa therapist’s dream oil, the jack of all trades, the oil with the answer to most of our needs. True lavender oil distilled from the flowering spikes is the oil of high aroma value and has a commanding position in perfumery, flavor and cosmetic industries. Other products like lavender concrete, lavender absolute, lavender water and dried lavender flowers have an ever-growing demand. Lavender marc left after the distillation of oil is used in ‘Agarbaties’ and as organic manure 5. The chemical interaction between plants and their environment is intervened mainly by the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, which excise their biological roles, as a plastic adaptive response to their environment 6.
Treatment of Depression: Tincture of Lavendula officinalis in combination with imipramine was found more effective in the treatment of mild to moderate depression than imipramine alone 7.
Treatment of Colitis: Similarly, 1, 8-cineole predominant in the shoots, attenuates the colonic damage in rats on acute trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS) - colitis 8.
Use of Linalool: Linalool, the naturally occurring enantiomer in lavender oil, possess anti-inflammatory, antihyperalgesic and antinociceptive effects in different animal models 9.
Fungi Static and Fungicidal Activity: The main components linalool and linalyl acetate of Lavendula officinalis also show fungistatic and fungicidal activity against Candida albicans. At lower concentration, it inhibits germ tube formation and hyphal elongation, indicating that it is effective against Candida albicans dimorphism and may thus reduce fungal progression and the spread of infection in host tissues 10.
Treatment of Malaria: Combination of limonene, 1.22 mM with other antimicrobial drugs, like fosmidomycin, could be in the new strategy for the treatment of malaria 11.
Application in Aromatherapy: Beside gastroprotection, lavender oil reveals an interesting analgesic activity mainly relevant after inhalation, at doses devoid of sedative side effect, suggesting the interest for protection application of this oil in aromatherapy 12.
Given its continued popularity and commercial value, it was confirmed: “Herb of the year 1999” in USA 13. The essential oils of lavender and Australian tea tree oil had useful antimicrobial properties with additional properties of being stable and nonirritant to sensitive or damaged skin 14. Importance of the essential oils distilled from members of the genus Lavendula has been used both cosmetically and therapeutically. The lavender oil is used as antibacterial, antifungal, carminative, sedative, antidepressive and effective for burns and insect bites 15.
Lavendendula officinalis Chaix is vegetatively propagated, but the poor rooting ability of stem cuttings, as well as the lack of selected clones, restrain its industrial exploitation 16. Accordingly, an alternative procedure is required for propagating Lavendula plants efficiently. Tissue culture is one of the useful methods which can be employed for clonal propagation.
Pelargonium graveolens (Geraniaceae) produces a wide range of essential oil components including mono and sesquiterpenes. The essential oil, obtained by distillation of aerial parts, is extensively used in perfumery and cosmetic industries. Besides a flavoring agent, the oil is used for staunching bleeding, healing of wounds, skin disorders, diarrhea and colic. Also, the oil of Pelargonium graveolens and its main constituents are reported to enhance antifungal effects of Ketoconazole in general and in Trichophyton species in particular 17.
The current international demand of Pelargonium graveolens is more than 600 tons annually, which is mostly met by countries like China, Morocco, Reunion Island and South Africa 18. As against the annual consumption of 149 tons, India produces just 5 tons of geranium oil annually, and the rest of the demand is met largely through imports. The restricted area of cultivation is the major reason for India's dependence on import of Geranium oil 19, 20, 21, 22. Predominant vegetative mode of propagation also restricts the genetic improvement of Pelargonium graveolens through classical sexual breeding leads to limited genetic base 23. Due to inherent male sterility of the plant, its seed setting and seed viability are low in India 24. The study implemented in-vitro propagation method offers a powerful tool for germplasm maintenance and multiplication.
Artemisia dracunculus L. (Tarragon, Compositae) is used as a seasoning and flavoring agent. The oil is widely used in food flavoring formulations. The aromatic leaves are used as apertient, stomachic, stimulant and febrifuge and also as a spice. The therapeutic properties reported are analgesic, expectorant, tonic, antiseptic and stimulant. In-vivo studies mainly in rodents highlight potential anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective and antihyper-glycemic effects 25. The antiplatelet activity has been reported from the oil of Artemisia dracunculus 26.
The oil has also shown antifungal, antibacterial and antioxidant properties 27. Essential oil use is particularly common in dermatology and for treating fungal infections which they are the most popular natural products of choice 28. The anticonvulsant activity has been reported from the oil of Iranian origin 29. The essential oil after restructure is used for flavoring vinegar sauces, salad dressings, canned soups, and liquors. It is also in use in perfumes of cheaper type 30. Flavonoids, coumarins, phenylpropanoids terpenes determine antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal and antioxidant action of Artemisia dracunculus 31.
Artemisia dracunculus L. is a sexually sterile plant that is vegetatively propagated by cuttings. Proliferation by cuttings is dependent on seasonal sensitivity to rooting; propagation by division is limited by the number of plants that can be formed from one stock plant 32. Accordingly, an alternative procedure is required for propagating Artemisia dracunculus L. plants efficiently. Tissue culture is one of the useful methods which can be used for clonal propagation.
Acorus calamus L. (Acoraceae) is a perennial herb, the root system of the adventitious type with thick branched rhizome, simple sword shape leaves. It grows to 1 meter in height. Venation parallel, petaloid with a membranous sheathing base. It has a yellow flower in summer 33. The leaves of the wild or cultivated plant are blenched, crushed or chopped and applied to swellings, wounds, painful joints, tumors. A paste of the roots pounded finely together with a little ginger (Zingiber officinalis) is applied externally to cure bone aches. The rhizome is taken as a tonic, and as an aphrodisiac, small amounts are thought to reduce stomach acidity, while large doses increase deficient acid production 34. It is most effective antispasmodic, relieve spasm of the intestine. The plant remains a popular, herbal remedy 35, 36. Rhizomes of Acorus calamus L. are beneficial in chronic, diarrhea, dyspepsia. It is a source of starchy food also used in perfumery 37. It is also added to bath preparations to alleviate nervous exhaustion 38. The rhizomes of Acorus calamus L. possess anti-spasmodic, carminative and anthelmintic properties and also used for the treatment of epilepsy, mental ailments, chronic diarrhea, dysentery, bronchial catarrh, intermittent fevers and tumors 39.
The genus Ammi (Apiaceae), a native of Egypt, is commonly known as Bishops Weed 40. The bishop's weed produces strongly aromatic seeds. The seeds contain drugs, used in the Unani system of medicine. The seeds bear ammoidin (xanthotoxin), ammidin (imperatonin) and majudin (bergaten) 41.
All these compounds are used in the treatment of leucoderma, vitiligo, psoriasis, and other dermal diseases. Bishops weed reputedly helps to treat patchy skin pigmentation of normal skin and testing of antitumor activity. There have been many valuable contributions of plant tissue culture in the fields of fundamental, academic and applied botany 42. Ammi majus L. is well known for its horticultural importance. It is also used in the manufacture of the suntan lotions in the west and thus has great export potential.
All types of mints have a distinctive flavor and refreshing aroma. The dried leaves and flowering tops of the plant constitute the drug. Infusion of its leaves is used in rheumatic pains, aching head, and indigestion. Aerial parts of the plant are refrigerant, stomachic, carminative, stimulant and diuretic. They possess antispasmodic and emmenagogue properties and are also given to stop vomiting and to treat jaundice.
The oil is a valuable antineuralgic. Mint oil is used for flavoring purposes, foods, beverages. Dementholized oil is employed for mouthwash; toothpaste etc. 43 In India, menthol production is non-promising because of the restricted cultivation. Thus, there is a need to expand the cultivation of this herb to ensure round the year availability.
CONCLUSION: Essential oils are today widely used for various purposes viz. - Bathing, hair care, shampoo, massage blend, skin care, vaporization, steam inhalation. The essential oil has shown great inhibitory activity in both acute and chronic anti-inflammatory process. Scents are powerful stimuli that directly enter the brain, triggering intense emotional responses. By inhaling essential oils, our brain will signal certain emotions that can leave us feeling energized, optimistic and hopeful.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: I would like to thank Dr. A. S, Shawl and Z. A. Kaloo supervisors for their extraordinary support in this process.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST: The essential oil can change the economic scenario in our state Jammu and Kashmir. The essential oil is found to be more useful when distinct features of life like diet, microbial activity, antioxidant activity, etc. are considered. Thus I have no conflict of interest in this review.
- Handa SS: Medicinal Plants Based Drug Industry and Emerging Plant Drugs. Unpublished manuscript in 1992.
- Walton NJ and Brown DE: Chemicals from Plants: Perspective on secondary plant products. London: Imperial college press and World Scientific Pub. Co. 1999.
- Hajimehdipoor H, Gohari AR, Ajani Y and Saeidnia S: Comparative study of the total phenol content and antioxidant activity of some medicinal herbal extracts. Res. J Pharmacogn. (RJP) 2014; 1(3): 21-25.
- Shawl AS and Qazi GN: Production and Trade of Medicinal Plants in India – A Review. SKUAST J Res 2004; 6: 1-12.
- Shawl AS and Kumar T, Chishti N, Shabir S and Kaloo ZA: Lavender - A versatile industrial crop in Kashmir. Indian Perfumer 2005; 49(2): 235-38.
- Sampaio BL, Edrada RA, Ebel RE and Costa FBD: Effect of the environment on the secondary metabolite profile of Tithonia diversifolia: A model for environmental metabolomics of plants. Scientific Report 6 2016: Article Number 29265.
- Akhondzadeh S, Kashani I, Fotouchi A and Jarvandi S: Progress in neuropsychopharmacology and biological psychiatry 2003; 27(1): 123-27.
- Santos FA, Silva RM, Campus AR, Araujo RP de Lima Junior RCP and Rao VSN: 1, 8 cineole (eucalyptol) a monoterpene oxide attenuates the colonic damage in rats on acute TNBS- colitis. Food and Chemical Toxicology 2004; 42(4): 579-84.
- Peana AT, Marzocco S, Popolo A, and Pinto A: (-) - Linalool inhibits in-vitro NO formation: Probable involvement in the antinociceptive activity of this monoterpene compound. Life Science 2006; 78(7): 719-23 E Pub 2005.
- Auria DFD, Tecca M, Strippoli V, Salvatore G, Battinelli I and Mazzanti G: Antifungal activity of Lavendula angustifolia essential oil against Candida albicans yeast and mycelia formed Mycol 2005; 43(5): 391-96.
- Goulart RH, Kimura EA, Peres VJ, Couto AS, Duartle FA and Katzin AM: Terpenes arrest parasite development and inhibit the biosynthesis of isoprenoids in Plasmodium falciparum. Antimicrobial Agents Chemotherapy 2004; 48(7): 2502-09.
- Barocelli E, Calcina F, Chiavarini M, Impicciatore M, Bruni R, Bianchi A and Ballabeni V: Antinoceptive and gastro protective effects of inhaled and orally administered Lavendula hybrida Reverchon “Grosso” essential oil. Life Science 2004; 76(2): 212-23.
- Ahmed MB and S: Anonymous, Lavender to be promoted in’99 countryside small stock J 1999; 83: 102.
- Williams LR, Stockley JK, Yan W and Home VN: Essential oils with high antimicrobial activity for therapeutic use. International Journal of Aromatherapy. 1998; 8(4): 30-40.
- Cavanagh HMA and Wilkinson JM: Biological activities of lavender essential oil. School of Biomedical Sciences, Charles Strut University, Wagga, NSW 2678, Australia. Phytotherapy Research 2002; 16: 301-08.
- Gras M and Calvos: Micro propagation of Lavendula latifolia through nodal bud culture of mature plants. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture 1996; 45: 259-61.
- Shim S and Lim S: Antifungal effects of herbal essential oils alone and in combination with Ketoconazole against Trichophyton Journal of Applied Microbiology 2004; 97(6): 1289.
- Anon: Impact of Chemicals and Allied Products. Chemical Weekly 1996-97; 11: 237-80.
- Larkin PJ and Scowcroft WR: Somaclonal variation a novel source of variability from cell cultures for plant improvement. Theory Appl. Genet 1981; 60: 197-14.
- Kukreja AK, Dhawan OP, Mathur AK, Ahuja PS and Mandal S: Screening and evaluation of agronomically useful somaclonal variation in Japanese (Mentha arvensis L). Euphytica 1991; 53: 183-91.
- Duncan RR: Tissue culture-induced variations and crop improvement. Advance in Agronomy New York: Academic Press 1991; 58: 201-40.
- Veilleux RE and Johnson AAT: Somaclonal variation: molecular analysis, transformation interaction and utilization. In J. Janick (Ed.) Plant Breeding Reviews New York: Wiley 1998; 66: 229-68.
- Ram M, Singh R, Naqvi AA and Kumar S: Effect of planting time on the yield and quality of essential oil in geranium Pelargonium graveolens. Hort. Science 1997; 725: 807-10.
- Anitia B and Vadivelu S: Management of root-knot nematode, Meloidognyne hapla on scented geranium, Pelargonium graveolens. Indian J Nemato 1997; 27: 123-24.
- Oholskiy D, Pischel I, Feistel B, Glotov N and Heinrich M: Artemisia dracunculus: A critical review of its traditional use, chemical composition, pharmacology and safety. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2011; 59(21): 11367-84.
- Tognolini M, Barocelli E, Ballabeni V, Bruni R, Bianchi A, Chiavarini M and Impicciatore M: Comparative screening of plant essential oils: Phenylpropanoid moiety as basic core for antiplatelet activity. Life Science 2006; 78(13): 1419-32.
- Kordali S, Kotan R, Mavi A, Cakir A, Ala A and Yildrim A: Determination of the chemical composition and antioxidant activity of the essential oil of Artemisia dracunculus, and of the antifungal and antibacterial activities of Turkish Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia dracunculus Artemisia santonicum and Artemisia spicegera essential oils. J Agric Food Chem 2005; 53(24): 9452-8.
- Orchard A, Sandasi M, Kamatoo G, Vilijoen A and Van VS: The in-vitro antimicrobial activity and chemometric modeling of 59 commercial essential oils against pathogens of dermatological relevance. Chemistry and Biodiversity 2017; 14(1): e 1600218.
- Mohammad S, Leil N and Kamalinejad M: Anticonvulsant activity and chemical composition of dracunculus L. essential oil. Jou of Ethnopharmacology 2004; 94: 283-87.
- The Wealth of India, Raw Materials: 1985; 1-9, C.S.I.R Publication, New Delhi 1943-72.
- Drobot KO, Shakhovsky AM and Matvieieva NA: Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) “Hairy” root culture production. Institute of Cell Biology and Genetic Engineering of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv. Biotechnologia Acta T.9 2, 2016: 55-60
- Mackay WA and Kitto SL: Factors affecting in-vitro shoot proliferation of French Tarragon. Hortscience in Flavour Science Recent Developments. Edited by A. J. Taylor and D. S. Mottram, The Royal Society of Chemistry Information Science 1988; 113(2): 282-87.
- Kumanan K, Balakumbahan R and Rajamani K: Acorus calamus L: An overview Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 2010; 4(25): 2740-45.
- Mukherjee PK, Kumar V, Mal M and Houghton PJ: Acorus calamus: Scientific Validation of Ayurvedic Tradition from Natural Resources. Journal of Pharmaceutical Biology 2007; 45(8): 651-61.
- Staden J, Gaw MCLJ and Jager AK: Isolation of β – asarone, an antibacterial and antihelminthic compound from Acorus calamus in South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 2002; 6: 31-35.
- Sharma V, Singh I and Chaudary P: Review Acorus calamus L. (The Healing Plant): a review on its medicinal potential, micropropagation and conservation. Natural Product Research formerly Natural Product Letters 2014; 28(18): 1454-66.
- Ahmed, Salahin M, Sultana R, Khatun M, Razvy MA, Hannan MM, Islam R and Hossain MM: Standardization of a suitable protocol for in vitro clonal propagation of Acorus calamus L. - An important medicinal plant in Bangladesh. American-Eurasian Journal of Scientific Research 2007; 2(2): 136-40.
- Jayaweera DMA: Medicinal plants used in Ceylon: National Science Council, Colombo 1982; 1: 120-21.
- Anonymous: Thai Herbal Pharmacopoeia Volume II, Department of Medical Sciences, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand, Prachachon Co., Ltd., Bangkok 2000.
- Ekiert H: In-vitro culture and the production of coumarin compounds. In Bajaj Y. P. S (eds.) Medicinal and Aromatic Plants IV. Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry 21. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg 1993.
- Pande D, Srivastava PS and Rangaswamy NS: Xanthotoxin in tissue culture of Ammi majus Journal of Tropical Medicinal Plants. Centre for Biotechnology, Hamdard University, New Delhi 110062 India 2000; 1: 43-52.
- Murashige T: Plant growth substances in commercial uses of Tissue Culture. Skoog F. (ed.) Springer, Verlag Berlin 1980; 426-34.
- Jamila F and Mostafa E: Ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used by people in Oriental Morocco to manage various ailments". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2014; 154(1): 76-87.
How to cite this article:
Nisa NT: Essential oil: their role in health - a review. Int J Pharmacognosy 2018; 5(8): 450-54. doi link: http://dx.doi.org/10.13040/IJPSR. 0975-8232.IJP.5(8).450-54.
This Journal licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.