Biological Importance of Essential Oils

Essential oils are the volatile compounds having the oily fragrance. Essential oils are obtained from the different plant parts, and they are extracted from the different techniques and the most preferable method of extraction is the hydrodistillation which is cheap and easy to use. Plant parts including the flowers, leaves, stem, bark and roots are used for the isolation of essential oils. Essential oils are used in almost every field of life and because of these characteristics, the market of essential oils is growing rapidly. Essential oils are used in the aromatherapy and act as antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, pain relievers, anxiety, depression. In the field of cosmetics and industries, the essential oils are used rapidly and mostly used in the perfume industries which are growing increasingly. Essential oils are used in the food preservations and many food items. Essential oils are used as the folk herbal medicines and their fragrance is used for the improvement of the mood and as the depression release.

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Muhammad Irshad, Muhammad Ali Subhani, Saqib Ali and Amjad Hussain (December 17th 2019). Biological Importance of Essential Oils, Essential Oils - Oils of Nature, Hany A. El-Shemy, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.87198. Available from: Biological Importance of Essential Oils | IntechOpen


Let us expand this learning on essential oils.
Essential oils (EOs) have been traditionally used by people from ancient times, mainly due to its aroma, and antimicrobial effect. They possess anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal properties. Used to treat various pains, allergies, and as insect repellents. They are used extensively in the food, pharma and cosmetic industry. At least many of us have come across pine oil (can’t forget due to its intense smell) used for massage or aches and inflammations. While it is also used in disinfectants and cleaning solutions!
As an alternative to synthetic preservatives, food industry has been using EOs where it highlight the importance of using nature/plant ingredients, though this comes at a higher cost. Edible packaging for food products, while improving the shelf life of certain food products have also been targeted by food industry using these EOs. Smart packaging materials also utilize EOs due the above listed properties. At the same time, EOs are natural food additives used as food preservatives. Nano or micro emulsions, liposomes are the encapsulation methods that are recently identified to further encapsulate bioactive compounds where these EOs come to additional use. EOs mainly contain low molecular weight chemical components, such as terpenes and terpenoids + other aliphatic & aromatic chemical compounds (aldehydes, alcohols, phenols etc).
Clove oil contain eugenol, eugenyl acetate
Mint contains menthone
Rose oil contain geraniol
Cinnamon contain cinnamaldehyde
Patcholi oil contain patchoulol
Aniseed oil contain anethole, anisaldehyde
Cardamom oil contains linalool, pinene, citronellol, terpinyl acetate etc.
Thyme oil contains carvacrol etc
An interesting Reference book: Natural Bioactive Compounds, p237-283, Essential oils extracted from medicinal plants and their applications


@nanoscientist Great contribution . Thank you so much.

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