It is a common perspective that medicinal plants have played and continue to perform an undeniably major role in the lives of people worldwide. Essential oils are the key constituents of medicinal herbs and their biological activities have been discovered since ancient times and are enormously utilised in multiple industries. The essential oils possess important biological properties like antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral, insecticidal, etc. Because of these unique features they are more acceptable and are utilised in various fields throughout the world. In the cosmetics industry they play an important role in the development of perfumes while in the food industry they have been used as food preservatives. Essential oil components are interestingly utilised for pharmaceutical applications. The most investigated properties are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, wound-healing, anxiolytic activities etc. The current thrust area is evaluation for aromatherapy and anti-cancer, as it is noted that essential oils reported in plants may prevent, inhibit, or even reverse formation of cancerous cells. The aim of this chapter is to provide a concise and comprehensive overview on the therapeutic and pharmaceutical potential of essential oils in the current scenario.
Part of the book: Essential Oils