Essential oils and terpenes

Rashmi A. Thakur, Yiping Wang, Bozena B. Michniak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

22 Scopus citations


One of the most common approaches to drug penetration enhancement is the use of chemical agents which modify the skin barrier properties. For such an enhancer to be acceptable, the following properties are desired1: It should be nontoxic, nonirritating, exhibit no pharmacological property of its own, exert reversible effects on the skin, and be cosmetically acceptable. While a number of chemicals such as sulfoxides, alcohols, pyrrolidones, fatty acids, Azone have been studied, none of them have been proven to be outstanding often due to safety concerns. Terpenes may offer advantages over such enhancers because of their natural origin as well as Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) status. They are carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen containing nonaromatic compounds found in essential oils, extracted from flowers, fruits, and other natural products. These compounds have been used for a long time as fragrances and flavoring agents in commercial preparations (sweets, toothpastes, cigarettes). Table 13.1 provides examples of essential oils which have various terpenes or terpenoids as their main constituents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPercutaneous Penetration Enhancers, Second Edition
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781420039207
ISBN (Print)9780849321528
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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