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Anticancer properties of essential oils and other natural products

Blowman, K.; Magalhães, M.; Lemos, M. F.L.; Cabral, C.; Pires, I. M.


K. Blowman

M. Magalhães

M. F.L. Lemos

C. Cabral

I. M. Pires


Essential oils are secondary metabolites with a key-role in plants protection, consisting primarily of terpenes with a volatile nature and a diverse array of chemical structures. Essential oils exhibit a wide range of bioactivities, especially antimicrobial activity, and have long been utilized for treating various human ailments and diseases. Cancer cell prevention and cytotoxicity are exhibited through a wide range of mechanisms of action, with more recent research focusing on synergistic and antagonistic activity between specific essential oils major and minor components. Essential oils have been shown to possess cancer cell targeting activity and are able to increase the efficacy of commonly used chemotherapy drugs including paclitaxel and docetaxel, having also shown proimmune functions when administered to the cancer patient. The present review represents a state-of-the-art review of the research behind the application of EOs as anticancer agents both in vitro and in vivo. Cancer cell target specificity and the use of EOs in combination with conventional chemotherapeutic strategies are also explored.


Blowman, K., Magalhães, M., Lemos, M. F., Cabral, C., & Pires, I. M. (2018). Anticancer properties of essential oils and other natural products. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 1-12.

Acceptance Date Feb 13, 2018
Online Publication Date Mar 25, 2018
Publication Date Mar 25, 2018
Deposit Date Apr 19, 2018
Publicly Available Date Apr 20, 2018
Journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Print ISSN 1741-427X
Electronic ISSN 1741-4288
Publisher Hindawi
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2018
Article Number 3149362
Pages 1-12
Keywords Complementary and alternative medicine
Public URL
Publisher URL


Article (1.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2018 K. Blowman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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