From Big Medical Encyclopedia

ESSENTIAL OILS (Olea aetherea) — the multicomponent flying fragrant vegetable matters belonging to different classes of chemical compounds.

Majority E. m have antimicrobic and spasmolytic properties. Many E. m have antiinflammatory effect. Besides, they have positive effect on the general metabolism, oppress or increase activity of c. N of page, influence functions of cardiovascular system. Separate E. m stimulate or oppress respiratory system, have expectorant effect. Toxicity of the majority E. m,

especially at their inhalation and external use, it is low. However nek-ry E. m are rather toxic and at introduction inside have hemolitic effect (see Hemotoxins). Essential oils are removed from an organism through kidneys, increasing at the same time a diuresis, and also through lungs what their local antiseptic and direct expectorant action is connected with.

On chemical structure distinguish E. the m containing connections of an aliphatic and aromatic series, terpenes and their derivatives. In the free or connected with other substances look they contain in cells of various bodies of plants (roots, leaves, stalks, flowers and fruits). Their quantity in vegetable raw materials fluctuates from 0,001 to 20% in terms of nonvolatile solid. More than 2500 species of essential oil-bearing plants are known.

AA. m usually represent oily liquids of various coloring. Nek-rye from them at the room temperature have a dense consistence. However the general properties of all essential oils are the characteristic aromatic smell, burning taste, good solubility in organic solvents and ability to flavor water.

Essential oils are widely applied in pharmaceutical industry at production of dosage forms (see) for improvement of their taste, a smell, a consistence and other properties.

The following is most widely used to lay down. the drugs containing E. m: tinctures, extracts and oils of arnica, a valerian, an anise, a peppermint, a St. John's Wort, an eucalyptus, a coriander, phytoncidal drugs (see Phytoncides), various drugs of camphor (see), a valerian (see), camomiles pharmaceutical (see), a Labrador tea, a peppermint, etc.

Bibliography: Muravyeva D. A. Pharmacognosy, M., 1981. S. Ya. Sokolov.