Therapeutic Potential of Essential Oil-based Microemulsions: Reviewing State-of-the-art

Document Type


Publication Date



A pre-eminent emulsion-based micellar drug delivery system, "microemulsion", comprising drug in oil or water phase, stabilized by surfactants and co-surfactants, has been evidenced to have a phenomenal role in a number of applications. Oils play an important role in the formation of ME and increase the drug absorption at the site of action. Oils employed in microemulsion formulation solubilize lipophilic drug. As the concept of "natural" therapies is recently gaining importance amongst researchers all over the world, scientists are employing essential oil as an organic component in this system. The active components of essential oils include flavonoids, phenylpropanoids, monoterpenes and polyunsaturated mega-6-fatty acids. These oils are enriched with characteristic intrinsic properties such as anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, etc., bestowing enhanced supremacy to the whole microemulsion system. This mini-review is the first to document various types of essential oils employed in microemulsion systems and highlight their therapeutic potential and applications as drug delivery vehicles. Key inferences from this study suggest: 1) Clove oil is the most explored oil for incorporation into a microemulsion based system, followed by peppermint and Tea Tree Oil (TTO). 2) Penetration enhancing effects of these oils are due to the presence of terpenic constituents. 3) Essential oil based microemulsions protect volatility of ethereal oils and protect them from degradation in the presence of light, air, temperature. 4) These systems may also be explored for their applications in different industries like aromatherapy, food, drink, fragrance, flavour, cosmeceutical, soap, petroleum and pharmaceutical industry.