Monoterpenes, the major components of essential oils, belong to the group of isoprenoids containing ten carbon
atoms. Being widely distributed in the plant kingdom they are extensively used in cuisine and human health care products.
Studies have shown that both natural monoterpenes and their synthetic derivatives are endowed with various
pharmacological properties including antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, anticancer, antiarrhythmic, anti-aggregating,
local anesthetic, antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, antihistaminic and anti-spasmodic activities. Monoterpenes act also
as regulators of growth, heat, transpiration, tumor inhibitors, inhibitors of oxidative phosphorylation, insect repellants,
feline and canine attractants and antidiabetics. These interesting activities which might be potentially used not only in
pharmaceutical, but also food and cosmetic industries are discussed below.
Keywords: Acyclic, antibacterial, anticancer, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, essential oils, hypotensive
and vasorelaxant, local anesthetic, monocyclic and bicyclic monoterpenes, monoterpene activity, stereochemistry.
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