Essential oils have increased interest as promising ingredients for novel pharmaceutical dosage forms. These
oils are reported to provide synergistic effects of their active ingredients, in parallel with their biodegradable properties. In
addition, essential oils may also have therapeutic effects in diabetes, inflammation, cancer and to treat microbial infections.
However, there are some physicochemical properties that may limit their use as active compounds in several formulations,
such as high volatility, low-appealing organoleptic properties, low bioavailability and physicochemical instability,
as result of exposure to light, oxygen and high temperatures. To overcome these limitations, lipid colloidal carriers (e.g.
liposomes, solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN), self nanoemulsified drug delivery systems (SNEDDS)) have been pointed out
as suitable carriers to improve bioavailability, low solubility, taste, flavor and long-term storage of sensitive compounds.
This paper reviews the potential beneficial effects of formulating essential oils in pharmaceutical applications using colloidal
carriers as delivery systems. Keywords: essential oils, colloidal system, encapsulation, biological effect, chemotherapy.