Essential oils and the constituents in them exhibit different pharmacological activities, such as antinociceptive, anxiolytic-like, and anticonvulsant effects. They are widely applied as a complementary therapy for people with anxiety, insomnia, convulsion, pain, and cognitive deficit symptoms through inhalation, oral administration, and aromatherapy. Recent studies show that essential oils are emerging as a promising source for modulation of the GABAergic system and sodium ion channels. This review summarizes the recent findings regarding the pharmacological properties of essential oils and compounds from the oils and the mechanisms underlying their effects. Specifically, the review focuses on the essential oils and their constituents targeting the GABAergic system and sodium channels, and their antinociceptive, anxiolytic, and anticonvulsant properties. Some constituents target transient receptor potential (TRP) channels to exert analgesic effects. Some components could interact with multiple therapeutic target proteins, for example, inhibit the function of sodium channels and, at the same time, activate GABAA
receptors. The review concentrates on perspective compounds that could be better candidates for new drug development in the control of pain and anxiety syndromes.
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