More than 25 essential oils are official medicaments in the European Pharmacopoeia. Among them, essential oils of anise, bitter fennel fruit, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, and thyme are frequently used for the treatment of respiratory tract diseases. Common chemical constituents of essential oils, including menthol and 1, 8‐cineole have been extensively used in human experiments. Menthol has been shown to be antitussive in low concentration, and reduces respiratory discomfort and dyspnea. The monoterpene 1,8‐cineole, also known as eucalyptol, is antimicrobial, antitussive, mucolytic, anti‐inflammatory, a bronchodilator, and promotes ciliary transport. It is useful for treating a wide range of respiratory conditions. Its anti-inflammatory property makes it useful not only in respiratory infections but inflammatory diseases like bronchial asthma and COPD. It is found in numerous essential oils including eucalyptus, helichrysum, laurel, niaouli, ravintsara, rosemary, and others. Another potentially useful phytochemical is germacrone, a major component of the essential oil extracted from turmeric. It was found to inhibit influenza virus replication with antiviral activity against the H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A viruses and the influenza B virus.
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