Some drugs are administered as a patch or ointment thru the skin. Certain plant substances have shown potential in aiding cutaneous absorption enhancement / transdermal delivery of medicines. Essential oils with their fat soluble structure have been studied as a potential skin penetration enhancer.
Absorption Enhancement Recipes
The listings of research below represent a compilation of scientific articles found on the topic, with a very brief overview description of each article/study. This compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use of any herb listed.
- Transdermal delivery of drugs using essential oils and their constituents are discussed. From: Herman, A., & Herman, A. P. (2015). Essential oils and their constituents as skin penetration enhancer for transdermal drug delivery: a review. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 67(4), 473-485.
- Basil essential oil aided in transdermal drug delivery in vivo, with little skin irritiation, perhaps related to its interaction wit the stratum corneum. From: Fang, J. Y., Leu, Y. L., Hwang, T. L., & Cheng, H. C. (2004). Essential oils from sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) as novel enhancers to accelerate transdermal drug delivery. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 27(11), 1819-1825.
- Drug delivery via the skin can be enhanced with eucalyptus, which may also help fight microorganisms present in the skin as an antisepsis. From: Karpanen, T. J., Conway, B. R., Worthington, T., Hilton, A. C., Elliott, T. S., & Lambert, P. A. (2010). Enhanced chlorhexidine skin penetration with eucalyptus oil. BMC infectious diseases, 10(1), 1
- L-menthol was an effective enhancer for a transdermal therapeutic system. From: Olivella, M. S., Lhez, L., Pappano, N. B., & Debattista, N. B. (2007). Effects of dimethylformamide and L-menthol permeation enhancers on transdermal delivery of quercetin. Pharmaceutical development and technology, 12(5), 481-484.
- Of the essential oils tested, eucalyptus and chenopodium were most effective, but also ylang ylang showed potential as a skin penetration enhancer for drug delivery. From: Williams, A. C., & Barry, B. W. (1989). Essential oils as novel human skin penetration enhancers. International journal of pharmaceutics, 57(2), R7-R9.
- The terpene nerolidol enhanced transdermal drug delivery. From: Prasanthi, D., & Lakshmi, P. K. (2012). Terpenes: Effect of lipophilicity in enhancing transdermal delivery of alfuzosin hydrochloride. Journal of advanced pharmaceutical technology & research, 3(4), 216.
- D-limonene and to a lesser degree, L-limonene, both showed enhanced skin absorption. From: Zhang, C. F., Yang, Z. L., & Luo, J. B. (2006). Effects of D-limonene and L-limonene on transdermal absorption of ligustrazine hydrochloride. Yao xue xue bao= Acta pharmaceutica Sinica, 41(8), 772-777.
By: Kathy Sadowski
Last Updated: 9/9/19