Essential oils from traditional medicinal plants in Malaysia: a review on their traditional uses, bioactive constituents and therapeutic potential

Wen Nee Tan, Ruzainah Ali, Woei Yenn Tong, Chean Ring Leong, Kooi Yeong Khaw

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


Malaysia, a Southeast Asian country, is well known for its tropical rainforest. Malaysia has approximately 15,000 species of vascular plants. Among these, 2,000 plant species are estimated to possess medicinal values. Medicinal plants have promising therapeutic potential in treating certain illnesses and health disorders. They have been regarded as an important source of drugs and/or therapeutic agents. Essential oils (EOs), or known as aromatic oils, are a complex mixture of volatile chemical constituents extracted from various parts of plants. Over the years, EOs are gaining wide attention from the scientific community owing to their broad spectrum of pharmacological activities. To date, EOs are extensively used in flavour and fragrance, food and pharmaceutical industries. The present review focused on the traditional medicinal plants from Malaysia along with the extracted EOs, major chemical constituents and potent pharmacological activities. This review serves as an important reference for the discovery and developments of bioactive EOs from traditional medicinal plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-711
Number of pages9
JournalPharmaceutical Chemistry Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • essential oils
  • hydrodistillation
  • Malaysia
  • medicinal plants
  • volatiles

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