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A review: Biological activity of myrtenal and some myrtenal-containing medicinal plant essential oils

Stela Dragomanova, Lyubka Tancheva, Marieta Georgieva


Introduction: Myrtenal, a component of many plants’ essential oils, is a bicyclic monoterpenoid. Numerous effects of myrtenal in experimental animals have been found – bronchodilatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-aggregative and antihemolytic (in vitro), and antibacterial.  Its other activities have been studied – antioxidant, antitumor, antihyperglycemic, vasodilating, heart rate reducing and hypotensive. Myrtenal is relatively little studied in the field of neuroscience.

Aim: The aim of this article is to summarize the available information on the established biological activity of the monoterpenoid myrtenal.

Materials and Methods: Scientific databases such as PubMed, ResearchGate, HMDB and others have been used to provide information on the published results of properties and activities of the test substance (myrtenal) over a period of 15 years (2003 – 2018).

Results: Our research confirmed the available data for its central nervous system (CNS) activity – anxiolytic and potentiating the effects of the hypnotic drugs, as well as the antioxidant properties. We have evaluated the neuromodulatory activity of M in brain tissue manifested in elevated levels of major neurotransmitters in healthy rodents and those with neurodegenerative changes accompanied by improvement in the animals’ memory.

Conclusion: Significant protective effects of myrtenal on neurodegenerative processes were established. Probably they are related to its complex mechanisms, including neuromodulatory and antioxidant properties.


myrtenal, biological activity, neurodegeneration

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About The Authors

Stela Dragomanova
Medical University of Varna

Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacotherapy, Faculty of Pharmacy


Lyubka Tancheva
Institute of Neurobiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Marieta Georgieva
Medical University of Varna

Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacotherapy, Faculty of Pharmacy

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