Essential oils, those liquids redolent of lavender, peppermint, and other plants, have seldom been taken seriously as therapeutics. The seeming lack of respect, a research team in Belgium suggests, has less to do with scientific snobbery than it does with practical difficulties in the laboratory. Specifically, essential oil components have been deemed too volatile and too hydrophobic to be easily processed by today’s high-throughput screening techniques.
The analysis established a key metric: u-cmc, or unique core molecular constitution. Then it compared umcEOCs, the unique core molecular constitution of EOCs to u-cmcADs, the unique core molecular constitution of approved drugs. (The “cmc” of a molecule describes, among other things, its chemical formula, connectivity, and hydrogen positions. The “u” indicates that overlaps in the constitution of different compounds have been eliminated.)