Perillyl Alcohol

What other names is Perillyl Alcohol known by?

Acide Dihydropérillique, Acide Périllique, Alcohol Perílico, Alcool Périllique, Dihydroperillic Acid, Monoterpene Perillyl Alcohol, Monoterpène, Perillic Acid, Périllique, Perillyl, Perilyl, Perrillyl, POH.

What is Perillyl Alcohol?

Perillyl alcohol is a chemical found in certain plants such as lavender and citrus fruits.

People take perillyl alcohol for cancer including lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and brain cancer. It is also used for cancers that don't seem to respond to treatment.

Perillyl alcohol is sometimes applied directly to the skin as a mosquito repellent.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Colorectal cancer. Early research suggests that taking perillyl alcohol by mouth does not keep cancer of the colon or rectum from becoming worse.
  • Brain cancer. There are some reports that putting perillyl alcohol solution in the nose might shrink a certain type of brain tumor called oligodendroglioma.
  • Ovarian cancer. Early research suggests that taking perillyl alcohol by mouth does not keep ovarian cancer from advancing or increase overall survival in people with ovarian cancer.
  • Prostate cancer. There is some evidence that taking perillyl alcohol does not keep prostate cancer from advancing. But the results of this study are unreliable because many of the patients enrolled in the study dropped out early. They couldn't tolerate the side effects of perillyl alcohol.
  • Lung cancer.
  • Breast cancer.
  • Use as a mosquito repellent, when applied to the skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of perillyl alcohol for these uses.

How does Perillyl Alcohol work?

There isn't enough information to know how perillyl alcohol might work against cancer. Test tube research and research in animals suggest that perillyl alcohol might prevent cancer cells from growing. But there is not enough information to know if perillyl alcohol has this effect in people.

Perillyl alcohol seems to repel mosquitoes. There isn't enough information to know how perillyl alcohol might do this.

Are there safety concerns?

Perillyl alcohol is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth with medical supervision. Don't use it on your own.

Perillyl alcohol can cause several serious side effects including stomach upset, reflux, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, fatigue, and headache. Higher doses are more likely to cause more side effects. Many people who take perillyl alcohol have to stop because they can't tolerate the side effects, even at usual doses.

There have been reports of pancreatitis, increased bilirubin (which is a measure of liver function), increased white blood cell count, and low potassium levels in people taking perillyl alcohol.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking perillyl alcohol if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Dosing considerations for Perillyl Alcohol.

The appropriate dose of perillyl alcohol depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for perillyl alcohol. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011