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


Overview Information

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, pancreatic cancer, and brain cancer. It is also used for cancers that don't seem to respond to treatment.

Perillyl alcohol is sometimes applied to the skin as a mosquito repellent, for skin damage caused by long-term sun exposure (actinic keratosis), and to prevent skin cancer.

Perillyl alcohol is used in the nose for brain cancer.

How does it 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.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Rough, scaly patches on skin caused by long-term sun exposure (actinic keratosis). Applying perillyl alcohol cream to the skin does not appear to improve skin damage caused by long-term sun exposure.
  • Brain tumor. There is some evidence that using perillyl alcohol nasal spray after receiving standard cancer treatment might keep certain recurrent brain tumors from advancing and may actually help shrink the tumors. But higher quality research is needed to confirm these results.
  • Breast cancer. Early research shows that taking perillyl alcohol by mouth does not help women with breast cancer live longer.
  • Colorectal cancer. Early research shows that taking perillyl alcohol by mouth does not keep cancer of the colon or rectum from becoming worse.
  • Ovarian cancer. Early research shows 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 by mouth 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.
  • 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.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Perillyl alcohol is POSSIBLY SAFE when used as a nasal spray, applied to the skin, or taken by mouth with medical supervision. But don't take perillyl alcohol by mouth on your own.

Taking perillyl alcohol by mouth 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 high doses of perillyl alcohol by mouth.

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.



We currently have no information for PERILLYL ALCOHOL Interactions.



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.

View References


  • Belanger, J. T. Perillyl alcohol: applications in oncology. Altern Med Rev 1998;3(6):448-457. View abstract.
  • Pandey, D. K., Shekelle, R., Selwyn, B. J., Tangney, C., and Stamler, J. Dietary vitamin C and beta-carotene and risk of death in middle-aged men. The Western Electric Study. Am J Epidemiol. 12-15-1995;142(12):1269-1278. View abstract.
  • Ripple GH, Gould MN, Stewart JA, and et al. Phase I clinical trial of perillyl alcohol administered daily. Clin Cancer Res 1998;4(5):1159-1164. View abstract.
  • Ripple, G. H., Gould, M. N., Arzoomanian, R. Z., Alberti, D., Feierabend, C., Simon, K., Binger, K., Tutsch, K. D., Pomplun, M., Wahamaki, A., Marnocha, R., Wilding, G., and Bailey, H. H. Phase I clinical and pharmacokinetic study of perillyl alcohol administered four times a day. Clin Cancer Res 2000;6(2):390-396. View abstract.
  • Ahn KJ, Lee CK, Choi EK, et al. Cytotoxicity of perillyl alcohol against cancer cells is potentiated by hyperthermia. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2003;57:813-9. View abstract.
  • Anis E, Zafeer MF, Firdaus F, et al. Evaluation of phytomedicinal potential of perillyl alcohol in an in vitro Parkinson's Disease model. Drug Dev Res. 2018;79(5):218-224. View abstract.
  • Azzoli, C. G., Miller, V. A., Ng, K. K., Krug, L. M., Spriggs, D. R., Tong, W. P., Riedel, E. R., and Kris, M. G. A phase I trial of perillyl alcohol in patients with advanced solid tumors. Cancer Chemother.Pharmacol. 2003;51(6):493-498. View abstract.
  • Bailey HH, Attia S, Love RR, et al. Phase II trial of daily oral perillyl alcohol (NSC 641066) in treatment-refractory metastatic breast cancer. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2008;62(1):149-57. View abstract.
  • Bailey HH, Wilding G, Tutsch KD, et al. A phase I trial of perillyl alcohol administered four times daily for 14 days out of 28 days. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2004;54:368-76. View abstract.
  • Bailey, H. H., Levy, D., Harris, L. S., Schink, J. C., Foss, F., Beatty, P., and Wadler, S. A phase II trial of daily perillyl alcohol in patients with advanced ovarian cancer: Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Study E2E96. Gynecol.Oncol. 2002;85(3):464-468. View abstract.
  • Bardon, S., Foussard, V., Fournel, S., and Loubat, A. Monoterpenes inhibit proliferation of human colon cancer cells by modulating cell cycle-related protein expression. Cancer Lett. 7-26-2002;181(2):187-194. View abstract.
  • Barthelman, M., Chen, W., Gensler, H. L., Huang, C., Dong, Z., and Bowden, G. T. Inhibitory effects of perillyl alcohol on UVB-induced murine skin cancer and AP-1 transactivation. Cancer Res 2-15-1998;58(4):711-716. View abstract.
  • Burke, Y. D., Ayoubi, A. S., Werner, S. R., McFarland, B. C., Heilman, D. K., Ruggeri, B. A., and Crowell, P. L. Effects of the isoprenoids perillyl alcohol and farnesol on apoptosis biomarkers in pancreatic cancer chemoprevention. Anticancer Res 2002;22(6A):3127-3134. View abstract.
  • Chung, B. H., Lee, H. Y., Lee, J. S., and Young, C. Y. Perillyl alcohol inhibits the expression and function of the androgen receptor in human prostate cancer cells. Cancer Lett. 7-16-2005; View abstract.
  • Clark SS, Zhong L, Filiault D, et al. Anti-leukemia effect of perillyl alcohol in Bcr/Abl-transformed cells indirectly inhibits signaling through Mek in a Ras- and Raf-independent fashion. Clin Cancer Res 2003;9:4494-504. View abstract.
  • Clark SS. Perillyl alcohol induces c-Myc-dependent apoptosis in Bcr/Abl-transformed leukemia cells. Oncology 2006;70:13-8. View abstract.
  • da Fonseca CO, Linden R, Futuro D, Gattass CR, Quirico-Santos T. Ras pathway activation in gliomas: a strategic target for intranasal administration of perillyl alcohol. Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz). 2008;56(4):267-76. View abstract.
  • Da Fonseca CO, Masini M, Futuro D, et al. Anaplastic oligodendroglioma responding favorably to intranasal delivery of perillyl alcohol: a case report and literature review. Surg Neurol 2006;66:611-5. View abstract.
  • Fernandes J, da Fonseca CO, Teixeira A, Gattass CR. Perillyl alcohol induces apoptosis in human glioblastoma multiforme cells. Oncol Rep 2005;13:943-7. View abstract.
  • Hudes, G. R., Szarka, C. E., Adams, A., Ranganathan, S., McCauley, R. A., Weiner, L. M., Langer, C. J., Litwin, S., Yeslow, G., Halberr, T., Qian, M., and Gallo, J. M. Phase I pharmacokinetic trial of perillyl alcohol (NSC 641066) in patients with refractory solid malignancies. Clin Cancer Res 2000;6(8):3071-3080. View abstract.
  • Liston BW, Nines R, Carlton PS, et al. Perillyl alcohol as a chemopreventive agent in N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine-induced rat esophageal tumorigenesis. Cancer Res 2003;63:2399-403. View abstract.
  • Liu G, Oettel K, Bailey H, et al. Phase II trial of perillyl alcohol (NSC 641066) administered daily in patients with metastatic androgen independent prostate cancer. Invest New Drugs 2003;21:367-72. View abstract.
  • Loutrari H, Hatziapostolou M, Skouridou V, et al. Perillyl alcohol is an angiogenesis inhibitor. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2004;311:568-75. View abstract.
  • Matos JM, Schmidt CM, Thomas HJ, et al. A pilot study of perillyl alcohol in pancreatic cancer. J Surg Res. 2008;147(2):194-9. View abstract.
  • Meadows, S. M., Mulkerin, D., Berlin, J., Bailey, H., Kolesar, J., Warren, D., and Thomas, J. P. Phase II trial of perillyl alcohol in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Int J Gastrointest.Cancer 2002;32(2-3):125-128. View abstract.
  • Morgan-Meadows S, Dubey S, Gould M, et al. Phase I trial of perillyl alcohol administered four times daily continuously. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2003;52:361-6. View abstract.
  • Murren, J. R., Pizzorno, G., DiStasio, S. A., McKeon, A., Peccerillo, K., Gollerkari, A., McMurray, W., Burtness, B. A., Rutherford, T., Li, X., Ho, P. T., and Sartorelli, A. Phase I study of perillyl alcohol in patients with refractory malignancies. Cancer Biol Ther 2002;1(2):130-135. View abstract.
  • Omolo MO, Okinyo D, Ndiege IO, et al. Repellency of essential oils of some Kenyan plants against Anopheles gambiae. Phytochemistry 2004;65:2797-802. View abstract.
  • Rajesh, D. and Howard, S. P. Perillyl alcohol mediated radiosensitization via augmentation of the Fas pathway in prostate cancer cells. Prostate 9-15-2003;57(1):14-23. View abstract.
  • Rajesh, D., Stenzel, R. A., and Howard, S. P. Perillyl alcohol as a radio-/chemosensitizer in malignant glioma. J Biol Chem 9-19-2003;278(38):35968-35978. View abstract.
  • Stearns V, Coop A, Singh B, et al. A pilot surrogate end point biomarker trial of perillyl alcohol in breast neoplasia. Clin Cancer Res 2004;10:7583-91. View abstract.
  • Stratton SP, Alberts DS, Einspahr JG, et al. A phase 2a study of topical perillyl alcohol cream for chemoprevention of skin cancer. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2010;3(2):160-9. View abstract.
  • Stratton SP, Saboda KL, Myrdal PB, et al. Phase 1 study of topical perillyl alcohol cream for chemoprevention of skin cancer. Nutr Cancer. 2008;60(3):325-30. View abstract.
  • Xu M, Floyd HS, Greth SM, et al. Perillyl alcohol-mediated inhibition of lung cancer cell line proliferation: potential mechanisms for its chemotherapeutic effects. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2004;195:232-46. View abstract.
  • Yuri T, Danbara N, Tsujita-Kyutoku M, et al. Perillyl alcohol inhibits human breast cancer cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2004;84:251-60. View abstract.
  • Zafeer MF, Firdaus F, Ahmad F, et al. Perillyl alcohol alleviates amyloid-ß peptides-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and cytotoxicity in SH-SY5Y cells. Int J Biol Macromol. 2018;109:1029-1038. View abstract.
  • Zhang, Z., Chen, H., Chan, K. K., Budd, T., and Ganapathi, R. Gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric analysis of perillyl alcohol and metabolites in plasma. J Chromatogr.B Biomed.Sci Appl. 5-14-1999;728(1):85-95. View abstract.

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