Resumo em inglês Essential oils are extracted by steam distillation of plants or cold pressing of citrus fruit pericarp. They are used in food, cosmetic, personal care and pharmaceutical industries. In Brazil, oils from orange and related products contribute to near 97% to the positive commercial performance of the sector. Predatory exploitation and the availability of new sources of raw materials, with more attracting prices, changed the paradigm. Prospective studies, sustainable use of (mais) Brazilian biodiversity, domestication of exotic species with commercial relevance, the use of breeding techniques and the development of new applications for essential oils are thematic lines, usually multidisciplinary, which have been prompting the expansion of the research on essential oils. This paper presents an analysis on essential oils balance trade from 2005 to 2008 and some historical data on research and production of essential oils in Brazil.