, an aromatic plant, is known in Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of various kidney diseases. In the present study, the volatile components were isolated from the aerial parts of this plant by hydrodistillation and analysed by GC–MS. A total of 55 compounds, which were the major part (91.7%) of the volatiles, were identified by matching mass spectra with a mass spectrum library (NIST 05.L). The main components were as follows: heptadecane (14.78%), 6,10,14-trimethyl-2-pentadecanone (12.80%), n
-hexadecanoic acid (8.98%), pentadecane (8.68%), eudesma-4(14),11-diene (5.86%), phytol (3.77%), octadec-9-enoic acid (3.35%), 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid diisooctyl ester (2.74%), (Z,Z
)-9,12-octadecadienoic acid (2.36%), (Z
)-7,11-dimethyl-3-methylene-1,6,10-dodecatriene (2.08%) and (Z,Z,Z
)-1,5,9,9-tetramethyl-1,4,7-cycloundecatriene (2.07%). The effects of volatile components and ethanolic extract from the aerial parts of this plant on the proliferation and differentiation of primary osteoblasts were evaluated by the MTT method and measuring the activity of alkaline phosphatase (ALP activity). Both volatile components and ethanolic extract (1 μg/mL to 100 μg/mL) significantly (p
< 0.01) stimulated the proliferation and increased the ALP activity of primary osteoblasts. These results propose that E. prostrata
can play an important role in osteoblastic bone formation, and may possibly lead to the development of bone-forming drugs.