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The purpose of this work was to prepare sodium alginate beads as a device for the controlled release of essential oil for oral administration as an antiviral agent. Different formulations were prepared with sodium alginate as a natural polymer and calcium chloride or glutaraldehyde as a cross-linking agent. Loading capacities of between 86% and 100% were obtained in freshly prepared beads by changing exposure time to the cross-linking agent. Drying of the calcium alginate beads caused only a slight decrease in the loading efficiency. The surface morphology of the different bead formulations were studied using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Stability studies over a 3-month period showed that glutaraldehyde reacted with some components ofArtemisia arborescens L essential oil, changing its composition. Calcium alginate beads showed an in vitro controlled release of the essential oil for the investigated 24 hours, while the use of glutaraldehyde as a cross-linking agent was found not appropriate because of the interactions with azulene derivatives and the low degree of matrix cross-linkage.