What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are primarily known as aromatic compounds, responsible for the unique aroma associated with plants like cannabis, pine, and lavender. It may surprise most that terpenes can also function in attracting pollinators, deterring predators, help the plant recover from damage, and even aid the plant’s immune system to fight off infectious germs.
Terpenes and The Human Body
Aside from fragrance, terpenes may also offer some health benefits to the human body. Terpenes can be bioactive, which means they may affect the body. The degree at which the terpenes affect the body is dependent on the concentration of the terpene itself and how the person is using it. Research suggests that many terpenes have demonstrated beneficial effects on the body and could serve as an alternative medical remedy. Some terpenes types include Limonene, Pinene, Linalool, Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Humulene, Geraniol, Terpinolene, Ocimene, and Phytol. To read more on the different terpenes and the effects on the body, reference below!
Types of Terpenes
Limonene is known for its signature citrusy scent and is common in fruits like lemons and oranges. Limonene is associated with a wide array of health benefits, including its ability to enhance focus, quell stress and help fight depression and anxiety.
A Study in Chemico-Biological Interactions notes that limonene appears to modulate the way certain immune cells behave, which may protect the body from a range of disorders. This study suggests that limonene contains a multitude of therapeutic properties can be used as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antidiabetic, and anticarcinogen.
Pinene is responsible for the “fresh” scent associated with pine needles, rosemary, and basil. Pinene aids in bronchodilation, which allows for more air to be sucked into the lungs. Pinene also acts as an anti-inflammatory and has been shown to provide pain and anxiety relief.
Linalool is responsible for the rich scent present in lavender plants. Linalool is an important component in aromatherapy and has been associated with a calming affect when inhaled.
A study in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces notes that linalool may affect the body in a variety of ways due to a range of properties, including anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, neuroprotective, antidepressant, anticancer, and anti-anxiety.
Myrcene is a common terpene found in plants like cannabis, hops, lemongrass, and thyme. Myrcene has shown to be a powerful antioxidant and could provide protection from oxidative damage to vital organs in our system.
Humulene is a key component of the hop plant. Other plants, such as clove and ginger, also contain it. In animal study models, humulene reduced allergic inflammation in the airways. This could make it a helpful compound for natural asthma treatments in the future.
This terpene has been used in Chinese medicine for generations and is a popular supplement for Weight Loss, Pain, Cancer, Bacterial Infections, Arthritis, Malaria, and Anti-Inflammation.
Terpenes are the compounds responsible for a plant’s scent, can act as a repellant, aid in the plants immune system, could help the plant recover from damage. They are abundant in cannabis and many other plants, fruits, and herbs. The latest research suggests that terpenes can provide health benefits to humans. Terpenes react with the body in different ways, with its intensity dependent on its concentration.
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