In this article, you’ll learn all about terpenes – aromatic compounds in plants that provide flavor and scent. In addition to their beneficial properties, terpenes also attract pollinators. But, did you know that they also have medicinal properties?
This is why we can’t avoid consuming these plants, especially when they’re consumed as part of a healthy diet. Learn about the different types of terpenes, and how they can benefit your health.
Terpenes are aromatic compounds
The majority of the world’s cultivated plants contain terpenes. These compounds may be either acyclic or monocyclic, and they fall into three distinct categories: acyclic monoterpenes (I-III), tetracyclic (IX-X), and tricyclic (XI-XX). The most common terpenes are acyclic, with about 85-95% enantiomeric excess.
The chemical constituents of terpenes help plants to attract pollination, repel predators, and boost their immune system. Not only do these terpenes smell good, but they also serve an evolutionary purpose. Without terpenes, thousands of species would die out and we wouldn’t have the lovely aromas we enjoy today. As such, we can’t ignore the benefits of these compounds.
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They provide flavor and scent
Many of us are unaware of the role terpenes play in ecology, but the compounds found in many plants serve dual purposes. They serve to attract pollinators and repel predators, while also providing flavor and aroma to plants.
These compounds have many applications, from aromatherapy to consumer products, as well as medical research. The following are some examples of terpenes’ role in modern society.
Cannabis is characterized by a distinct taste and scent that is created by terpenes. Many people can identify a strain by its unique smell and flavor, which is due in part to the presence of CBD.
Terpenes also contribute to the entourage effect of cannabis products, which means that their presence in the cannabis plant is essential to a variety of products. Luckily, this complex chemistry also lends itself well to the industry, with cannabis companies increasingly using terpenes as a key component in flavor creation.
They have medicinal properties
Several terpenes, or fragrance compounds, have therapeutic properties. Some have been studied for their anti-anxiety, digestive, and pain-relieving effects, and many of them are already used in the pharmaceutical industry.
Others may be more effective at easing the symptoms of common illnesses, such as anxiety and depression. For example, d-limonene, a terpene found in citrus fruits, has anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant properties. It can also boost energy levels, and may also help cure Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, terpenes may have psychedelic effects through their interaction with THC. The stimulating aromas of terpenes can cause mild psychoactive effects. However, some terpenes may cause respiratory irritation or damage to your body when taken in concentrated form.
While many essential oils are safe for human use, others may be toxic for animals. For example, pine oil, which is derived from the terpene pinene, is toxic for cats and dogs. While cannabis-derived terpenes are illegal in the federal government, they may be legal in your state if you are looking for a natural alternative to medical marijuana.
They attract pollinators
The volatiles present in floral petals and flowers are known to attract various nocturnal and crepuscular pollinators. These bioassays were performed in Maues in August 2015. Five bioassays were conducted on a commercial plantation, and seven were conducted at Embrapa. The bioassays were conducted between 18:00 and 19:00. The results indicate that terpenes are highly effective in attracting pollinators.
The main reason why certain flowers attract pollinators is their scent. This scent signals the flower to the pollinators. Generally, plants emit the strongest scents during the night and attract the most pollinators. In order to attract pollinators, the scents of flowers should be high enough to entice bees, butterflies, moths, bats, and other insects. Young flowers, in contrast, produce a milder scent, and they do not attract pollinators.
They can cause allergies
Allergies to terpenes are caused by the oxidation of these compounds in the air, either by inhalation or contact. Exposure to these fragrances produces antibodies, which activate the production of allergic chemicals. Although most terpenes are not naturally allergenic, their oxidation may cause allergic reactions in some people. Oxidized linalool, for example, can cause respiratory symptoms and even asthma.
Essential oils are concentrated chemicals that emit a strong odor. VOCs such as terpenes, benzene, and toluene have been linked to respiratory issues in both people with and without asthma. Some oils, however, are toxic in high concentrations and should be avoided altogether.
These volatile organic compounds are present in almost all plants and trees, including pine needles. This is why it is important to check the safety of your essential oils before applying them on your skin.
They improve well-being
The fragrance of essential oils contains compounds known as terpenes, which are thought to enhance well-being in humans. While terpenes are not directly responsible for mental euphoria, they do promote various health benefits.
Diffusing citrus or lavender essential oils can promote relaxation, while peppermint can combat anxiety and relieve muscle soreness. Various studies indicate that terpenes may also improve mood and improve cognitive abilities.
One such compound, called salvinorin A, is used recreationally. Researchers are studying its ability to activate opioid receptors, which might make it useful in pain relief and mental health.
Another terpene, steviol, is used as a sweetener in many foods and may balance metabolism. It can also inhibit the degradation of vitamin C. And another terpene, stigmasterol, is used in pharmaceutical products. It helps promote alertness and memory.
The Differences Between Terpenes and Fragrance
Many essential oils are terpene-less and work differently than their regular counterparts. For example, if you were to substitute limonene for pinene in a juniper note, the fragrance would be too muted. The other terpenes contribute texture, as well. They’re known for their aromatic properties, which many people find desirable in a fragrance. In this article, we’ll look at the differences between limonene, as well as how they affect fragrance.
Myrcene is one of the most abundant terpenes in cannabis. It has a distinct earthy aroma and flavor that is reminiscent of hops. It may have a peppery flavor. Myrcene is also a component of beer hops, which is why it is used in brewing. It is also believed to contribute to the entourage effect when consuming cannabis.
The main commercial use of myrcene is as a flavoring ingredient in cosmetics. It also has aromas in plants, including citrus, mangoes, herbs, hops, and cannabis. Some strains have high concentrations of myrcene, and others have low levels. A high concentration of myrcene will produce a couch-lock effect, while a low concentration will create a calming and energizing effect.
A recent study showed that eucalyptol significantly improved cognitive performance in elderly Japanese nursing home residents. This compound also had a pronounced antagonizing effect on pain receptors, making them inactive. Several other studies suggest that eucalyptol may be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, as it reduces inflammation in neuroreceptors and brain cells. Recent research suggests that eucalyptol may be useful in treating inflammation, preventing the spread of cancer cells, and even inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
This compound has a long list of benefits, including its ability to fight inflammation and relieve pain. In addition, it can be helpful in reducing bacterial and viral infections, and may even be effective in treating respiratory and colon conditions. It also helps the body fight off toxins and maintain proper respiration. Eucalyptol is a common component of many different types of perfume and lotions, which are made with this compound.
A wide range of medicinal properties have been attributed to linalool. Its scent is associated with lavender and is found in many marijuana strains, including Amnesia Haze, Haiduk (Sour Tangie) from Aurora, Raphael from Peace Naturals, and Kush. In fact, linalool is present in more than 200 plants. However, it is not the primary chemical responsible for the lavender smell.
In addition to its pleasant smell, linalool also has antimicrobial properties, which makes it an important ingredient in many personal care products. Animal studies have indicated that linalool is effective for the treatment of various health conditions, including anxiety and depression. Its calming and stress-reducing effects have also made it a popular ingredient in flavored drinks and cosmetics. Since the smell affects our mood, linalool is a great choice for products that promote a relaxed state of mind.