Terpenes are aroma molecules produced by most plants and the largest single class of compounds found in essential oils. Terpenes often have a strong odor and may protect the plants that produce them by deterring herbivores or by attracting predators.
Orange oil contains 13 terpenes and 11 sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (source).
The terpene hydrocarbons were identified as α‐thujene, α‐pinene, camphene, 2,4‐p‐mentbadiene, sabinene, myrcene, Δ‐3‐carene, α‐phellandrene, α‐terpinene, limonene, Δ‐3‐terpinene, p‐cymene, and terpinolene.
The sesquiterpene hydrocarbons were identified as α‐copaene, α‐ylangene, β‐copaene, β‐elemene, caryophyllene, β‐ylangene, farnesene, α‐ and β‐humulene, valencene, and Δ‐cadinene.
The benefits of terpenes are not just limited to the wonderful aromatic experience they offer—terpenes also provide a wide range of health benefits.
Listed below are the benefits researchers have found with following terpenes contained in oranges.
Swiss scientists in their 1997 study determined that myrcene is one of the most common and abundant terpenes in cannabis. It can reach up to 50% of the whole terpenes volume.
Myrcene has an effect on the permeability of cell membranes, meaning it can act as a regulator of other terpenes and cannabinoids, enhancing or buffering their effects.
- Myrcene has been shown to act as a muscle relaxant in animals, helps to fight insomnia and cooperates with other cannabinoids effectively. Thus, when combined with CBD or THC, myrcene could reduce inflammation and manage pain.
- Ongoing research suggests an immediate change in the human body once myrcene is used. These benefits include anti-inflammatory changes, pain relief, and the ability to maximize one’s immune system.(Source)
In some cases, it is also used as a robust sedative to ease the nerves.
- Mercene helps some other cannabinoids and terpenes pass through cell membranes, allowing more CBD and THC to reach brain cells. This potentiates the effects felt from cannabinoids and helps increase absorption.
- A detailed study, led by Dr. Ethan Russo of GW Pharmaceuticals, identified the cannabinoids with which particular terpenes interact to produce targeted therapeutic effects.
The study identified myrcene as interacting with the following cannabinoids to produce medicinal benefits:
CBD + Myrcene: Decreases inflammation, reduces pain, and fights cancer.
THC + Myrcene: Reduces pain and relaxes muscles; also acts as a sedative and a “hypnotic.”
CBG + Myrcene: Fights cancer.
- A 2008 GW Pharmaceuticals study concluded that myrcene can manage pain effectively and found that the terpene exhibits an analgesic effect that is opium-like in its mechanism – only without the addiction.
- In a 1990 study it was revealed that terpene reduces the sensation of pain by inhibiting pain perception in the brain.
- This powerful terpene also has been shown to slow bacterial growth, inhibit cell mutation (one of its roles in fighting cancer), suppress muscle spasms (making it a powerful tool in the fight against epilepsy and dystonia), and is even helpful for those suffering from psychosis due to its tranquilizing effect.
- A study carried out on the Artemisia species, an important medicinal plant proved the antioxidant capabilities of thujene
- A study conducted in Iran stated that Thujene also acts as an active anti-viral agent as well.
Caryophyllene is an FDA approved food additive and the only terpene that interacts directly with the endocannabinoid system (CB2).
- Studies show B-caryophyllene holds promise in cancer treatment plans. Resarch shows that caryophyllene selectively binds to the CB2 receptor resulting in a biological response.
- Caryophyllene possesses a wide range of biological activities including anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous and local anesthetic actions. (source)
- May increase longevity. (source 1, source 2)
- Reduces and increase antioxidant levels in the brain. (source 1, source 2)
- Has been shown to reduce seizures in animal models of epilepsy. (source)
- Can decrease brain damage after stroke by reducing swelling, neuronal damage and mitochondrial dysfunction in the brain. (source 2) (source 2) (source 3)
- It can also help a leaky blood-brain barrier after stroke. (source)
- By improving blood flow to the brain, caryophyllene can help with Vascular Dementia (VD). (source)
- Can reduce high levels of cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia). (source 1) (source 2)
- Can reduce stress to the heart (source) and may also suppress the development of atherosclerosis. (source)
- May help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease (source) by activating and upregulating PPAR-gamma, caryophuyllene can reduce amyloid beta-plaques and immune-induced inflammation in the brain, thus mitigating cognitive dysfunction. (source 1) (source 2)
- In Parkinson’s Disease, loss of dopamine and oxidative stress are hallmarks of the disease. (source) By activating CB2 receptors, caryophuyllene can inhibit dopamine loss and oxidative stress in the brain. (source)
- Caryophyllene may also help with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) by reducing TH1 and TH17 pro-inflammatory cytokines. (source 1) (source 2) (source 3)By increasing Treg anti-inflammatory cytokines (such as IL-10), caryophyllene may help reduce the progression and symptoms of MS, such as neuropathy and pain. (source)
- May help with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). (source 1) (source 2)
For example, caryophuyllene can reduce inflammation in the colon by activating CB2 and PPAR-gamma receptors. (source 1) (source 2)
- May inhibit dental plaque buildup (source) and prevent gingivitis. (source)
- Caryophuyllene may reduce depressive and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. (source)It may also reduce anxiety (without affecting motor coordination) and may help with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).(source)
- Caryophuyllene can decrease the time it takes to get to sleep and increase sleep time. (source)
- Caryophuyllene may help relieve chronic pain and neuropathy. (source) by working on the opioid system and endocannabinoid system, caryophuyllene can increase natural endorphins and reduce inflammation. (source 1, source 2, source 3)
- It may also be applied topically and locally to areas of pain. (source)
- Caryophuyllene can help reduce muscle spasms and muscle pain. (source 1 source 2, source 3)
- It may also potentiate the analgesic action of morphine. (source)
- Caryophuyllene may increase testosterone and estrogen levels in those with chronic pain. (source)
- Its anti-cancer effects may be stronger if caryophuyllene is oxidized. (source 1, source 2)Oxidized Caryophuyllene (CPO) can inhibit the growth of cancer cells and induces apoptosis (self destruction) by suppressing PI3K, AKT, mTOR, and S6K1 and increasing MAPK. (source)CPO/BCP have beneficial effects against:
- BCP and CPO can enhance the effects of some anti-cancer drugs, such as paclitaxel and doxorubicin. (source 1, source 2, source 3, source 4)
- May help with alcohol addiction. (source)
- Caryophuyllene may help with weight loss by activation of PPAR-gamma. (source)It may do this by increasing bone mineralization (beneficial for osteoporosis) and reducing adipogenesis (beneficial against obesity). (source 1, source 2)
By activation of CB2 receptors, Caryophuyllene may protect the kidneys from inflammation and oxidative stress. (source)
- By activation of ACC1, AMPK, CB2 and PPAR-gamma, BCP may help with:
- General Liver Inflammation: (source)
- Liver Scarring due to alcohol (source)
- Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NALFD) (source)
- Reducing High Levels of Triglycerides (Hypertriglyceridemia) (source 1, source 2)
Caryophuyllene combines well with Milk Thistle to improve liver function. (source)
- A study in 2012 showed that alpha-pinene was a potent anti-inflammatory agent against Acute Pancreatitis, an inflammatory disease with an unknown cause.
- A study in 2011 showed that alpha-pinene, along with all the different cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis, interact synergistically and amplify anti-inflammatory activity. These results show that alpha-pinene is helpful in inflammation management for diseases such as arthritis, Crohn’s, and multiple sclerosis.
- Alpha-pinene has proved to be an effective antimicrobial agent against bacterial and fungal cells. In 2011, alpha-pinene was tested as a potent treatment against a bronchitis virus that was previously hard to treat since antibiotics don’t work on viruses.
- Although one study claims that alpha-pinene exposure can cause upper respiratory irritation, the benefits far outweigh mild negative symptoms. In a 2011 study, alpha-pinene showed promise as a bronchodilator by opening up the upper respiratory tract (at low exposure levels) which can be helpful for people with asthma.
- The alpha-pinene terpene has been shown to counteract memory impairing effects of THC. Alpha-pinene plays a strong role in inhibiting acetylcholinesterase activity in the brain, which helps you retain memories more efficiently.
- Alpha-pinene tested high in inhibitory activity against hepatoma carcinoma cells. This means that alpha-pinene can potentially stop tumor growth and be an effective supplement for chemotherapy treatments. Another study in animal models showed that mice who were exposed to an environment enriched with alpha-pinene reduced their melanoma growth.
- Camphor works effectively in the treatment of fungal skin infections, dysentery, athlete’s foot and dermatitis.
- Camphene has a significant ability to lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides in the blood, therefore reducing the risk for heart disease.
A study published in 2011 was able to demonstrate camphene’s ability to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, the two main causes for heart disease, including stroke and heart attack.
- Camphene along with vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and helps repair damage caused by stress. They work together and exhibit a soothing effect on the nerves, thereby reducing blood pressure, inflammation, and stress.
- Shown to have sedative, anti-congestive and analgesic properties
- One of the most impressive characteristics of Delta 3 Carene is the anti-inflammatory effects. Being a strong anti-inflammatory means that it can be used for treating fibromyalgia, bursitis, arthritis, and various other health conditions that result from systemic inflammation
- Research studies and anecdotal evidence show that Delta 3 Carene can be very effective in promoting the speedy healing of bones. Researchers are optimistic that Carene could be used in the future for the treatment of various bone-related conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
- Delta 3 Carene has also been shown to be an effective anti-fungal treatment. According to a study involving Juniperus essential oils that was undertaken back in 2006, it was found that the Delta 3 Carene present in the oil was responsible for the antifungal properties.
- Delta 3 Carene has been found to increase memory retention and stimulate memory. The medical fraternity is hopeful that it could be used one day for treating cognitive memory diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
- Multiple studies looked at its effectiveness in combating tumors in leukemia and found it effective.
- Sabinene has radical scavenging activities making it a potent antioxidant compound.
- More than a dozen studies point to it as having fungicidal abilities.
- Para cymene is effective against pathogenic bacteria, especially Escherichia coli.
- It was found that para cymene showed strong antifungal activity against numerous candida species.
- Para cymene acts as an anti-inflammatory and blocks pain
- Cymene can help to inhibit the action of AchE, which means that the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine has a longer duration. When this happens with low doses, it can help improve memory, attention, and motivation.
- Terpinolene show antibacterial and antifungal activities against strains of various bacteria and fungi.
- Terpinolene exhibits antioxidant and anticancer activities. In 2013, a study titled “Anticancer and antioxidant properties of terpinolene in rat brain cells.” when terpinolene was administered to rats with a brain tumor, it was found that Terpinolene cause remarkable reduction in the proliferation of primary rat neurons and in N2a neuroblastoma cells.
- Terpinolene did not cause any destruction to the genetic materials of the cells in rat neurons and N2a neuroblastoma and so it was not genotoxic in both cell types. Altogether, it was brought into light that Terpinolene exhibit antioxidant, antiproliferative and non-genotoxic abilities.
- Terpinolene together with vitamin A and vitamin E prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and thus it is helpful in the treatment of Heart disease