Currently, there are about 400 terpenes known in flowers, with some containing only a few and others having several terpene types. Each of these terpenes possesses distinct therapeutic properties. However, keeping track of this many terpene types and their diverse effects can be overwhelmingly difficult.
To make things a little easier, we’ve developed a handy terpene benefits chart to help digest this tedious information. Check out the infographic below to know more about terpenes and their unique health benefits.
Understanding Terpene Benefits
Terpenes have become popular in recent years, especially since people are starting to see the importance of terpenes in everyday life. These compounds offer various advantages that benefit the body and mind. For example, some terpenes are widely known for their calming effects that can relieve anxiety. This terpene benefit is why many favor essential oils containing these compounds to soothe their emotions.
Furthermore, these compounds have diverse uses in cosmetics and medical treatments. More than just their aroma, numerous terpene products have antibacterial properties and detoxifying effects, making them a staple ingredient in the cosmetic industry. Some can also cure skin infections with antimicrobial features, while others can enhance respiratory health.
On top of these physical health benefits, they also provide other therapeutic effects. These terpene health benefits include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, anxiety relief, pain alleviation, and more.
Terpene Health Benefits
Each terpene has its specialties and can target multiple health issues. But what specific health benefits can you gain from a particular terpene? Here are some facts about terpenes and how they can help improve one’s health.
Pinene has many pain-soothing benefits, like anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Its alpha-pinene form can directly inhibit the signaling pathways in immune cells that cause inflammation. This characteristic has given its analgesic properties that can relieve pain and help those suffering from chronic conditions, such as migraines.
Additionally, it is a potent antioxidant that can prevent nerve cell damage. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s often result from oxidative imbalance. However, research has shown that alpha-pinene can suppress reactive oxygen species—vital for relieving oxidative stress—while reducing apoptosis and defending the nervous system.
Meanwhile, the same research has shown that its b-pinene form can produce anti-depressive effects by providing quality sleep. Its alpha-pinene counterpart also exhibits the same effect through the secretion of serotonin and dopamine.
Like pinene, this terpene has health benefits that can reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and lower risks for neurodegenerative diseases. One study found that linalool can cure and alleviate several acute and chronic ailments by inhibiting edema. Inhibiting this built-up fluid can help reduce swelling.
On top of this, the terpene can increase the acetylcholine enzyme, which can reduce the mental decline of Alzheimer’s patients. In effect, linalool can help address issues in the central nervous system.
Linalool also has antioxidant properties, so many use this compound to replace synthetic ones. The study has also shown that essential oils with linalool as a major component have exhibited the potential to address free radicals. These essential oils can also decrease motor activity after inhalation, suggesting that they can improve sleep quality.
More than that, the compound has shown anti-cancer benefits by inhibiting tumor cells without being toxic to non-tumor ones. The same study reports that linalool has a strong activity against cancer cells in the cervix, stomach, skin, lungs, and bone.
This terpene, also known as beta-caryophyllene, has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that beta-caryophyllene is a good candidate for treating chronic inflammation by inhibiting related mediators, like cytokines. This compound can also inhibit edema, where one study claims that caryophyllene can prevent the brain from swelling during a stroke.
Additionally, caryophyllene can potentially relieve depression and other stress-related mental health issues. Research has found that beta-caryophyllene can reduce despair behaviors from chronic stress.
Other health benefits of this terpene have the potential to treat obesity, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver, cardiovascular diseases, and nervous system disorders.
According to studies, limonene has shown signs of being a good candidate for treating inflammation. One of this terpene’s benefits is it reduces nitric oxide production, a signaling molecule of inflammatory pathways. Research has also shown that limonene can decrease inflammation and colon damage.
Limonene also has antioxidant properties that can stabilize free radicals and reduce the risks of inflammatory expressions. On top of this, its antioxidant activities can prevent skin damage from oxidative stress and, ultimately, reduce the chances of skin cancer.
Another terpene benefit of limonene is its heart health boost. Research shows that limonene can reduce bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels in hypertensive rats. This result suggests that the compound can help treat hypertensive patients.
If that wasn’t enough, this terpene also has anti-anxiety properties since it can regulate dopamine and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), two neurotransmitters that play a key role in anxiety modulation.
Besides limonene, one study reports that myrcene can reduce nitric oxide production, giving this terpene its anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, its anti-inflammatory effects come from its interactions with related signal pathways and inhibiting cytokines.
It also has antioxidant properties as it increases glutathione and necessary enzymes to prevent damage from oxidation. In effect, the terpene can also block photo-aging factors such as UVB rays, suppressing ROS production.
Another terpene with an excellent capacity for anti-inflammation is humulene. According to research, it can reduce mediators and related activation factors in allergy-induced inflammation of the airways. Its potency is even comparable to dexamethasone. Due to this, humulene also works as an effective analgesic, whether taken topically, orally or through inhalation.
This terpene can also be an effective anti-tumor treatment because of its anti-inflammatory effects. It also prevents the spread of tumors throughout the body by triggering ROS production, ultimately leading to the apoptosis of cancer cells.
Eucalyptol provides many terpene health benefits, which is why it’s a common ingredient in many therapeutic products today. Some of its health benefits include anti-inflammation, antioxidant properties, and chronic disease treatments. Studies have shown that these health benefits can help treat respiratory diseases, pancreatitis, colon damage, and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders.
For example, its anti-inflammatory effects stem from its ability to suppress cytokine production. Meanwhile, eucalyptol prevents oxidative stress by regulating the regulation pathway signals and free radical scavenging. Additionally, eucalyptol can help enhance respiratory functions by loosening mucus so you can easily expel it through coughing.
Its anti-bacterial benefits can also eliminate odor-causing germs from the mouth, making it a viable ingredient for toothpaste and mouthwash.
This terpene is an aromatic hydrocarbon that gives cranberries their flavor. It is also commonly found in many essential oils, such as cumin and thyme. Para-cymene terpene exhibits antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, antidiabetic, antiviral, antitumor, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
Moreover, it can also protect nerve cells from damage due to its antioxidant properties, as it reduces lipid peroxidation and nitrite content.
Terpineol is another compound that provides a number of health benefits. First, research shows that this terpene has anti-hypertensive effects as it reduces the mean arterial pressure by restoring antioxidant enzymes and decreasing vascular resistance. Consequently, its restoration of antioxidants can also help reduce the activity of free radicals.
On top of this, terpineol also has anti-cancer properties as it inhibits growth and catalyzes the death of tumor cells. Its efficacy is often observable in the breast, prostate, lung, leukemia, and ovarian cancer cells.
Other benefits include anti-ulcer, anti-bronchitis, and anti-convulsant activities.
One of the specialties of this terpene is its antimicrobial effects. According to a study, borneol has strong antimicrobial adhesive properties that can fight against pathogens without harming the skin flora. Aside from that, it also has anti-inflammatory properties that can treat acne and heal scars.
Borneol also has anti-tumor effects by triggering apoptotic death, reducing the chances of cancer cell growth and proliferation.
Another one of its terpene benefits is its anxiety relief characteristics. Like limonene, borneol can soothe fear and anxiety by inducing γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity, which can help the brain calm down.
Enhance Your Health with the Right
Terpenes have become much more popular in recent years. The numerous health benefits they provide have encouraged many to ingest or use these compounds, whether to help their mental or physical health.
However, keeping track of several terpenes and their various health benefits can be challenging. Knowing their differences and how each can affect your body is essential. Doing so can ensure you stay healthy and help you determine what terpene to use for your specific health concern.