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Introducing the Smelliest Substances on Earth

Terpenes with the Strongest Scents: Some of the strongest and most deliciously smelling terpenes on this planet are made by Medical Terpenes and Sauce Terps.  These companies have botanical terpenes available to buy, as well as live resin terpenes, which have taken this world by storm. Buy live resin terpenes now at

You probably have sensed strong scents out in the wild while exploring nature. The smells might vary from extremely pleasant to possibly the worst smell in the world. That is thanks or no thanks to the distinct scent or “essence” each tree, flower, and herb gives off. 

The compounds responsible for these unique scents are called terpenes. These natural substances are found in plants’ essential oils, which are extracted for aromatherapy and other medical applications. 

But which particular terpenes give plants their distinctive aroma? Find out with this infographic, which will serve as a visual guide to some of the strongest smelling terpenes found in nature. 

Introducing the Smelliest Substances on Earth Infographic


The Science Behind Terpenes’ Strong Scents

Terpenes and plants are closely related, as the former is what gives plants their strong, unique scents. Plants then use these scents to attract pollinators, ward off predators, and recover from injuries. 

Certain scents can also be very powerful with a low threshold, and we only need a little to smell.  Strong scent can be pleasant in small quantities, but large quantities can be damaging and unpleasant.  Terpenes must always be diluted before using in a finished product.  A little goes a long way 

Scientists have identified hundreds of terpene types. While some release pungent odor, there are terpenes that actually smell good. The following are some of the strongest smelling terpenes found in nature.


Myrcene is derived from the Brazilian medicinal shrub Myrcia sphaerocarpa. Other plant sources of this terpene are basil and mango. 

The most abundant terpene found in nature, myrcene has a fruity, clove-like smell and appears as a yellow oily liquid. Primarily used for its sedative effects, people often look for live resin terpenes that contain a percentage of this compound. 

For decades, people have used myrcene to treat inflammation and chronic pain, as this compound is easily absorbed by the skin. It is also known to effectively treat diarrhea, diabetes, dysentery, and hypertension.


Alpha-pinene is found in nature in large quantities. It has a sharp, fresh, and sweet aroma. Not surprisingly, the plant sources of this terpene include rosemary and citrus.

People use alpha-pinene for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and therapeutic benefits. It is also used in medical treatments as a bronchodilator, helping make breathing easier by relaxing the lungs’ muscles and airways.

The process of obtaining alpha-pinene involves fractional distillation of turpentine or resin harvested from the trees, specifically coniferous trees like pine. 


Humulene is the first type of terpene discovered in hops. It is distinguishable with its woody and spicy scent. Research shows it has anti-proliferative properties that may help prevent cancer cells from growing. 

Scientists have also found that this terpene can be used as an anti-inflammatory agent and appetite suppressant for weight loss. Sage and ginseng are some of its common sources. 


Beta-caryophyllene is the only terpene that binds to flower receptors, making it a prime ingredient in anti-inflammatory topicals and creams. It is one of the two types of the caryophyllene sesquiterpene, the other one being alpha-caryophyllene. 

Aside from its analgesic and anti-anxiety properties, research shows this terpene can potentially aid in alcoholism rehabilitation.

Beta-caryophyllene is extracted from the essential oils of oregano and cinnamon, giving it a peppery clove-like smell with hints of spicy and wood scents.


Limonene is the second most abundant terpene behind myrcene. Its citrusy scent is considered a mood elevator and has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. It has also been found to aid in digestion. In particular, d-limonene has been used in clinical treatments to dissolve cholesterol-containing gallstones.

This terpene is typically found in the rind of citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes. It is particularly abundant in orange peels, comprising around 97% of the rind’s essential oils.

Limonene differs from other terpenes in terms of extraction, as the process is naturally performed. It is often used as a flavoring agent in food recipes and products due to its lemon-like flavor.


Linalool is associated with spicy and floral scents. It is commonly extracted from lavender. Other plant sources of this terpene include laurel and rosewood.

Like other terpenes, linalool possesses strong sedative and relaxing properties. Research has shown that it can relieve arthritis and prevent seizures. Further studies also found that it can ease depression and treat insomnia.


Borneol is an excellent natural insect repellant, thanks to its minty herbal scent. It is derived from Dryobalanops aromatica or Borneo camphor, which belongs to a critically endangered plant family called Dipterocarpaceae

Camphor, along with herbs like rosemary and mint, is the most common plant source of borneol.

A study has shown this terpene may help prevent the development of breast cancer cells. The results suggest that borneol could suppress the proliferation of malignant tumors by regulating the expression of cell death proteins.


Geraniol possesses neuroprotectant and antioxidant properties, making it a prime ingredient in aromatic bath products and body lotions. It has a characteristic rose-like smell and is widely used in the fragrance industry. 

In terms of medicinal use, geraniol has been shown to prevent the growth of cancer cells.

This sweet-smelling terpene is extracted through steam distillation or by cold pressing the plant source. It is most abundant in chamomile, geranium, and cedarwood

Terpenes: Beyond their Smell 

The function of terpenes isn’t limited to giving off scents.  These aromatic compounds also possess various therapeutic benefits. From alleviating body pain to relieving anxiety, terpenes are valuable substances that serve important functions in everyday life

If you’d like to buy terpenes or make your own terpene profile, always stick to verified authentic terpene manufacturers for the safest, best quality terpene products. 

At Medical Terpenes, you can buy terpenes online in simple, easy steps. Check out our live resin terpenes and full-spectrum and strain-specific profiles to see which strain best suits your style!

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