Terpenes are known for their wide array of aromatic properties, from floral to citrus and earthy to musky. On the spicier notes, caryophyllene is the most popular terpene. Moreover, it’s also one of the most abundantly produced terpenes in nature.
There are more than 20,000 identified terpenes. Almost all of them have distinct characteristics, benefits, and applications. Researchers have taken notice of terpene’s potential to improve people’s physical and mental health. With more and more terpenes being studied, a great number of businesses are starting to incorporate them into their products.
As the industry grows, it’s important to understand what makes each terpene special and how it can help people. This article will take a closer look at the profile of caryophyllene, where it is found, and its potential benefits to one’s health.
Caryophyllene Terpene Profile
Formally known as beta-caryophyllene or β-caryophyllene, caryophyllene is responsible for many plants’ earthy and herbal flavors. It gives off a strong clove or peppery aroma, with subtle hints of woodsy or spicy scents.
Caryophyllene in Nature
Caryophyllene is one of the most prevalent terpenes found in many essential oils. Substantial amounts of caryophyllene are found in rosemary, cloves, oregano, basil, cinnamon, lavender, black caraway, and black pepper. Aside from these, people can also find it in thousands of other plants and at least half of all flower-producing plants.
A person can’t clearly distinguish the scent of pure caryophyllene because products will contain different kinds of terpenes. Collectively, they will give off a complex aroma that makes the scent profile difficult to individualize.
This type of terpene is safe to use as a natural food additive, taste enhancer, cosmetic additive, and flavoring as approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA). Caryophyllene products include face creams, shampoos, hair conditioners, cooking sauces, and pre-mixed cooking spices.
Beta-Caryophyllene vs. Alpha-Caryophyllene
Beta-caryophyllene is often compared to the herbaceous terpene alpha-caryophyllene or humulene. Both are isomers or compounds that share the same number of atoms or molecular formulas. However, what makes them different is their chemical structure. Caryophyllene and humulene are somewhat similar in scents and tastes, plus they also share many medicinal properties.
Benefits of Caryophyllene
Caryophyllene is famous for its anti-inflammatory benefits, but it’s only one of the several healing effects this terpene is associated with. The effects of caryophyllene are still at the preclinical level, which means that they have not been tested in humans yet. For now, here are the best-studied benefits of caryophyllene:
Beta-caryophyllene’s anti-inflammatory properties come from its ability to inhibit cytokines, a chemical group that plays a crucial role in inflammation. Besides this, caryophyllene can also reduce edema and swelling.
The anti-inflammatory effects of caryophyllene don’t only affect the body but also the brain. According to studies, beta-caryophyllene may protect the brain from swelling and inflammation during a stroke. It also reduces chemicals related to inflammation.
Caryophyllene may have pain-relieving properties caused by its anti-inflammatory effects. A research study found that it may help reduce pain related to the nervous system. Researchers made the study among mice with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. At the end of the test, it concluded that the mice felt reduced pain levels after taking dietary beta-caryophyllene.
Other studies involve caryophyllene relieving pain similar to how morphine does. The terpenes release the same endorphins, therefore, showing the same effects as morphine.
Antidepressant / Anti-Anxiety
Taking caryophyllene may improve symptoms of mood disorders. A study published on Physiology and Behavior showed that when researchers treated mice with beta-caryophyllene, the creatures indicated reduced levels of depression and anxiety. The research also found that this terpene may have a positive influence on compulsive behavior as well.
With this, there may be a possibility in the future that people can take caryophyllene as a natural alternative to antidepressants and anxiolytics.
Several studies have investigated the anti-cancer properties of caryophyllene and found that the terpene has antiproliferative effects or the ability to prevent the spread of cancerous cells. Caryophyllene may also positively influence apoptosis or the self-destruction of diseased cells.
In addition to this, beta-caryophyllene may also be helpful in cancer treatments as it appears to improve the effects of cancer drugs like doxorubicin and paclitaxel. This terpene may also reduce the chances of getting leukopenia (low white blood cell count), a health issue caused by chemotherapy.
Relieve Your Worries with Caryophyllene
Beta-caryophyllene is a terpene well-known for its woodsy smell. People can find it in aromatic oils like clove and rosemary oil and different herbs and spices like cinnamon, black pepper, and oregano. This terpene has qualities that are similar to humulene, which is why humulene was once known as alpha-caryophyllene. They both have many medicinal properties that can reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and prevent cancer cells from spreading.
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