Citronellol: Terpenes are a diverse class of naturally occurring compounds in plants, fruits, and flowers. They are responsible for the unique scents and flavors of many plants and have a wide array of everyday uses. People have used terpenes in traditional medicine, aromatherapy, cooking, and perfumery for centuries, but we only scratched the surface when it comes to understanding them.
Scientists have identified tens of thousands of terpenes, and there are still many more to discover. Their characteristics determine their taste, scent, and effects on the body.
This article will focus on the terpene citronellol, its profile, and discovered health benefits.
Besides its namesake of citrus lemons, Citronellol smell also contains the aromas of roses and melons. It’s best known as a primary ingredient in fragrances but also has insect-repellant properties. Citronellol also has gentle effects on the skin when applied topically. The Food and Drug Administration considers this terpene as Generally Recognized as Safe.
Citronellol comes from roses, geraniums, citronella grass, and many other herbs and spices. Plants containing citronellol use it to deter insects, particularly leafhoppers.
Citronellol Health Benefits
Listed below are the health benefits of citronellol and relevant studies supporting these claims.
You may have heard of antioxidants but may have yet to learn how they work. Antioxidants are molecules that target free radicals, which are compounds that can damage your body if allowed to build up. They’re linked to major diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
In a lab experiment, researchers applied citronellol on aldose reductase enzymes, a free radical. The researchers found that citronellol inhibited more than 90% of enzyme activation, showing its effectiveness in preventing the oxidation process from occurring at all.
2. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic
When your body notices an irritant or foreign agent, such as bacteria, it triggers your immune system to send its response: inflammatory cells and cytokines, which induce the production of more inflammatory cells. As a result of their effort to attack the invader or begin the healing process, the affected area can swell and turn red.
This process can be painful and look unpleasing. In an animal test, citronellol significantly reduced the inflammation and pain experienced by the test animals when exposed to distress. With its previously mentioned antioxidant effect, citronellol can help treat wounds and manage healing symptoms.
In a study, researchers induced seizures in mice through various methods. Namely: through pentylenetetrazol, picrotoxins, and electroshock. For the first two, citronellol reduced the frequency of convulsions in the rodent’s limbs. It also eliminated the seizures caused by electroshock.
Citronellol has shown anticonvulsant properties by affecting the action potential, or the ability of neurons to rapidly communicate, which is one avenue that someone may experience seizures.
4. Blood pressure regulation
When a person measures your blood pressure, they check for systolic pressure, the maximum pressure your heart exerts, and diastolic pressure, which is the pressure in your arteries between beats. As your heart is responsible for blood flow throughout your entire body, this figure is vital in figuring out how capable the muscle is of doing its job.
Diet and lifestyle choices can cause your blood pressure to rise, which can lead to many health issues. These conditions are common, which is why citronellol’s effects in a lab study are so interesting. In rats, introducing citronellol lowered blood pressure and lessened the strain on their blood vessels, which shows potential for improving heart health in people.
5. Immunity improvement
A person’s immune system can become weak and damaged during cancer treatment. This side effect is necessary to inhibit the spread of cancer cells. However, patients may experience severe and long-lasting symptoms and secondary infections from their treatment. Thankfully, there are available treatments that can help with the side effects.
In a study on cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, citronellol reduced the depletion of immune system cells like leukocytes and neutrophils. Citronellol can improve the immune function of not just cancer patients but others as well.
6. May help fight cancer
Around 8% of people undergoing chemotherapy die within 30 days, primarily due to their sickness progressing. The same study under immunity improvement found that more robust immune systems from citronellol application can help patients fight cancer and the infections that can come from their weakened immune systems.
Citronellol, combined with other essential oil compounds, can also help with lung cancer, according to this 2018 study. This terpene shows potential as a supplemental cancer treatment and support for those undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Unlock the Potential of Citronellol
Citronellol has multiple potential benefits. It can help with skin clearing, wound treatment, seizure management, blood pressure regulation, immunity function, and even cancer treatment. As researchers continue to study its characteristics, more benefits of this powerful natural terpene will likely emerge.