The terpene industry has been rapidly growing over the past few years. Along with this development is the growing interest in the various terpene products being sold in the market. Experts project that by 2026, the market will be valued at $774.3 million, a 4.7% growth rate from the $559.4 million 2020 market size.
Terpene is an amazing compound that does more than make things smell good. Yes, they’re responsible for the lemon’s zesty overtones and the lavender’s calming aroma, but they’re more than that.
The truth about terpenes is that people have been using them for centuries, thanks to their various properties that make them beneficial for everyday life. However, many don’t have a clear understanding of these molecules’ nature.
This terpene guide will discuss some of the most common terpenes found in nature, their potential health benefits, and the different ways to consume them.
5 Most Common Terpenes Found in Nature
There are around 30,000 types of terpenes found in nature. They’re not only found in plants, but some insects like beetles and moths produce terpenes, as well. One of their ecological functions is to help plants attract pollinators, promoting propagation and genetic diversity in nature. Meanwhile, other terpenes repel predators like carnivorous plants.
Here are five of the most abundant terpenes in nature.
As one can guess from its name, limonene has a fresh, citrusy smell. This terpene can be found in the rinds of ginger, lemons, and other citrus fruits. Besides being a major constituent of essential oils, it’s also an ingredient of perfumes, cosmetic products, and even cleaning products.
Pre-clinical studies also show that limonene has antibacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. Users have likewise reported experiencing reduced stress and improved moods after ingesting limonene.
Pinene, one of the most common terpenes, has two major types: alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. Generally, these two have similar qualities. Their difference is that alpha-pinene is slightly water-soluble while beta-pinene isn’t.
Pinene has a scent reminiscent of — yes, you guessed it — pine trees. This terpene is also present in Spanish sage, parsley, and rosemary. Its therapeutic benefits include anxiety-reducing and anti-inflammatory effects.
Linalool is responsible for the signature scent of lavender, coriander, mint, and cinnamon. With linalool as their major component, these plants render relaxing and soothing properties when used for aromatherapy. Studies suggest that linalool also exhibits anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and mood-stabilizing effects.
Myrcene has an earthy smell with herbaceous and spicy scent undertones. It has a mildly sweet flavor profile and is predominant in lemongrass, hops, bay leaves, parsley, and mangoes.
A 2015 study indicated that myrcene’s anti-inflammatory effects can help reduce inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. The results showed that consumption of this terpene affects the body by inducing the production of anti-inflammatory cells and preventing the breakdown of cartilage cells.
Experts also believe this terpene has soothing properties. However, current evidence still needs further testing to validate the initial findings.
Caryophyllene has a spicy, peppery bite. It’s abundant in black pepper, cloves, oregano, and rosemary. Studies have found that this terpene possesses therapeutic benefits, including the ability to ease the symptoms of liver fibrosis, colitis, and diabetes.
One study also concluded that caryophyllene can help reduce pain from inflammation. Based on the findings, since the body doesn’t develop a tolerance against caryophyllene, its anti-inflammatory effects can be useful in treating long-term chronic pain.
Health Benefits of Terpenes
Terpenes have a wide range of health benefits. However, it’s essential to note that the topic is in its early days. Further research still needs to be conducted to confirm the initial findings.
Here are some of the health benefits of terpenes found by earlier studies:
Studies have shown that terpenes can affect the brain by easing anxiety and promoting relaxation. Some of the known anxiety-reducing terpenes include:
Terpenes are known to benefit those struggling with bone and joint complications. These compounds slow down the production of signaling chemicals produced by immune cells. Having too many signaling chemicals in the body can cause inflammation, leading to cell death.
Some terpenes that have anti-inflammatory effects include:
Antibacterial and Antifungal *
Multiple studies have indicated that terpenes possess antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties. In one particular study, the researchers identified 16 kinds of terpenes that exhibit such properties. These include:
Eugenol has been shown to inhibit bacterial growth. Together with terpineol, it was found to exhibit strong activities against S. aureus and salmonella bacteria. Meanwhile, limonene targets parasites’ pathways, hindering their spread and growth.
Terpenes have also been found to cause apoptosis in cancer cells, interrupting their cell cycle and stopping them from multiplying. According to research, these compounds can potentially work well against cancers involving the skin, colon, breast, brain, and lungs.
The following terpenes are known to have anti-cancer properties:
Some studies have indicated that certain terpenes can prevent the production of the Junin virus, herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV1), dengue virus type 2, and other major viruses. Among the terpenes with anti-viral properties are:
Certain terpenes are also known to counter the effects of diabetes. Here are the most popular terpenes with anti-diabetic effects:
Curcumin activates essential liver enzymes that break down glucose or blood sugar. As such, it can help alleviate diabetes-related complications like nephropathy, retinopathy, neuropathy, and microangiopathy. Meanwhile, andrographolide increases glucose utilization and reduces blood plasma glucose, lessening inflammation caused by diabetes.
6 Ways to Consume Terpenes
Depending on the user’s preference, terpenes can be consumed in different ways. Here are some of the most common methods of using these potent compounds:
1. Oral consumption
One way to use terpenes is to consume them orally. In particular, they can be chewed or ingested through tinctures under the tongue. However, terpenes can have adverse effects when taken in their concentrated form. As such, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that terpenes be diluted first before consumption.
Also, not all terpenes can be consumed orally. If you’re not sure about how to safely consume your terpene product, it’s best to consult a licensed herbalist or medical professional to avoid possible harmful effects.
Dabbing requires a dab spoon and a dab rig – a specialized type of bong or water pipe. This method is done by heating the dab rig with a torch lighter. Then, you can simply ingest the vapor. The dab spoon is used to fill the rig with terpene concentrates for heating.
This method involves filling the vaporizer with a product that contains a small amount of terpenes in the concentrates. You can set the device at 360° F to 380° F, which are the temperatures commonly used. However, you go lower or higher depending on your preferences.
Temperatures below 350° F produce a mild effect ideal for first-time users. Meanwhile, temperatures above 400° F produce a heavier effect suitable for severe symptom relief.
Once the vaporizer warms up, you can start inhaling through the mouthpiece. Remember to pace yourself to achieve the desired effect for your needs.
4. Mixing with cocktails
More and more people are experimenting with terpenes by adding these compounds to their drinks. It’s an easy way to consume terpenes. Simply put a drop or two of soluble terpene into your cocktail and — voilà — you now have a more flavorful drink.
5. Adding terpenes to food
If you’re big on a gourmet lifestyle, this type of application is for you. Just add terpene extracts to edibles such as candies or chocolates. If you’re looking for more adventures, the internet holds an endless list of terpene recipes.
6. Topical application
Terpene products also come in the form of lotion and other skincare products. These are generally safe for skin application.
However, applying terpenes in their purest form isn’t advisable. You must first dilute them with a carrier oil such as cold-pressed coconut oil, olive oil, or grapeseed oil.
Choose High-Quality Terpenes
While terpenes are everywhere, not everyone is familiar with their nature. From “What are terpenes?” to “How can terpenes affect the user?”, this terpene guide answers all frequently asked questions about terpenes.
By understanding the different types of terpenes, their benefits, and how to consume them, you can properly choose what kind of terpene is right for you.
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. Check out Medical Terpenes for a variety of botanically derived terpene products at great prices!
*Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and do not guarantee terpenes’ ability to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult with your doctor before consuming any terpene products you don’t already have in your diet.