Terpenes are aromatic compounds naturally found in various plants that give them their unique flavors and fragrances. They are the main ingredient of many essential oils and are often used in aromatherapy or other alternative therapies.
In plants, terpenes play various roles in:
- Attracting pollinators
- Repelling predators, such as insects or foraging animals
- Helping plants recover from damage
- Keeping infectious germs at bay
What plants contain terpenes?
Plants that contain terpenes include:
- Evergreen shrubs
- Spanish sage
- Citrus fruit
What are medicinal uses of terpenes?
|Tea tree||Contains active ingredients to treat skin infections and acne|
|Thyme||Has powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties|
|Cannabis||Has psychoactive properties to help treat psychosomatic diseases|
|Spanish sage||Enhances memory and is used in antidementia drugs|
|Citrus fruits||Destroy lice and their larvae|
|Citral||Has antibacterial and antifungal effects|
Other properties associated with terpene include the following:
- Insecticidal: Terpenes are effective against pests, such as lice or mites. Terpenes used in anti-insect formulations include:
- Antimicrobial: Terpenes can kill or stop the growth of microorganisms. Terpenes used as antimicrobials include:
- Antiviral: Terpenes that have antiviral properties include:
- Carveol limonene
- Alpha and beta-pinene
- Anti-cancer: Terpenes have been widely touted to have cancer-fighting properties. Examples include:
- Limonene found in citrus fruits
- Thymoquinone found in black cumin
- Folk medicine: Terpenes are commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) or Ayurveda.
|Plant||Terpene present||Uses in Ayurveda||Uses in TCM|
|Lemon||Limonene||Oral cavities, digestive problems, abdominal colic pain, and cough||Digestive problems and cleansing the body|
|Orange||Limonene||Digestive disorders, abdominal colic pain, and worm infestation||Stomach ache and cough|
|Juniper||Limonene||Antiseptic, treat cellulite, pain, and swelling||Treat cold and urinary problems|
|Indian gooseberry||Phyllaembicilins||Boost immunity, strengthen hair follicles, cure acne and pimples, improve the circulatory system, and cure diarrhea||Treat diarrhea, jaundice, and inflammation|
|Cinnamon||Alpha-pinene, caryophyllene, linalool, alpha-phellandrene, cymene, humulene||Cold, diabetes, high cholesterol, digestive problems, bronchitis, and sinus congestion||Cold, diabetes, high cholesterol, digestive problems, control sweating|
|Ginger||Zingiberene||Digestive problems, joint pain, and air sickness||Cold, cough, wheezing, asthma|
|Garlic||Nerolidol, alpha-pinene, and terpinolene||Treat pimples, tumors, snakebites, wounds, headache, heart disease, gastric problems, ulcers, and measles||Food poisoning and digestive problems|
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