September 11, 2020 3 min read
When you walk into a newly mopped home and notice the scent of pine or start to peel a fresh orange and inhale that sweet smell, you are experiencing terpenes. They are the plant compounds that give plants aroma and taste. Isolated terpenes add scent to a variety of household products, from cleaning solutions to perfume.
In the plant world, terpenes interact with the outside world. Plants design terpenes to attract beneficial insects, defend against fungi and bacteria, or even sabotage competitor plants.
For people, these aromatic plant compounds offer more than pleasant scents; studies are discovering health applications, including pain relief.
Although found in many plants, terpenes are often associated with marijuana and CBD because both cannabis and the industrial hemp plant contain them in high concentrations.
Many terpenes are bioactive, which means they affect living organisms, tissue, or cells. Examples of bioactive substances include antibiotics, enzymes, and vitamins. Unlike a watermelon seed that can pass right through your digestive tract unchanged, bioactive compounds interact with the building blocks of your body.
Found in small quantities, the benefits of natural bioactive compounds cannot be measured in the nutritional value of the plant. In aromatherapy, for example, terpenes in essential oils improve mood and reduce stress.
Some terpenes, including ones found in CBD, can bind to the brain’s receptors and activate neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine or modulate metabolic processes.
While the hemp plant has at least 200 different terpenes, researchers have only investigated a few. Here is some of what they have discovered to date.
With its potent anti-inflammatory effects enhanced by terpenes, CBD shows promising results in several studies in reducing lung inflammation for COVID-19 patients.
Initial results show the terpene formulation combined with CBD is twice as effective as CBD alone or even than Dexamethasone, a corticosteroid commonly used for inflammation.
As the name suggests, the terpene Pinene provides the clean, bright scent of pine needles, rosemary, and basil.
In the lungs, Pinene acts as a bronchodilator and allows in more air. It also has anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and neuroprotective effects.
Pinene is available in Jampha’s full-spectrum CBD oil Breathe.
Lemongrass, wild thyme, bay leaves, mango, and industrial hemp all have the terpene myrcene. The scent is earthy and sometimes spicy or fruity like a red grape. Myrcene is one of the most abundant terpenes and may have several useful medical applications.
In a study with fish, myrcene worked like a sedative and anesthetic, almost as well as the more toxic eugenol. Research so far shows benefits as an antibacterial, antimicrobial, pain reliever, and inflammation reducer, and even blocks the growth of cancer cells.
Myrcene is a valuable antioxidant. One study in mice found myrcene could help protect the brain from oxidative damage after a stroke.
Also found in CBD, limonene gives citrus fruits like lemons and oranges their bright and fragrant smell. Their sparkly scent comes with health benefits. Studies show limonene to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, antidiabetic, antiviral, and gastro-protective effects.
Additional studies show applications of d-limonene for conditions from heartburn and gallstones to high cholesterol and inflammatory bowel disease.
Available in clove and ginger as well as hemp, Chinese medicine practitioners have used humulene for generations.
With a list of health-related benefits, studies show humulene:
You can find this remarkable terpene in Jampha’s Relieve collection.
Plants use terpenes to attract pollinators and repel pests, but also to strengthen and repair their cells. Terpenes support the health and survival of the plants that contain them.
In addition to taking CBD oil, you can benefit from these plant compounds by eating fresh fruits and vegetables or hiking through aromatic pine forests.
The studies into the benefits of terpenes have only begun, but they already offer incredible potential.
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