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March 08, 2021 4 min read

Terpenes and essential oils can seem like the same thing at first glance. After all, they are both derived from plants, are aromatic, and are known for various health benefits. However, these apparent similarities lead to the misconception that terpenes and essential oils are the same things. They are actually quite different.

Essential Oils Include Plant Terpenes

Essential oils are volatile compounds acquired by distilling or cold pressing plants. They require a large amount of raw material and are usually named after the plant used. For example, rose essential oil is made from roses. They are commonly used to scent a room with a diffuser or diluted and applied to the skin.

Essential oils contain plant terpenes, like linalool in lavender or limonene in lemon, but the terpenes are combined with several other compounds.

Essential oils can be toxic if misused. They are not safe to consume orally except possibly short-term and under the careful guidance of a trained professional.

Terpenes are Used to Flavor Food, Cosmetics, and Cleaning Supplies

Terpenes are food-grade organic compounds. They are building blocks of scent and flavor and abundant in fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. If you eat a mango or fresh rosemary, for example, you've consumed terpenes.

Isolated plant terpenes are widely used as flavor and aroma in the food and cosmetic industries. It requires much less raw material to extract terpenes than to create essential oils. Terpenes do not contain anything aside from… terpenes.

The History of Terpenes

Plants and essential oils have a long history of being used by doctors around the world. Camphor, ginger, and turmeric are examples of plants used in medicine by different cultures for centuries.

Terpenes were first identified by a German chemist named Otto Wallach in the 17th century. He recognized that terpenes were composed of two or more carbon units. As science evolved, so did the extraction process.

Today, over 200 terpenes have been identified. While most plants have terpenes, hemp and cannabis have unusually high concentrations of them.

Scientists now understand that many of the benefits we historically experience from plant medicine are due to the action of the plant's terpenes.

A Few Common Terpenes and Their Benefits

To see research on all the plant terpenes in our Jampha CBD products, visit our Glossary of Terpenes. Here are the benefits of a few of the terpenes we use.

Alpha-Bisabolol

Studies on a-bisabolol reveal its skincare benefits, including anti-oxidant, anti-aging, and wound healing properties.

It has also been shown to reduce inflammation, fight infection, and work as a mentally calming sedative.

Preclinical studies with a-bisabolol show it slowed tumor growth and encouraged cell death of damaged cells in pancreatic cancer and on leukemia cells

Alpha Bisabolol is included in the following Jampha products:

Balance

Detox

Relieve

Calm

Alpha and Beta-Pinene

As its name suggests, pinene is the terpene responsible for the fresh, piney scent of pine needles and many cleaning products. It also has health benefits.

Best known for its bronchial benefits, pinene also improves airflow to the lungs, provides asthma relief for some patients, and can reduce allergy symptoms like a runny nose or itchy eyes.

Several studies demonstrate that pinene kills bacteria, reduces inflammation, and can inhibit cancer and leukemia cells. It also can reduce antibiotic resistance.

These remarkable terpenes also may help treat and prevent neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Pinene is included in the following Jampha products:

Focus

Balance

Detox

Relieve

Breathe

Sleep

Citral

Citral adds a citrusy scent to beauty products, perfumes, and suntan lotions. It adds aroma and flavor to desserts and soft drinks.

Citral works as a sedative with anxiety-relieving properties.

Other studies show citral reduces inflammation and can help manage immune-inflammatory conditions, including some forms of dementia.

In support of digestion, research indicates citral relieves diarrhea and improves metabolic rates and glucose management.

Citral suppresses gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. It also fights fungus, including candida.

Like CBD and many plant terpenes, studies show that citral fights cancer. In one study, citral reduced the weight and size of breast cancer tumors.

Citral is included in the following Jampha products:

Detox

Breathe

Sleep

Calm

Limonene/D-Limonene

Studies into limonene show it is an effective sedative that can reduce anxiety and depression.

It reduces brain inflammation and protects the brain against toxicity. Multiple studies also show d-limonene supports the lymphatic system and helps regulate immune function.

In research on colon cancer, d-limonene helps the immune system target and eliminate cancer cells. It increased the survival of lymphoma-bearing mice.

Limonene works as a natural insecticide and kills viruses and bacteria.

After a heart attack, studies show limonene helps protect and repair cardiovascular tissue.

For patients with chronic liver disease, it alleviates insulin resistance.

Limonene also helps heal the stomach's mucus lining and may act similarly in the lungs.

Limonene is included in the following Jampha products:

Focus

Detox

Relieve

Breathe

Myrcene

Myrcene works as a muscle relaxant and sedative with an application to treat sleep disorders like insomnia. 

It is an effective analgesic that reduces pain and inflammation.

In a study on breast cancer, myrcene inhibited cancer's ability to grow and assisted with cell death.

Myrcene operates as a neuroprotective, reducing oxidative damage and slowing cell death in the brain.

In traditional Brazilian medicine, it's been used for treating diabetes, diarrhea, and hypertension.

Myrcene is included in the following Jampha products:

Relieve

Sleep

Calm

Terpenes are Essential to Plant Medicine

Essential oils contain terpenes, but the two are not the same thing. Terpenes are isolated plant compounds used to flavor foods and add a natural scent to cosmetics and household products. They are in the fruits and vegetables you eat and the spices and herbs you add to your favorite recipes.

In recent decades, isolated plant terpenes have gained recognition for a myriad of health benefits. As with CBD, the research into their potential has just begun.

At Jampha, we start with organic hemp grown in the United States. Then, we enhance each of our oils and topicals with specific plant terpenes to make our full-spectrum CBD products more effective.

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