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Terpenes vs. Essential Oils

  • 2 min read

Terpenes are not exactly essential oils, but they are the reason that essential oils have their strong, unmistakable scents. Studies suggest that these oils can help with sleep or boost energy levels, among other various health benefits. Essential oils are basically mixtures of various terpenes and other natural compounds, and unfortunately for consumers, the purity can vary considerably.

The idea behind essential oils is that they amplify and exemplify certain essences of their corresponding plants. Terpene formulations go farther in purifying the bioactive compounds directly - discarding the plethora of accompanying plant materials.  

Terpenes Everywhere

As explained in this Health and Wellness article, diffusing lavender essential oil, which contains the terpene Linalool, can aid relaxation and promote better sleep. Diffusing citrus oil, which contains Limonene, can aid in feeling more awake and alert. When used topically, peppermint oil is known to help reduce pain from muscle soreness and headaches in some people. These are ways of using essential oils aromatically, topically, or orally - which is how we suggest terpenes are used. 

As Dr. Jake Fleice explains in this educational video, terpenes are common in human diets and are recognized as safe by regulatory agencies. Nearly every scent that arises from a fruit or vegetable can be attributed to terpenes.

Terpenes have a long history of use in humans precisely because they are naturally produced by plants and animals. They are also quite versatile in terms of modes of administration. 

Terpene studies

Studies have shown that Limonene, a bioactive food component found in citrus peels and fruits, is well recognized as a preventative anti-cancer agent when used alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle. According to eMedicineHealth, Limonene has also demonstrated promise in promoting weight loss and easing the symptoms of bronchitis.

Reports in scientific literature have deemed the consumption of terpenes to be a successful alternative in the treatment of numerous ailments and diseases, setting advantageous biological effects in motion in both clinical and preclinical studies. As mentioned in this study, terpenes permit flexibility in both ways of administration and in the suppression of side effects. Whilst all the medical benefits of terpenes have not yet been uncovered, more research and studies are underway to further develop the use of terpenes in modern medicine.