Terpenes are the aromatic compounds found in all plants, and lavender is no exception. These compounds make up the essential oils that give lavender its distinctive scent and therapeutic properties. In this article, we will explore the terpenes found in lavender and their potential benefits.
- Lavender contains a variety of terpenes that offer therapeutic benefits when inhaled or applied topically
- Linalool is the most abundant terpene found in lavender and has anti-inflammatory properties as well as potential benefits for reducing anxiety and depression levels.
- Other terpenes such as β-myrcene, β-caryophyllene and α-(−)-bisabolol have antimicrobial activity and local anaesthetic effects.
- Studies have shown that lavender oil can reduce anxiety scores on the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale and improve mood when tested on adults.
- Potential adverse effects of lavender oil include toxicity if swallowed, contact dermatitis from topical application, and interactions with certain prescription drugs.
Identifying the Terpenes in Lavender
When it comes to identifying which terpenes are present in lavender, gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is usually used. This method allows researchers to break down the essential oil into its component parts and identify each one. According to studies, the terpenes found in lavender include 3-carene, o-cymene, caryophyllene, bergamotene, sabinene, ocimene, germacrene D, geraniol, farnesol, santalol, isopulegol, cubenol, citral, verbenone, cinerone and eucarvone.
The Most Abundant Terpene: Linalool
Of all the terpenes found in lavender oil, linalool is perhaps the most abundant. It is characterized by a strong floral scent reminiscent of lavender or birch and has been used for centuries for its therapeutic benefits. Studies have shown that linalool can reduce inflammation, act as an anti-epileptic agent and even repel mosquitoes. Popular cannabis strains high in linalool include Amnesia Haze, Lavender Kush, Granddaddy Purple and Purple Urkle.
Other Terpenes Found in Lavender
In addition to linalool, several other terpenes have been identified in lavender oil. These include β-myrcene, β-caryophyllene, α-(−)-bisabolol, D-limonene, α-humulene, α-terpineol, β-pinene and α-pinene. Each one of these terpenes has unique therapeutic benefits and can be used therapeutically either alone or in combination with other terpenes.
Benefits of Terpenes Found in Lavender
The terpenes found in lavender have a range of therapeutic benefits that make them useful for aromatherapy purposes. These include anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce pain; antimicrobial properties that can protect against infection; local anaesthetic effects; antiviral activity; and even anti anxiety effects that can help reduce stress levels.
Linalool specifically has been shown to have anticonvulsant and anti-epileptic properties as well as mood stabilizing effects and potential benefits for sleep quality.
Understand the Therapeutic Benefits of Lavender
Lavender is one of the most popular herbs for its calming and therapeutic benefits. This fragrant plant has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, but recent clinical studies have identified the active ingredient in lavender, linalool, as a powerful healing agent. Here we’ll look at the therapeutic benefits of lavender and how it can be used to promote relaxation and overall wellbeing.
Studies have shown that different types of lavender oil can have varying effects on the facial skin microbiota. Commercial ETJA lavender oil contains higher concentrations of monoterpenoids and monoterpenes than Crimean lavender oil and has been found to be more effective in decreasing the cell number of the mixed microbiota from facial skin. In addition to its antiseptic properties, lavender has also been used as a preservative and skin regenerator in the cosmetic industry for making safe tonics, lotions, creams, shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and soaps.
Lavender has long been associated with relaxation and sedation due to its calming effects. It is known as a primary terpene in some cannabis strains, providing a sparkling onset and an elastic body buzz that both invigorates and calms. Studies have found that oral doses of 80 mg of lavender oil per day were associated with reduced anxiety scores on the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale. Additionally, an animal study showed that linalool was able to reduce levels of anxiety and depression-like behaviors in mice.
Reducing Anxiety & Depression
In human studies examining the therapeutic effects of lavender essential oil, it effectively lowered participants’ scores on the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale. A network meta-analysis of clinical studies containing 645 subjects across five studies revealed that the lavender oil reduced total scores on HAMA scale with effects greater than or equal to paroxetine (a traditional anti-anxiety medication) at doses of 160 mg and 80 mg respectively.
Studies done on rats suggest that linalool prevents the destructive effects of stress by preventing a shift in the distribution of white blood cells and changing how DNA is expressed. Furthermore, petitgrain oil was found to increase task performance speed, decrease anxiety and improve mood when tested on adults according to Stait-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and Profile of Mood States (POMS).
It has been suggested that linalool exerts neuroprotection against various stressors, can directly inhibit pro-inflammatory pathways and exert antioxidant effects in disease states such as Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, linalool has been found to confer cognitive, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant benefits in human clinical trials as well as preclinical modelling of sleep deprivation.
Potential Adverse Effects
There are also potential adverse effects associated with lavender oil usage including potential toxicity if swallowed, contact dermatitis from topical application, and interactions with certain prescription drugs. Additionally, a 2018 study found four of the constituent chemicals in lavender oil to be endocrine disruptors raising concerns over potential environmental health impact from the oil.
Lavender contains a variety of different terpenes that have a range of therapeutic benefits when inhaled or applied topically. The most abundant terpene found in lavender is linalool which has anti inflammatory properties as well as potential benefits for reducing anxiety and depression levels. Other terpenes such as β-myrcene, β-caryophyllene and α-(−)-bisabolol also offer various therapeutic benefits including antimicrobial activity and local anaesthetic effects.