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Terpineol: An Underappreciated Terpene

Posted by Daniel Gordon on

As medical research continues to bear out the health-positive potential of terpenes, favorites such as limonene, myrcene and pinene have begun to emerge in consumer trends within the burgeoning terpenes space. This is likely due to their appealing flavor and aroma profiles, which make them highly sought after for infusion purposes.

However, it's worth noting that terpenes are much more than just sweet, citrus or floral flavoring agents. Depending on their diagnoses, terpene consumers would do well not to overlook underappreciated terpenes like terpineol. It is currently being studied for its potential antioxidant, antiulcer and antihypertensive applications as a natural medicine.

Differentiating between α-terpineol, β-terpineol-, γ-terpineol, and 4-terpineol
In a nutshell, terpineol is comprised of a mixture of any of the four monoterpene alcohol isomers α-terpineol, β-terpineol, γ-terpineol, and 4-terpineol, usually with α-terpineol (or alpha-terpineol) as its main constituent.
There is very little variation between the four isomers themselves. As an example, β-terpineol and γ-terpineol are distinguishable only by the difference in the location of their double bonds. Terpenoids are typically modified by the presence of a functional group or substituent, which in terpineol's case is an alcohol.

Terpineol is an unusually fragrant terpene with several therapeutic uses and a significantly higher boiling point than most other terpenes at 426°F.

In this post, we go over everything you need to know about this impressively versatile yet underappreciated terpene — from an overview of its flavor and aroma profile to the best sources to extract it in large amounts.

What Does Terpineol Smell Like?

Terpineol smells of fresh lilac, with floral and woody undertones. Outside the cannabis extracts industry, it's frequently used in the making of perfume and other cosmetic products. Terpineol's distinctive aroma is also utilized in the specialty foods space. Its presence in pine wood fire smoke, for example, is key to drying and perfuming the Camellia Sinensis leaves used in the creation of Lapsang Souchong tea.

Because of terpineol's lilac scent and sweet, floral nuances, it's a natural choice for infusion into herbaceous, spice or citrus dominant flavor profiles in both food and e-liquids. It's also a common ingredient in bath products and flavorings.

Strains High in Terpineol

If you'd like to give terpineol a try yourself, a good bet would be to look into sedative strains high in pinene. The most popular of these include:

 

●     Jack Herer is also commonly known as "The Jack," and is a sativa-dominant hybrid renowned for its ability to melt away stress and anxiety. Its flavor can best be described as a pleasant combination of pine, wood, citrus and spice. Jack Herer is commonly prescribed to patients struggling with insomnia and depression.

●     Miracle Alien Cookies or MAC is a hybrid with intense orange flavor with sweet, floral undertones. While not as famous among casual consumers as other strains on this list, MAC lovers frequently report feeling relaxation, euphoria and even increased creativity within half an hour of consumption.

●     White Widow is sweet and citrusy on the inhale, with deep, lasting earthy and woody flavors lingering afterward. While many users can find it slightly harsh on the throat and nasal passages, White Widow is invigorating and stimulating over time, providing a sensation of increased energy and appetite within minutes.

●     Girl Scout Cookies or GSC is a popular indica-dominant hybrid aptly named due to its ability to quickly impart sensations of hunger, happiness and carefree relaxation. GSC also gets its name from the similarity in its flavor to the common thin mints variety of actual girl scout cookies, which were a popular pick among buyers when they were sold door to door.

Frequently Asked Questions on Terpineol

Because it's so underappreciated, even cannabis and terpene aficionados have limited experience with terpineol. Let's go over the most common questions for consumers looking to work with this terpene for the first time.

What is terpineol found in?

Terpineol is a major constituent of pine, lilacs and lime blossoms. However, terpineol occurs naturally in variety of sources including 150 different plants including cannabis, eucalyptus and a range of different fruits. It can even be extracted from cardamom.

The α-terpineol alcohol can be isolated or distilled from natural oils such as petitgrain oil (bitter orange tree oil), cajeput oil and ravensara sap.

Which essential oils contain terpineol?

The one essential oil product that most reliably contains terpineol is pine essential oil. Because of its complex aroma profile, there's usually more than one monoterpene in pine oil. Aside from terpineol, almost all pine essential oils also contain bornyl acetate and borneol, as well as alpha and beta-pinene.

 

What can terpineol be used for?

Terpineol and alpha terpineol is currently being studied for its potential antioxidant, antiulcer and antihypertensive applications. Other observed therapeutic benefits include antibiotic, anti inflammatory, antimalarial and anti tumoral activity or effects.

Because of its composition, alpha terpineol is also noted for its ability to increase skin penetration, making it a viable ingredient for use in topical mosquito repellents, localized non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) i.e. sport creams, recovery balms and even gel-based deodorant.

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