- Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in plants, with citrus fruits and herbs being common sources.
- Terpenes have various therapeutic properties, including anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and calming effects.
- Terpene charts visually represent the aromas, sources, and medicinal properties of different terpenes.
- You can use the terpene chart to select a terpene based on the desired effects, aroma, or plant source.
What would our world be like without a sense of smell? Pretty dull, probably. And quite tasteless, since most of our sense of taste relies on smell. But aside from the aesthetic and culinary delights that our nose bestows on us, there’s a myriad of health benefits to be gained from the aromas of certain compounds, specifically terpenes. If you’re scratching your head at this term, not to worry. We’re going to explain what terpenes are and provide you with a simple terpene chart that shows the benefits and sources of the most common types. And if the chemistry of compounds interests you, then you might like our electronegativity and molecular geometry charts too.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are aromatic compounds that are naturally found in a lot of different plants. However, they’re most often found in citrus fruits and herbs. If you’re familiar with the world of essential oils, you may have encountered the term before. Terpenes are responsible for many of the aromas we’ve come to know and love. These range from citrus and pine scents to floral, woodsy, and herbal odors. This is because they’re highly volatile compounds, which readily evaporate at ambient temperature, resulting in the aroma we detect. Some common terpenes include limonene, pinene, humulene, myrcene, and linalool.
These natural compounds have protective, repellent, or attractive properties in plants. In the case of humans, however, the study of their therapeutic properties is showing some promising results. As cannabis legalization and aromatherapy research progress, we can expect more frequent and robust studies around the benefits of terpenes. But as it stands, many terpenes demonstrate various effects. These include anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, stress and pain relief, and calming effects. It’s even theorized that, while not strictly psychoactive themselves, terpenes help to enhance the overall psychoactive and medicinal properties of cannabis. This is through what’s known as the “entourage effect”. Apparently, sometimes more of a good thing is better.
What Is a Terpene Chart?
Terpene charts are a convenient way to represent the various aromas, sources, and potential medicinal properties of terpenes visually. Most often, we use wheel charts or bar graphs to present the information. These allow you to identify the characteristics of terpenes easily, according to what effects or scents you’re looking for, so that you can obtain the essential oils you need (or cannabis strain, if that’s your thing).
The chart we have here lists the most common terpenes in a bar format, with their boiling points (in degrees Fahrenheit), physical effects, medicinal properties, aromas, and major sources.
How to Use a Terpene Chart
Using our terpene chart couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is find the terpene you’re looking for and then read off the corresponding characteristics. Alternatively, you could locate the specific medicinal properties or aromas you’re after. Even still, you can look at the plant sources you have to hand, and then identify the related terpene that way.
For example, someone that’s after a memory boost would find pinene to be the most suitable terpene. Or, somebody who’s looking for a citrusy and relaxing terpene could determine myrcene, linalool, or limonene to be their best bets.
In summary, terpenes are natural, aromatic compounds found in plants. They show promising therapeutic benefits, such as anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, relaxing and sedating effects, and even pain relief. Whether you’re an aromatherapy aficionado or medical cannabis user, you can use our handy terpene chart to select a terpene based on aroma, source, or desired effects.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©History-Computer.com/Carl Field.