Category: 

What Are the Medical Uses of Terpenes?

Essential oils may be used in aromatherapy to treat varying maladies.
The menthol in mint plants can help with indigestion.
Terpenes may be used as an expectorant to help a person cough up phlegm more easily.
Orange terpenes are sometimes added to bath soaps and salts.
Terpenes is found in mint, and helps reduce indigestion when consumed as a tea.
Products that contain camphor may be used to reduce the irritation and speed healing of cold sores and other lesions.
Article Details
  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 28 July 2015
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2015
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Jack Norworth had never seen a baseball game before writing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in 1908.  more...

August 2 ,  1990 :  Iraq invaded Kuwait, sending in more than 100,000 soldiers and 700 tanks.  more...

Terpenes are hydrocarbon compounds found in plants most commonly associated with essential oils and represent many pharmaceutical uses. These chemicals form the basis of some antiseptics, expectorants, gastrointestinal drugs, and pain relievers. Terpenes also show promise as an antioxidant.

More than 2,000 species of plants contain terpenes or their derivatives. The ancient Egyptians used essential oils in religious ceremonies, and more than 60 plant oils were mentioned in literature from the 1500s. With advances in organic chemistry, scientists identified a wide range of uses for terpenes worldwide.

The two most common terpenes studied include camphor and turpentine, but medicinal oils also appear in eucalyptus, lavender, thyme, mint, and hundreds of other plants. They appear in the leaves, bark, roots, and flowers of these plants. This chemical naturally wards off insects and herbivores, and aids in pollination.

Eucalyptus oil treats respiratory disease and is also used in dentistry. Its pungent scent is also added to fragrances and used in aromatherapy. As an expectorant, the chemical in eucalyptus stimulates the secretion of mucus. The oil might produce a diuretic effect, and can be taken orally to ease gastrointestinal spasms by increasing gastric juices in the gut.

Ad

Plant oils also produce an antiseptic effect against bacteria. It might be especially useful to fight toxins resistant to antibiotics, such as yeast and fungi. Other medicines contain these oils because of their anesthetic properties. Drug manufacturers add terpenes to creams and ointments to relieve pain and itching.

The chemical is found in greater quantities in plants containing ample chlorophyll, such as mint. The menthol in mint plants might reduce flatulence and indigestion when consumed as a tea. All varieties in the mint family, including peppermint and spearmint, contain chemical properties related to terpenes.

In addition to medicinal uses, the chemical is found in rubber and resins. It is also added to cleaning products and disinfectants, in the form of lemon oil or pine oil. If accidentally ingested in large quantities or high concentrations, the chemical might cause toxic effects.

Camphor and turpentine depress the central nervous system and can lead to respiratory disorder if aspirated. Nausea, vomiting, and seizures are typical symptoms of terpene poisoning. Children represent the most common victims of accidental ingestion. Certain plant oils have hallucinogenic effects and might lead to drug abuse.

Ad

You might also Like

Recommended

Discuss this Article

Raynbow
Post 2

@heavanet- I have taken floral and herbal herbs for stress, and I have found that they calm your nerves. I like that you don't need a doctor's prescription to get them, and that they don't cause a lot of side effects like drugs do. You can find these natural oils in health food stores and pharmacies.

Heavanet
Post 1

I heard that flower oils are terpenoids that are natural treatments for nervousness and stress. Does anyone have first-hand experience using them to treat these two conditions?

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email