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Terpenes: A Glossary

An Easy To Follow-Clear & Comprehensive Guide

By Sarah SniderPublished 3 years ago 4 min read
Terpenes: A Glossary
Photo by Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash

Bisabolol: "Weak Flower", "Sweet", "Chamomile"

Effects: Internal-Increased Relaxation, Better Sleep, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Microbial. Topical-Eczema, Psoriasis, Skin Inflammation, Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Microbial.

Notes: Topically this terpene supports healing of minor skin irritations like insect bites, cuts/scrapes and some rashes.

Herbal Allies: Lavender, Red Clover, Burdock, Red Root

Borneol: "Spicy", "Minty"

Effects: Neuroprotective, Awakening.

Notes: Has been used in TCM for more than 1,000 years. This terpene crosses the blood-brain barrier, potentiates CBD, and supports the delivery of drugs to the brain. Borneol may help with regaining consciousness in cases of coma, heart attack, stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other brain related emergency situations.

Herbal Allies: Pycnogenol, Turmeric, Gotu Kola, Bacopa, Blueberries

Camphene: "Camphor", "Citronella", "Kerosene"

Effects: Internally-Strong Anti-Oxidant, Supports Lung Health (Environmental). Topically-Anti-Inflammatory.

Notes: May help with lung diseases where oxidative stress is a factor. May support reduction of triglycerides/cholesterol.

Herbal Allies: Osha Root, Chlorophyll, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Cayenne

Carene: "Bitter Taste", "Sweet Scent", "Basil", "Fresh Pine"

Effects: Significant Anti-Inflammatory, Acute Skin Inflammation, Anti-Histamine, Anti-Fungal.

Notes: Carene is currently being studied for its effects on bone healing, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis.

Herbal Allies: Nettle, Red Clover, Turmeric, Yerba Santa, Yerba Mansa

Caryophyllene: "Spicy", "Black Pepper", "Clove"

Effects: Significant Inflammation/Pain Relief, Chronic Pain, Brain Health.

Notes: Potentiates CBD, possibly CBG for pain relief. May make opioids more effective at lower doses. Supports brain health and may help with age related cognitive decline. b-Caryophyllene's activation of the CB2 receptor may have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anti-depressive, anxiolytic effects. May benefit issues like colitis, nervous system related disorders like pain, anxiety, spasm, convulsions, depression, alcoholism, etc.

Herbal Allies: Milky Oats (Tops), Alfalfa, Turmeric, Ginger, Rosemary, Cayenne, Blueberries

Eucalyptol: "Minty", "Spicy", "Cooling"

Effects: Internally-Causes Anxiety, Increases Gastric Mucus. Topically-Anti-Microbial, Anti-Fungal, Insecticidal.

Notes: This terpene is an agonist of TRPM8 channels and is pain relieving/analgesic in animals. Internally, large doses are toxic and to be avoided. Because eucalyptol increases gastric mucus, I wonder if sucking on a eucalyptus cough drop would ease the discomfort of a sour stomach or ulcer.

Herbal Allies: Peppermint, Ginger, DGL (Licorice), Cinnamon

Geraniol: "Fruity", "Peach", "Plum", "Rose"

Effects: Sedative, Neuroprotective, Anti-Oxidant.

Notes: This terpene is best used topically. Repels insects such as mosquitoes and ticks. Excellent as a floral water or hydrosol to tonify the skin.

Herbal Allies: Topically-Lemongrass, Cedar, Lemon Eucalyptus

Guaiol: "Sweet", "Plummy", "Rose"

Effects: In Traditional Chinese Medicine-Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Bacterial, Gout, Arthritis, Sore Throat.

Notes: This terpene causes anxiety. Is found in traditional preparations for congestion and sore throat.

Herbal Allies: Peppermint, Ginger, Yarrow, Yerba Mansa, Yerba Santa

Humulene: "Hops", "Woody", "Earthy"

Effects: Apatite Suppressant, Anti Inflammatory, Anti-Bacterial.

Notes: Apatite reduction may be potentiated if combined with beta-caryophyllene.

Herbal Allies: Chicory, Artichoke, Dandelion, Milk Thistle, Bitters

Limonene: "Citrus"

Effects: Uplifting, Mood Enhancing, Social Lubricant, Happy.

Notes: Potentiates CBG for a stronger anxiety relieving effect, specifically for hypervigilance. Great for folks with emotionally nervous tummies.

Herbal Allies: Lemon Balm, Passionflower, Holy Basil

Linalool: "Lavender"

Effects: Relaxing, Calming, Anti-Depressant, Sedative, Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Fungal, Analgesic, Wound Healing.

Notes: Supports immune system by relieving stress, may help in the distribution of white blood cells.

Herbal Allies: Lavender, Lemon Balm, Passionflower, Catnip, Red Clover, Red Root

Myrcene: "Fruity", "Mango"

Effects: Powerfully Relaxing, Inflammation/Pain Relief, Sleep.

Notes: Potentiates CBN, CBD and CBG acting as a muscle relaxant. Myrcene is part of what causes the Indica "Couch-Lock".

Herbal Allies: Holy Basil, Turmeric, Ginger, Corydalis, St. John's Wort

Nerolidol: "Sweet", "Flowery"

Effects: Internally-Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Bacterial, Cardioprotective. Topically-Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Microbial, Anti-Fungal.

Notes: Topically, it potentiates CBD absorbability through the skin by almost 2,000%.

Herbal Allies: Internally-Red, Blue & Purple Fruits & Veggies, Red Yeast Rice, Bergamot. Topically-Lemongrass, Neroli, Jasmine, Ginger, Tea Tree

Pinene: "Pine"

Effects: Alpha-Pinene (will only dissolve in oil or ethanol, not water) Anti-Anxiety, Pain Relief, Anti-Inflammatory, Memory.

Notes: Potentiates CBD, preferred terpene to support memory & focus, great for elders and students or people suffering from forgetfulness due to anxiety.

Herbal Allies: Rosemary, Pycnogenol, Turmeric, Ginkgo, Bacopa

Terpinene: "Turpentine", "Cardamom", "Marjoram"

Effects: Topically-Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Microbial.

Notes: Not to be confused with Terpineol. This terpene may cause anxiety.

Herbal Allies: Topically-Lavender, Tea Tree, Calendula

Terpineol: "Lilacs", "Apple Blossoms", "Sweet"

Effects: Strong Sedative, Relaxing, Powerful Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Fungal.

Notes: This terpene is part of what causes the "Couch-Lock" sedative effect, it is also a potent suppressor of the central nervous system. While inhalation offers some support with sleep, it is best absorbed internally.

Herbal Ally: Lavender, Holy Basil, St. John's Wort, Lemon Balm, Passionflower, Black Pepper

Valencene: "Valencia Oranges"

Effects: Strong Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Microbial.

Notes: This terpene may have the best effect as a topical product, and has a similar effect to DEET as an insect repellent.

Herbal Allies: Topically-Lemongrass, Rose Geranium, Cedar, Lemon Eucalyptus


It is important to note that I am not a doctor. My experiences with these herbs are my own and not an attempt to diagnose, treat or cure any ailment. Just because herbs are sold over the counter does not mean they are safe for you. It is important to talk to a physician or pharmacist before you experiment with herbs. I am not paid or reimbursed in any way to offer my opinions on herbal supplements. It is my great pleasure to be an herbal advocate and to share my experiences and knowledge with you. Some of my favorite go to herbalists and authors are (but not limited to): Brigitte Mars, Matthew Wood, Rosemary Gladstar, and Guido Masé.


About the Creator

Sarah Snider

I am a great lover of poetry, magic, mystery and science. I am passionate about sharing what I know about herbs and herbal medicine.


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