What Are Terpenes and How Can They Benefit Your Family?

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It might come as a surprise that terpenes are almost everywhere in our environment. For example, did you know you get them from everyday citrus fruits? Terpene is that aroma that attracts you to fruits like oranges.

Nevertheless, beyond the appealing aroma in your home, these compounds have many health benefits. Thus, this article will discuss where to get these compounds and how they can benefit your household. Plus, we’ll give practical ways to incorporate them into your home.

How Do Terpenes Work?

Before we discuss the magic behind them, first, what are terpenes? These compounds are in everyday plants and flowers because they occur naturally in many plants and are the source of the distinct flavors and scents that fill our environment.

We mentioned citrus fruits in the introduction. You can also get these compounds from herbs like thyme, mint, and basil. If you’re outdoorsy, pine trees are one of the best sources of these compounds. They give pine trees their unmistakable scent. Cannabis plants also produce various terpenes.

However, terpenes are all different depending on their source. For instance, the terpene profiles from citrus fruits are limonene, while those from pine trees are pinene. Mangoes and thyme produce myrcene. Understanding their differences helps you get quality terpene-rich products for different needs.

How Terpenes Benefit Plants

In addition to producing aromas that humans love, terpenes are also beneficial to the growth stage of plants because they draw pollinators. Thus, growing plants that produce terpenes helps attract insects like bees and butterflies to your garden.

Further, these compounds help your plants recover after damage and create a defense mechanism to protect your plants from herbivores, insects, and other threats.

How Terpenes Work in the Human Body

Aside from the effects on plants, terpenes also have many functions in the human body. Therefore, a few things happen when you inhale terpenes. As you enjoy the aroma of citrus oils or another source of terpenes, these compounds first bind to the olfactory receptors in your nose. The odor molecule then triggers a signal that travels from your olfactory nerve to the olfactory bulb in your brain. This process might sound technical, but it isn’t. 

The instantaneous transfer triggers an emotional and physiological response in your brain. Remember, the odor molecules can impact your emotions and behavior because your olfactory and limbic systems are connected. Thus, your body responds to these terpenes and generates feelings of relaxation, nostalgia, or alertness.

On top of that, terpenes also interact with your endocannabinoid system, and you may notice changes in your sleep pattern, mood, and appetite.

Health Benefits of Terpenes

Now, let’s focus on the health benefits likely to come from these compounds.

Physical Health Benefits

Anti-inflammatory Properties

People suffering from chronic inflammation complain of several conditions, including arthritis. They may require several management strategies. Thus, you can reduce inflammation using these naturally occurring compounds. For instance, you can benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of terpenes called beta-caryophyllene from cloves and black pepper.

Antimicrobial Properties

An antimicrobial compound guards your system against harmful bacteria and viruses. One of these antimicrobial properties is terpinolene in tea tree oil. It can be beneficial to your home as a natural antiseptic and disinfectant.

Pain Relief

Another potential benefit of these compounds is their effect on pain. For instance, myrcene, which we mentioned comes from mangoes and basil, has pain-relieving properties. Thus, it can benefit your family in case of chronic pain or injury.

Mental Health Benefits

Improving the Cognitive Function

Who wouldn’t love to sharpen their focus? One of the terpenes that can help with mental clarity is pinene. You can get this from rosemary, a common herb in many homes.

Relieving Stress

It’s one of the more common reasons for using terpenes. For instance, the linalool compound in lavender produces a calming effect, making it a popular choice for reducing anxiety and promoting a sense of peace.

Enhancing Mood

Your mood can affect many areas of daily life and influence your relationships. Thus, you want to find ways to enhance how you feel. Adding terpenes like essential oils allows you to enjoy the benefits longer without focusing so much on the process.

Limonene from citrus fruits is one example of terpenes that enhance mood. Imagine how easy it is to diffuse cold-pressed oils from citrus fruits while relaxing at home.

Practical Ways to Use Terpenes at Home

Here are ways to incorporate terpenes into your family’s daily activities.


It’s one of the ways to utilize these compounds in your home. For instance, add essential oils like lavender and citrus into a diffuser. Your choice depends on the specific terpene benefits. For example, you can use oils that promote relaxation or focus. It’s a non-intrusive way of enjoying these benefits, as the diffuser does not take up much of your time to fill or manage.

Use Cleaning Products with Terpenes

Instead of ordinary cleaning products, get ones infused with citrus oils and other oils with terpenes. In addition to bringing a fresh aroma to your space, they also allow you to enjoy the benefits discussed above. On top of that, avoiding harmful chemicals also benefits your environment.

Food and Supplements

Adding foods with terpenes brings a flavorful and diverse range of nutrients to your table. They include herbs, fruits, and spices. It’s possible to incorporate a variety that caters to every family member’s needs and taste, as there are diverse fruits and herbs.

Final Thoughts

The decision to utilize more terpenes in your everyday life is exciting because it means embarking on a journey to understand how these compounds work and the types available.

You do not have to look far because terpenes are in fruits and essential oils you can get in a local store. For instance, you can buy herbs and spices for your marinades.

Since there are many sources, you can incorporate these compounds into different areas of daily family life. For example, you can buy infused cleaning products and aromatherapy oils.

Author picture

Laura Morgan writes about health and wellness. A journalist by training, she commits to well-researched data and insights to help readers make informed decisions regarding their well-being. She has written, among others, topics on women’s health, family health, and natural living.

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