Linalool is a naturally occurring compound in flowers and spice plants. These chemical compounds or terpenes have a unique fragrance and extend their applicability to diverse use.
For example, usage of linalool in food, essential oils, cosmetics, medicines, flavoring, and agricultural use is common.
“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived”Helen Keller
What is it that brings an instant smile and an exclusive feeling of inner joy when you smell something really exquisite? In my experience, beyond words and expressions, it instantly lifts my mind and transports me to tranquility!
I am sure you agree with me if I say that our sense of smell has a profound effect on our mental and physical health. In fact, when you fall in love, the very first thing that attracts your mind is the smell of your partner. Convinced? Read on.
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Well, I do love to talk more about the relationship between love and the sense of smell. But in this article, I wish to share with you interesting scientific facts about Terpenes, terpenoids, Linalool as a terpene, its effects, and uses.
What is a Terpene
The Cannabis plant has been in use by mankind since time immemorial in food, folk medicine, fiber, and a lot more. Now, having agreed on that, it is evident that the cannabis plant contains an ample variety of chemicals and compounds. Among these 140 belong to a broad category of aromatic organic hydrocarbons.
These hydrocarbons are ‘terpenes’. Therefore the only two elements present in terpenes are carbon (C ) and hydrogen (H). Hence they are volatile and insoluble in water.
The nature of hydrocarbons in the study of organic chemistry is that while all the carbon atoms group themselves together and form the framework, the hydrogen atoms attach to them in different structures.
Most importantly, terpenes are the basic essential building block for a compound, plant hormone, molecules, pigments, and cannabinoids. Historical references on its applicability are far-ranging. Including perfumes, medicine, and flavoring.
What is a Terpenoid
Terpenes and terpenoids are secondary compounds. Although the two terms used interchangeably, they are different.
This is similar to what we discussed in the previous post on Cannabinol (CBN) that the degradation of THC in cannabis led to the formation of CBN.
Now, about its chemical structure. Terpenoids include oxygen in their chemical arrangement. On the other hand, terpenes only contain Carbon and Hydrogen, as mentioned above.
Furthermore, studies report that terpenoids are a highly diverse group of natural products found in many plants. Therefore its applicability in pharmacology is also far-reaching.
- A 2014 study reports that several terpenoids are exploited for their value in counteracting cancer, malaria, inflammation, infectious diseases.
- Many terpenoids have been associated with industrial applications or natural interactions of plants.
- According to the 2017 study, terpenoids are the major physiologically active compounds in Chinese herbal medicine.
- Terpenoids such as menthol and Taxol, have high economic value for food flavorings, aromatics, and medicinal applications.
Terpenes and Cannabis
We have understood precisely that terpenes are responsible for bringing the flavorings and fragrances. Hence, they are responsible for bringing the aroma in cannabis. Indeed, this helps in differentiating and identifying the numerous cannabis strains.
Terpenes are found in high concentrations, particularly in unfertilized female cannabis flower before it is fully aged.
In other words, plant extracts are taken before senescence for preparations of essential oils.
In short, high concentrates of specific terpenes possess distinct smells and deliver divergent effects. For example:
- The powerful antioxidant properties of Limonene.
- Pinene’s anti-inflammatory properties.
- Analgesic and anti-microbial properties of Linalool
- immunomodulatory effects of Tulsi (holy basil).
To summarize on terpenes and cannabis’ reciprocal actions, a 2011 study reports that terpenes serve as inhibitors to THC’s psychoactive effects, leading to a potential opportunity for studying the therapeutic properties of THC.
Having discussed terpenes and terpenoids, it is now easier to understand about Linalool.
- A study defines Linalool as a noncyclic monoterpene.
- It is found naturally in oils from herbs, leaves, flowers, and wood.
- Pure linalool possesses a fresh, clean, mild, light floral odor with a slight citrus taste.
- Around 200 species of plants produce Linalool. For example, Lavender, Rose, Basil, Neroli Oil, and different aromatic plants.
- It is noteworthy to highlight a unique feature of monoterpenes like Linalool. These plants release Monoterpenes in the atmosphere. As a result, forests emit monoterpenes to form aerosols. Research defines aerosol as particles that suspend in the atmosphere and play an important role in cloud condensation. Therefore, indirectly the role of monoterpenes leads to an improved aerosol formation that could cool the climate.
- Lamiaceae plants including mint,
- Coriander, sweet orange, sweet basil
- Cinnamon, rosewood
- Citrus fruits
- Birch trees
Broadly speaking, studying the pharmacological effects of linalool as a terpene has captured increased attention and interest in recent times.
Firstly, studies report on its analgesic and anticonvulsant effects.
Secondly, its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cardiovascular effects in rat models up to 2014 have been studied.
More to add, Linalool’s local anesthetic effects are compared to those equivalent to procaine and menthol.
Its overall therapeutic effects and potential is applied in Dermatology.
The applicability of Linalool in Food, pharmaceutical, Cosmetic and Agricultural Industries is far-reaching.
- Linalool is an essential intermediate in the manufacture of vitamin E,
- Studies refer to its anticonvulsant and antiglutamatergic properties when extracted from Ocimum basilicum.
- There is a reference to Linalool’s antidepressant and immune potentiating effect.
- Traditionally, folk medicine uses a wide range of Linalool-producing species. Likewise, in aromatherapy, it cures a variety of acute, chronic ailments.
- In the manufacture of fragrances for shampoos, soaps, and detergent
- They also repel mosquitoes by 93%
- When it comes to looking out for Linalool in the Food Industry, you can find them in almost all alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Also including hard and soft candies, chewing gum, ice creams, gelatin puddings, meat products, baked food, etc.
- Usage of Linalool in pet care products is also common.
- Its usage in household products is quantitatively studied. Such as liquid wax for marble, ceramic, plastic, and varnished wood floors
- To sum up, on the uses of Linalool, it is interesting to mention that some plants use their terpenes as a defense mechanism in keeping predators away. And some plants use their aromatic molecules to attract pollinating insects (like bees) that help them reproduce.
Terpenes like Linalool possess immense properties as they are part and parcel of most products of our everyday life.
Most importantly, we must be really appreciative of the advancement in technology and medicine. Numerous compounds recognized and identified by science are eventually drawing attention from the pharmaceutical Industry.
Also, our desperate seeking for sustainable solutions has impacted and altered our outlook on lifestyle, food, health, and medicine.
A broad range of consumer products uses terpenes and terpenoids for manufacturing. But, currently, plants are still the main source. The challenge here is to meet its high cost and low yield of extracts. The use of bio-synthetic terpenoids is a good alternative.