Are You Terpene-Deficient? Probably

Are you terpene deficient? Probably. Most of us are, which is one of the reasons why Eric Fishman, MD, (aka Dr. MONQ) founded MONQ. He recognized and defined Terpene Deficiency Syndrome—a cluster of symptoms resulting from a lack of exposure to terpenes—and decided to do something about it.

Terpenes in History

Evolution and natural selection, over huge time spans, optimize humans and other organisms for life in their natural environments. In most cases, these environments don’t change quickly or drastically, so animals become more fit to survive.

However, tremendous changes have occurred because of industrialization over the last few centuries. Now that so many people live in cities, the air individuals breathe lacks natural compounds that humans require for maintaining overall well-being. Increased pollution exacerbates these effects.

The first humans lived in the forest or the savanna, both of which were environments filled with natural aromatic compounds. These aromatic compounds are the secondary metabolites that plants release into the surrounding air, and terpenes are one of the types of secondary metabolites.

You’ve probably read a bit about terpenes on our blog—they are central to the health benefits that MONQ Therapeutic Air® provides. And, when they are missing, humans become terpene deficient.

Terpenes and Health

Terpenes have been found to have positive effects on both mental and physical health, mainly revolving around mood and stress. Because animals evolved in the presence of these aromatic compounds, there is a theory that humans require them for homeostasis.

Homeostasis, the delicate balance that living systems strive to maintain, can be easily thrown off when there is some change in the environment. For example, individuals who don’t grow up in high altitude environments struggle to breathe properly at high elevations because oxygen levels are lower than what their body is accustomed to.

Similarly, we experience many changes every day that disturb our homeostasis and have the potential to disrupt our well-being. One of these is not breathing in enough terpenes (or breathing in too many, which is why we recommend using MONQ® diffusers only 2–3 times per day). When we don’t breathe in enough terpenes, we become terpene deficient.

Since we don’t metabolize terpenes the way we do carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, we typically don’t think about them as frequently. We don’t seek them out, and we don’t see them listed on food ingredient labels. However, it’s possible that they are critical for our health and well-being, just as other components of our diet are.

Thus, most humans exist in a chronic state of “terpene deficiency,” or, have Terpene Deficiency Syndrome. This may be characterized by a cluster of symptoms, including increased struggles with stress and mood, breathing problems, general unwellness, and more.

Terpenes and Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy may help individuals replenish some terpenes. Remember, essential oils have synergistic effects. That means that when different oils are combined, they play off each other’s effects to create more potent therapeutic benefits.

In forest bathing, individuals benefit from inhaling the terpenes and other secondary metabolites from hundreds of different plant species in the surrounding forest. So, it would make sense that aromatherapeutic methods using combinations of essential oils have a synergistic effect.

Since there are tens of thousands of terpenes in nature, no single aromatherapy product provides you with all of them. However, with proper blending, it’s possible to reap the benefits of many of them. You can experience some of these by using MONQ’s Forest diffuser.

Our science team designed the blends of oils in MONQ® personal aromatherapy diffusers with synergy in mind. Each diffuser contains a mix of all-natural essential oils that can help you achieve various mood-based benefits. To explore our different blends, click here.

These blends can help you breathe in the terpenes you may be deficient in, allowing for a happier, more relaxed, and healthier life.

Photo credits: RoxanaBashyrova/, everst/