Terpene Spotlight: Alpha-Pinene
Posted by Matthew Maquiling on behalf of MONQ®
Breathe With Purpose
Alpha-pinene emits the characteristic aroma of a dense coniferous forest. It has a sharp, quickly penetrating minty-pine topnote with a softer resinous-woody back note, especially after the drydown. Pinene has been shown to clear sinuses and is a bronchodilator, increasing airflow to the lungs (1). It happens to be a primary constituent behind the concept of forest bathing; A practice originating in Japan where immersion in a forested environment can boost one’s mood and immune system via breathing in the dense aromatic compounds emitted by flowers, shrubs and trees. One way that this works is that the abundance of terpene compounds, pinene in particular, encourages deeper breathing.
When our bodies are encouraged to breath more effectively many positive health benefits are experienced. Even the FDA has approved prolonged, deep breathing as an effective treatment for hypertension and anxiety (2).
Targeted Use In Aromatherapy Practice:
- Anti-inflammatory (3): Frankincense and Cypress are two commonly used oils in preparations to treat inflammation found both on the skin and in areas with mucous linings such as the sinuses, lungs or digestive tract. They both typically express over 50% a-pinene in their essential oil.
Interested in research about Alpha-Pinene? Check out some of these studies:
Effective against MRSA: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20670669
Smoking cessation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8033760