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What Do Terpenes Look Like?

September 01, 2022 4 min read

What Do Terpenes Look Like?

What Do Terpenes Look Like?

Terpenes are well known for their different unique scents; other than that, before using any product, individuals always wonder what the products used to make them look like. Here are a few types of terpenes, what they look like, and their benefits.

They are the building blocks of aromas, making smelling an adventure. Terpenes are found in plants, from their roots to their fruits, and in different kinds of animals. They are the largest compounds found in essential oils. These oils are therapeutic. Besides aroma, terpenes play a major role in protecting plants and helping their growth and survival. They have a wide range of health benefits to the human body. The looks and purpose of terpenes depend on the different types available. As you continue learning, you will realize there are many types of terpenes, but only a few are the ones we are familiar with.

There are different types of terpenes that have different roles. But we only have a few common ones that I am sure we have interacted with one way or the other.

Types Of Terpenes


Surendran et al. (2021) explained that they are earthy, spicy, clove, and have a unique aroma. It is found in lemongrass, hop, mangoes, basil, and many other plants. It's also used as a fragrance. Myrcene gives the beer a peppery and balsam aroma.


Linalool has a pleasant floral scent and spicy touch to it. Linalool has complex odor and flavor properties. Its odor is similar to floral, spicy wood, resembling French lavender plants, bergamot oil, or lily of the valley. It has a light, citrus-like flavor, sweet with a spicy tropical accent. It is a colorless oil. It is used in manufacturing soap, fragrance, food additives such as flavor, household products like washing soaps, sanitizers, shower gels, and many more, and insecticides. It’s mostly found in the lavender plant.


Baron et al. (2018) explained that humulene has a peppery smell found in plants like basil, sage, and clove. It’s a terpene commonly found in the cannabis plant. It has health benefits like an anti-inflammatory that can help alleviate allergic reactions. Act as an antibacterial agent. Potentially help with appetite suppression and weight loss. Although if used in high doses, it can cause skin and eye irritation.


It’s an oily, colorless, clear liquid extracted from various plant matters. Pinene is present in pine trees, conifers, orange pill, dill, basil, and parsley. It's a powerful terpene with good health benefits such as anti-inflammation, antimicrobial, and respiratory system, which helps relieve breathing issues and reduces anxiety.


Beta-caryophyllene is a terpene with a warm, woody, spicy smell. It's mostly found in black pepper, clove oil, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, basil, black caraway, hops, and essential oils. It's valuable for its medical benefits, such as anxiety, depression, and neuropathic and chronic nerve pains. Beta-caryophyllene is so distinct that it’s the smell drug-sniffing dogs are trained to sniff out. It is best used in lower doses.


Terpinolene is a terpene found abundantly in apples, sage, turmeric leaf, pines, nutmeg, and cardamom. It gives off floral, citrus, and pine scents and is known for its fresh fragrance. Its benefits include antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, sedative, and pain reducer. Terpinolene has also shown potential benefits in reducing cancer. However, these tests were conducted on animals and not human beings. It has lower levels of terpenes in them.


It is a colorless liquid with major components found in the oil of a citrus pill. Limonene is more commonly in nature as a flavoring agent in food manufacturing. It’s used to make dietary supplements, fragrances, and cosmetic products. Limonene is one of the most common terpenes found in nature and may offer health benefits.

Importance Of Terpenes

Bhavaniramya et al. (2019) explained that terpenes are responsible for plants' fragrance, taste, and pigmentation. They are the major compounds found in essential oils. These oils play a role in the health of human beings. They act as antidepressants, reduce anxiety, improve mood, and create calmness. They also produce fresh and bright scents found in forests. This fresh air helps to increase relaxation while taking nature walks. Terpenes also act as a shield in plants protecting them from predators to improve the plant's survival and growth and attract pollinators. It helps manufacture food and beverages due to its unique aroma and flavors.

Benefits Of Terpenes

Cox-Georgian et al. (2019) explained that terpenes contain many medical factors such as anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antihyperglycemic, analgesic, and antiparasitic. It also enhances skin penetration and improves acne. The essential oils extracted from terpenes plants are used for aromatherapy which helps in creating calmness, improving someone's mood, antidepressants, and also help to reduce anxiety. The fresh air found while taking nature walks improves breathing, and one inhales fresh air that helps the lungs. Terpenes also contain psychoactive properties and are used against many infectious diseases.


Terpenes are highly aromatic compounds that determine the smell of many plants and herbs, such as rosemary and lavender, as well as some animals. Manufacturers use isolated terpenes to create the flavors and scents of everyday products, such as perfumes, body products, and even foods. It has health benefits that are considered potential to human beings. Still, some of the properties found in terpenes have been tested on animals and have had positive results. Terpenes on their own to obtain their benefits; you have to use them in high doses. Pure terpenes are always colorless. They also play a vital role in protecting the plants and also helping in regulating sun rays from plants. To gain the effects, you are looking for in terpenes, you have to select what works for you.


Baron, E. P., Lucas, P., Eades, J., & Hogue, O. (2018). Patterns of medicinal cannabis use, strain analysis, and substitution effect among patients with migraine, headache, arthritis, and chronic pain in a medicinal cannabis cohort. The journal of headache and pain19(1), 1-28.

Bhavaniramya, S., Vishnupriya, S., Al-Aboody, M. S., Vijayakumar, R., & Baskaran, D. (2019). Role of essential oils in food safety: Antimicrobial and antioxidant applications. Grain & oil science and technology2(2), 49-55.

Cox-Georgian, D., Ramadoss, N., Dona, C., & Basu, C. (2019). Therapeutic and medicinal uses of terpenes. In Medicinal Plants (pp. 333-359). Springer, Cham.

Surendran, S., Qassadi, F., Surendran, G., Lilley, D., & Heinrich, M. (2021). Myrcene—what are the potential health benefits of this flavoring and aroma agent?. Frontiers in Nutrition, 400.