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Terpenes—The Background of Botanical Aromatherapy

Monday, October 03, 2016

Terpenes are the fragrant oils that give botanical plants and flowers their aromatic diversity. Terpenes are a type of organic compound released by a number of plants, and even some insects, and are buried in the same glands that produce popular botanical compounds. Originally evolved to protect plants against dangerous predators while attracting pollinators, terpenes are recognized by their potent and unique smells. Along with being responsible for the pleasant, or not so pleasant, aromas of botanical plants, terpenes also interact with the psychological effects associated with those aromas. 

The majority of research, resources, money, and time have gone into the study of botanical compounds. What the newfound interest in terpenes could mean is a major expansion of botanical research as well as of the potential benefits that could be targeted. Over 100 different types of terpenes have been identified within the single botanical plants alone, and even more exist in other plants and insects. It is believed that much of the variance in the effects of each individual strain might have a great deal to do with the terpenes within the strand. Having a greater understanding of these effects and what causes them would enhance the capability of botanical plant effects and perhaps further the specificity of strain prescription; Testing of terpene content would increase the information a consumer or patient has availble.

Overall, terpenes are an unexplored, fascinating feature of the botanical plant. They add individuality to each type, and are well known to those who are familiar with certain strains, giving each variety a unique and pungent odor. Further research into terpenes has enormous potential to enhance the therapeutic specificity of different strains, and in improve patient knowledge about particular effects. Terpenes are very important to know, and we cannot wait to see how they develop and change our experience with botanical plants.

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