Terpene of the Week: Terpineol

Terpineol in everyday life

You may have used a personal product, such as soap, lotion, or perfume that contains aromatic terpineol presenting with a gentle lilac profile. Tea drinkers may also have experienced the pleasant scent of terpineol through lapsang souchong tea that emits a pine smoke aroma. You may have tasted terpineol too since it is used as a flavoring agent in baked goods and condiments.

Therapeutic properties of terpineol

Terpineol, specifically a-terpineol, has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor and antimicrobial properties.


The terpene has shown anti-inflammatory qualities in several scientific studies, including one published in 2007 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and another published in 2010 in Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology. The latter study yielded encouraging results for a-terpineol’s potential as a component of new medications to treat painful and/or inflammatory diseases.  


Researchers conducted comparative tests on the antioxidant effects of a-terpineol and two other terpenes: carvone and perillyl alcohol. The results, published in 2011 in Food and Chemical Toxicology, indicated that a-terpineol had the strongest antioxidant effect, comparable to commercial antioxidants. The scientists who led the study found the outcome to be encouraging for future studies regarding the possibility of a-terpineol fighting certain types of cancer, notably breast cancer and chronic myeloid leukemia.