Fenchone, classified as both a monoterpene and a ketone, is a colorless liquid with a camphoraceous odor and bitter taste. 1 It is a constituent of absinthe and fennel essential oil. Outside of its uses in aromatherapy, it is also used as a flavoring agent and in perfumery. 2
This terpene is known for having anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties. It may also be used to repel insects.
Monoterpenes and Ketones
Fenchone is classified as a bicyclic monoterpene ketone.
Monoterpenes are found in nearly all essential oils and are characterized by ten carbon atoms and at least one double bond. They are sensitive to air and heat, so essential oils high in monoterpenes often oxidize faster.
Although each monoterpene has its own healing properties, most are known to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties. The shelf life of essential oils high in monoterpenes is approximately six months to three years.
Oils high in ketones are also known for their mucolytic properties as well as their ability to regenerate cells and tissues. The shelf life of essential oils high in ketones is approximately three to five years. 3
Uses for Fenchone
Promotes Healing of Wounds
A 2017 study published in Biotechnic and Histochemistry studied the wound-healing properties of both fenchone and limonene on rats. A small excision wound was made on the back of the rat, and both fenchone and limonene were applied topically once daily.
The groups were split up into fenchone, limonene, fenchone, and limonene, untreated, and an olive oil placebo group. At day 10, significant healing was noted in both the fenchone and limonene treated groups.
The results of this study support the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of both fenchone and limonene. 5
In a 2002 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the insect repellent properties of fenchone were tested against mosquitoes.
These properties were tested using skin and patch tests, compared to a commercial DEET-containing product. The study showed that fenchone exhibited moderate insect repellant abilities 30 minutes after the treatment was applied, although it was not as effective as the commercial DEET product.
This study indicates that fenchone could be a beneficial natural insect repellant, although may need to be applied more regularly throughout the day. 6
A 2008 study published in Pharmacology Online examined the analgesic properties of alpha-pinene, fenchone, limonene, trans-anethole, and alpha-copaene on mice.
Researchers used tail-flick tests, a common pain model. The results showed that both alpha-pinene and fenchone demonstrated significant analgesic properties while the other compounds did not.
Although more research needs to be conducted to determine the analgesic effects of fenchone on humans, these results show potential. 7
Prevents Fungal Infections
A 2017 study published in Frontiers in Microbiology studied the antibiofilm activities of cedar leaf essential oil against Candida albicans (yeast).
The results show that cedar leaf essential oil, as well as fenchone, can be useful in controlling yeast infections. 8
Aside from occurring naturally, fenchone can be found in its synthetic form. It has been used as both a flavoring agent and fragrance ingredient since the 1930s. It can be found in soaps, detergents, perfumes, lotions, candy and baked goods, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. 9
Fenchone is also a terpene present in Cannabis and is primarily a flavor and aroma enhancer. It adds an earthy, woody, camphorous aroma, and is known to have a cooling, minty, earthy, musty taste. 10
Try adding in fenchone-rich essential oils like cedarwood essential oil into your daily routine to reap the health benefits they provide. This oil can be used topically or aromatically in a room diffuser.
Classification: Bicyclic monoterpene ketone 11
The chemical formula for fenchone: C10H16O
Molar mass: 152.237 g/mol
Melting Point: 5–6 °C