Pinocamphone is the main compound found in hyssop essential oil, making up 31 to 42 percent of the oil and is known for having muscle-relaxing, antifungal, and insecticidal properties.
Chemical formula for pinocamphone: C10H16O
Molar mass: 152.237 g/mol 1
Classification: Bicyclic monoterpene ketone
Pinocamphone is classified as a bicyclic monoterpene ketone. This group of compounds is known for their calming, mucolytic, analgesic, digestive, and wound-healing properties.
Uses for Pinocamphone
Pinocamphone has muscle-relaxing properties and essential oils that contain have been shown to be effective for soothing sore muscles and relieving cramps, especially when used topically in a massage oil or lotion.
To support this claim, a 2002 study published in Planta Medica studied the muscle-relaxing properties of hyssop essential oil and its main components, including isopinocamphone, limonene, and beta-pinene on guinea pigs and rabbits.
The results showed that isopinocamphone, an isomer of pinocamphone, had muscle-relaxing properties, while limonene and beta-pinene had no effects. 3
Defends Against Fungal Infections
The antifungal properties of pinocamphone make it beneficial when used in moderation to heal wounds and prevent infections.
A 2015 study published in Biotechnology and Biotechnological Equipment studied the antifungal properties of hyssop essential oil and its constituents against Candida strains.
Although hyssop essential oil displayed higher antifungal activity than any of its constituents separately, the most active antifungal constituent was pinocamphone. Pinocamphone was especially effective against C. albicans and C. glabrata. 4
Another study published in the Journal of Phytopathology in 2013 examined the antifungal properties of hyssop essential oil and its constituents against Pyrenophora avenae and Pyricularia oryzae, which affect plants. The results showed that pinocamphone alone significantly reduced the growth of P. avenae . 5
Although the insecticidal properties of pinocamphone have not yet been studied on insects that affect humans, studies on its effects on crop pests pave the way for future research.
In 2016, a study published in Molecules tested the fumigant toxicity of eight different Lamiaceae essential oils against the adult rice weevil ( Sitophilus oryzae) . In addition to the essential oils, particular compounds were isolated and tested.
Among all constituents tested, pinocamphone and isopinocamphone showed the strongest fumigant toxicity against adult rice weevils. 6
Safety and Precautions
The presence of pinocamphone is hyssop essential oil is what can make this oil neurotoxic when used in excess. The lowest known dose of pinocamphone that has caused convulsions in humans was approximately 210 mg. This was caused by 10 drops of hyssop oil containing approximately 70 percent pinocamphone and isopinocamphone, a dose was equivalent to 3mg/kg. 1
Since excess pinocamphone is known to cause convulsions, it is recommended to not exceed 0.1mg/kg per day, which is roughly 7 mg for the average adult weighing 150 pounds.
If using pinocamphone on its own or in hyssop essential oil, never ingest it. Additionally, care should also be taken when using it topically, and it should be diluted in a carrier oil before being applied directly to the skin. Conduct a patch skin test with the oil and carrier oil mixture before applying it to larger areas of the body to avoid an adverse reaction.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is not recommended to use any essential oils high in ketones. Furthermore, if you have a history of epilepsy, avoid using both pinocamphone and hyssop essential oil.
When used with caution and moderation, pinocamphone, especially in hyssop essential oil has been shown to provide a range benefits. This essential oil can be used to maintain healthy respiratory function, fight off infections and heal wounds, soothe sore muscles, detoxify the body, keep skin looking young and healthy, and promote proper digestion.
Try adding it into your daily routine by using it topically after diluting it with a carrier oil like almond, coconut, or jojoba oil or aromatically in a room diffuser or personal aromatherapy diffuser.