Being the primary terpene in pine trees, pinene is what gives these trees their natural scent which they are certainly renowned for. It is believed that this strong scent acts as a protection for the tree and prevents them from being consumed by insect pests. Pinene has two main isomers: alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, however, the dominant one is alpha-pinene.
Pinene plays a vital role in the human body and one which is certainly worthy of research. It forms the biosynthetic base for CB2 ligands within the endocannabinoid system.1
In terms of the appearance, pinene is a clear colorless liquid. The odor is recognized to be strong, terpene-like and minty. Pinene is not soluble in water and is denser than water. The vapor which is produced is heavier than air. Alpha-pinene is recognized as being alkaline and contains a reactive four-member ring.2
Classification of Pinene
Pinene is considered to be a major monoterpene (normally terpenes are categorized as being either major or minor).
As is the case with many other terpenes, pinene is an anti-inflammatory, as well as being an analgesic, hence, as we will discuss later, this makes it useful for people who suffer from chronic pain, a condition which affects people the world over and can have a negative impact on quality of life. In addition, pinene is an anti-proliferative and an antioxidant.
As well as within the world of medicine, pinene has other everyday uses. For example, it is used in hygiene products such as cleaning agents, soaps, shampoos, detergents, and lotions. It is also used in the production of many perfumes and deodorants.
Uses In Aromatherapy
A vast number of people the world over have much faith in the use of natural medicine, in fact, such people often seek out this form of medicine first when treating an ailment or condition. Many naturopathic medicines, as well as over the counter remedies contain alpha-pinene. The chemical compound is found, for example, in eucalyptus oil, as well as tea tree oil. Let’s take a look at a few of the health benefits which can be seen.3
In 2007 a study was carried out which showed that pinene could be a potential treatment for infectious endocarditis. Later on, in 2011, it was found that beta-pinene could be effective in the treatment of infectious bronchitis virus. This was of particular interest since viruses, which are not bacteria, are often a lot more challenging to treat. In 2012 a broad study was carried out which indicated that pinene had effectiveness in the treatment of bacterial infections, with the level of effectiveness being determined by the bacteria involved.4
A study in 2011 gave evidence to the fact that the use of pinene for the treatment of asthma was indeed true. However, even though benefit has been seen to treat the upper respiratory tract, there is also evidence that prolonged overdose can cause issues in the upper airway. Whilst this irritation appears to be rather minor it is still worth considering.5
In particular, a 2012 study showed the anti-inflammatory properties of pinene the study focused on the complex inflammation disorder, Acute Pancreatitis1. Two years later, in 2014, pinene was again studied to understand the anti-inflammatory properties for humans and was found to be a potential candidate as a new anti-osteoarthritic drug. This means that for people who suffer from arthritis, pinene may be identified as a significant option for relief from inflammation. Since such a vast number of people suffer from arthritis, the condition causing a considerable impact on their daily lives the benefits of pinene could indeed be very positive.
Prevents Growth of Cancer Cells
In 2012, a study carried out on mice indicated that pinene may be able to slow the growth of tumors. A later study in 2013 showed that pinene resulted in a decrease in proliferation of cancerous cells.6
For many people, chronic pain is something that they live with day in and day out. In fact for such people, the quest to find a way to gain some relief from their pain and reduce its impact on their quality of life can seem like an endless battle. Since pinene has been seen to act as an analgesic, it may have the potential to give relief to those suffering from chronic pain.
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Additional Information On Pinene
In ancient times, a practice existed to collect drops of the resin from the bark of the trees and used to treat a variety of ailment. Usually, the resin was mixed with water, milk or wine and then used to act as an expectorant.
In addition, the resin was also used both internally and externally for the treatment of parasitic infections. In such cases, it was normally mixed with animal fat or beeswax.
It was in 1600 that the Dutch created an alcoholic tonic using Juniper berries, we now know this drink to be Gin. In ancient times, this was actually used as a medical aid.
The Aboriginal culture in Australia also saw many benefits in the use of pinene. In ancient times they used it to treat open wounds, as well as fungal infections of the feet.
Indeed, it is clear that pinene has many uses. With a rich history dating back to ancient times, this compound was used to treat respiratory conditions, open wounds, and various infections. In fact, it seems that people across the globe recognized the medicinal benefits of pinene from early on.7
In more recent times various studies have been carried out to determine whether pinene could be a potential treatment for a variety of ailments. The ailments include people who suffer from inflammation in the body, those who have to deal with chronic pain, people who have respiratory issues and those who have problems with their memory. Of course, we have only had time to discuss several of the key potential benefits, many more exist, in fact, we are likely unaware of how much potential pinene actually has.
For people who feel that pinene may be of use for a condition or ailment which they suffer with, it is much recommended to talk to a healthcare professional about the potential that pinene has. In time, and following further studies, we may find that this chemical compound holds the key to providing relief and treatment for people the world over.
- Antibacterial – related to the reduction in the rate that bacteria grows
- Analgesic – Acting as a pain reliever
- Anti-inflammatory – Causing a reduction of inflammation in the body
- Antioxidant – Acting to prevent oxidation damage
- Anti-proliferative – Acting to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.