Terpene Profile: Fenchone

Terpene profile_ Fenchone

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

Fenchone has the same chemical formula as camphor and is found primarily in fennel. Other natural sources include Spanish lavender, thuja, cedarwood, labdanum, African wild sage, and cistus. 4

Uses for Fenchone

Promotes Healing of WoundsFenchone

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

Repels Insects

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

hand pain

Alleviates Pain

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).

Of the chemical components identified in cedar leaf essential oil, camphor, fenchyl alcohol, fenchone, a-thujone, and borneol all significantly reduced C. albicans biofilm formation.

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 or portable essential oil diffusers like Ocean or Forest MONQ.

Classification: Bicyclic monoterpene ketone 11

The chemical formula for fenchone: C10H16O

Molar mass: 152.237 g/mol

Melting Point: 5–6 °C

Kiri Rowan

By Kiri Rowan

Kiri Rowan is a writer, photographer, and traveler with a strong interest in alternative medicine. She helps friends, family, and other travelers treat their symptoms with essential oils and medicinal plants.

Favorite MONQ blend: Vibrant

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The above information relates to studies of specific individual essential oil ingredients, some of which are used in the essential oil blends for various MONQ diffusers. Please note, however, that while individual ingredients may have been shown to exhibit certain independent effects when used alone, the specific blends of ingredients contained in MONQ diffusers have not been tested. No specific claims are being made that use of any MONQ diffusers will lead to any of the effects discussed above.  Additionally, please note that MONQ diffusers have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. MONQ diffusers are not intended to be used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, prevention, or treatment of any disease or medical condition. If you have a health condition or concern, please consult a physician or your alternative health care provider prior to using MONQ diffusers. MONQ blends should not be inhaled into the lungs.

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