Welcome to Talking Terpenes: Behind the Blends, the research-based educational series that investigates the science and biochemistry of the special molecules produced by cannabis, hemp, and 20,000 other plant species called terpenes. This series teaches readers about the multilayered benefits of terpenes. More specifically, followers learn about how terpene blends deliver both enhanced medicinal efficacy and exquisitely layered fragrances.
This installment of Talking Terpenes explores the popular Extract Consultants solvent-free Strawberry Cough Terpene Blend. The formulation of this terpene profile involved careful consideration of the nuanced biomechanical properties offered by each terpene, as well as their combined effects.
Examining Strawberry Cough Terpenes
The balanced terpenes featured in the formulation of our Strawberry Cough Blend produce a bouquet reminiscent of fresh strawberry candy with heavy undertones of berry skunk. Comprised of the terpenes bisabolol, citronellol, delta 3 carene, humulene, and several others, Strawberry Cough is popular due to its impressive wellness and lifestyle benefits and soothing aroma profile.
Bisabolol, officially called alpha-bisabolol (a-bisabolol) and sometimes referred to as levomenol, is a secondary (minor) terpene, meaning that it typically appears in relatively small quantities in raw plant samples.
Commercial products, such as terpene blends, are formulated using concentrated extracts of phytomolecules such as bisabolol. Thus, for consumers of loose-leaf cannabis and hemp flower, bisabolol will appear in low quantities and typically not result in discernable efficacy. Via carefully formulated products involving precision extractions, however, the efficacy of organic molecules such as bisabolol can be experienced and enjoyed due to concentrated doses that actually work in the real world.
Bisabolol conveys a light and fresh aroma that is commonly called sweet and floral. It has also been described as featuring citrus and spice undertones. Bisabolol is produced by candeia trees (Brazil), cannabis, and chamomile. This terpene conveys benefits for skin health and has been a cherished ingredient in cosmetics for centuries.
The medicinal benefits of bisabolol include analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. In potent doses, it has been described as providing relaxation and a reduction in anxiety.
A 2014 study entitled “α-(-)-bisabolol Reduces Pro-inflammatory Cytokine Production and Ameliorates Skin Inflammation” that was published in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology investigated the “therapeutic profile against skin inflammation” of this terpene.
The experiment, conducted on rodent subjects, found the safety profile of bisabolol to be acceptable. “In-vitro and in-vivo toxicity profiles indicate that [bisabolol] is safe for topical application on skin,” reported the study.
The research revealed some of the underlying mechanisms involved in the benefits received from bisabolol, specifically its anti-inflammatory prowess. “[Our] molecular docking study revealed its strong binding affinity to the active site of pro-inflammatory proteins.”
The study’s researchers reported that bisabolol may play a valuable role as a main ingredient in skin products. “These findings suggested that α-(-)-bisabolol may be a useful therapeutic candidate for the treatment of skin inflammation,” concluded the study.
Citronellol, sometimes called dihydrogeraniol, is a minor (secondary) terpene of cannabis. It conveys an attractive and popular floral aroma that mixes with delicate undertones of citrus and rose.
Citronellol is produced by approximately 70 plant species, including basil, cannabis, chamomile, citronella, geranium, lavender, lemongrass, neroli, and rose. It is related to the popular terpene geraniol, both of which are produced by geranium. It is unique in that it enhances other fragrances, specifically rose. In commercial applications, citronellol is used as an aroma ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products. It has been employed as a mosquito repellant for millennia.
The medicinal efficacy of citronellol includes anticancer and anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as reductions in seizure activity. This quality makes it of special value to those who suffer epilepsy and other seizure- or convulsion-related conditions.
A 2009 study entitled “Effect of Citronellol on Cellular Immunity of Cancer Patients Receiving Chemotherapy/Radiotherapy” that was published in the journal Phytotherapy Research reported that “Citronellol, an oil soluble compound derived from the geranium, has anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as promotes wound healing.”
The research, a randomized double‐blind placebo‐controlled human trial involving 105 patients, investigated the ability of citronellol and extracts of G. lucidum, C. pilosula, and A. sinensis to improve “the immune cell counts of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.”
The researchers concluded that treatment with citronellol “for patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy may improve their immune function, improving their ability to fight off the cancer.”
Delta 3 Carene
Delta 3 carene, also known as 3-carene, is a monoterpene that conveys a sweet, pungent scent that is sometimes described as earthy and that includes heavy undertones of cedar, citrus (typically lemon), cypress, and pine.
This terpene is produced by basil, bell pepper, cannabis, cedar trees, pine trees, rosemary, and turpentine trees. It boasts medicinal properties that include help for systemic inflammation, bone repair, and overall bone health. Anecdotal testimonies report that cultivars and chemovars of cannabis featuring notable quantities of this terpene may result in red eye and dry mouth. This is because delta 3 carene decreases the production of certain bodily fluids, including tears, mucus, and saliva.
Other wellness properties of this terpene include mental alertness and improved memory and cognitive function, reductions in systemic inflammation, and accelerated bone repair and growth.
A 2007 study entitled “Low Concentration of 3‐carene Stimulates the Differentiation of Mouse Osteoblastic” that was published in the journal Phytotherapy Research explored the ability of delta 3 carene to treat metabolic bone disorders.
The study reported that a low concentration of delta 3 carene, “was shown to stimulate significantly the activity and expression of alkaline phosphatase, an early phase marker of osteoblastic differentiation [and bone growth and health].”
The researchers concluded that further studies are necessary to determine the precise underlying mechanisms involved in the benefits of terpenes such as delta 3 carene for bone growth and repair, but that “the anabolic activity of 3‐carene in bone metabolism suggests that the use of natural additives to the diet, including essential oils, could have a beneficial effect on bone health.”
Humulene, also known as α-humulene and α-caryophyllene, is a common terpene that is an isomer of beta-caryophyllene and, thus, results in a similar aroma. This terpene is produced by cannabis (typically sativa cultivars), Chinese ginseng, hops, marsh elders, oranges, pine, sage, sunflower, tobacco, and Vietnamese coriander. Humulene delivers an earthy, hoppy aroma that is often layered by undertones of spice and wood. It is responsible for the bitter hoppy flavor of many beers.
The medicinal benefits of humulene include antibacterial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and anorectic (appetite suppressing) qualities. Because it decreases appetite (similar to the varin cannabinoid THCV), humulene may be valuable in products formulated for those with eating disorders, including binge eating disorder, night eating syndrome, type II diabetes, and obesity.
A 2016 study entitled “α-Humulene and β-elemene: Highly Effective and Eco-friendly Larvicides Against Anopheles Subpictus, Aedes Albopictus, and Culex Tritaeniorhynchus” that was published in the journal Parasitology Research explored the ability of humulene and other elements of an essential oil to act as an effective larvicide against mosquitos.
The goal was to learn if more environmentally friendly larvicides might help prevent the multitude of diseases resulting from the menacing insects, including dengue, encephalitis, filariasis, and malaria.
The researchers found humulene and other elements of the essential oil to be friendly to “non-target” organisms. “The essential oil and its major components [including humulene] were safe toward the non-target fish.”
The study concluded that humulene and other elements of the essential oil tested provide “the concrete possibility to exploit these...compounds...as highly effective larvicides against young instars of An. subpictus, Ae. albopictus, and Cx. tritaeniorhynchus, with little effect on non-target organisms.”
The terpenes carefully selected to formulate the solvent-free Strawberry Cough blend from Extract Consultants, including bisabolol, citronellol, delta 3 carene, and humulene, work in harmony to provide wellness benefits that include skin health, reductions in seizure activity, help for those with cancer, strong overall anti-inflammatory effects, and bone health—among other positive outcomes.
If there is a collective magic to these aroma-rich terpenes, it is their ability to entice the senses with their fragrant multi-layered bouquets while simultaneously delivering a wide range of health and lifestyle benefits. If this sounds too good to be true, stay tuned to this ongoing educational series and, more important, the peer-reviewed research study citations on which it is based.
About the Author
Curt Robbins is a technical writer, instructional designer, and lecturer who has been developing science-based educational and training content for Fortune 200 enterprise companies for more than 30 years. He is Director of Course Development at Higher Learning LV™ in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Robbins began writing about the biochemistry and science of the various wellness molecules produced by plants such as hemp in 2003. He has since developed more than 600 educational articles about hemp and its health components—including terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and the human endocannabinoid system.