The power of terpenes: Understanding terpenes and their importance for our health

Last Updated on April 22, 2024 by Brendan Barnhill

In the world of natural compounds, terpenes play a crucial role in both the plant kingdom and our wellbeing. These aromatic molecules are not only responsible for the scents of various plants but also boast an array of potential health benefits. 

In this blog, we look at where terpenes are found and how they can be beneficial for our health. 

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds found in a variety of plants, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Terpenes contribute to the distinct aroma and flavour of each plant and are often extracted for use in perfumes, cosmetics, and for flavourings. In nature, terpenes serve multiple purposes, such as attracting pollinators, repelling pests, and protecting plants from environmental stressors.

Why are terpenes important for our health?

Beyond their aromatic qualities, terpenes offer a number of potential health benefits. Below are the ways in which terpenes can potentially benefit our long term health and wellbeing.

Therapeutic properties

Many terpenes exhibit potent therapeutic properties, ranging from anti-inflammatory and antioxidant to antimicrobial and analgesic effects. For example, the terpene limonene, commonly found in citrus fruits, has been studied for its potential medicinal properties, while beta-caryophyllene, found in black pepper and cloves, shows promise in some studies in reducing inflammation and pain.

Mood enhancement

Certain terpenes are thought to influence mood and emotions by interacting with neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. For instance, the terpene linalool, abundant in lavender and chamomile, is known for its calming and stress-relieving effects. Similarly, pinene, found in pine trees and rosemary, is thought to enhance alertness and improve focus.


The practice of aromatherapy harnesses the therapeutic properties of terpenes by inhaling essential oils derived from aromatic plants. Whether it’s promoting relaxation, relieving stress, or boosting energy levels, aromatherapy offers a natural and holistic approach to improving mental and emotional wellbeing.

Terpenes are thought to be potent allies in promoting health and wellbeing. From their therapeutic properties to their mood-enhancing effects, terpenes may play a key role in enhancing our overall quality of life. The next time you enjoy the scent of a blooming flower or the flavour of a ripe fruit, think about the influence terpenes have on both nature and our health.

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Our Women's Health Medical Expert

Kathleen Kuntz, MSN/NP

University of Pennsylvania BSN/MSN Nursing 2002 
Australia – AHPRA Registered Nurse with Nurse Practitioner
Specialisation in Obstetrics/Gynaecology/Sexual Health

Kathleen is an experienced Nurse Practitioner with a proven track record of assisting clients in finding relief through alternative plant based medications.

With over 25 years experience in women’s health, Kathleen has extensive experience in looking after female veterans who experience chronic pain, anxiety, PTSD and related insomnia (at unacceptably high rates); women experiencing chronic pain associated with endometriosis or other chronic pelvic pain syndromes; sexual health, vulvovaginal pain, pain with intercourse, and pain related to menopause.

After experiencing the positive effects plant based medicine had on patients in the USA, Kathleen undertook the training/education to become a certified cannabis prescriber. After moving to Canberra from the USA, Kathleen became an authorised prescriber in Australia. 

Kathleen is driven by her passion to help patients on their healthcare journey through alternative medication.